Does Massage Really Help Stress?
Chronic stress is a situation in which persistent stressors repeatedly trigger the fight or flight response. This leads to the prolonged elevation of stress hormones, especially cortisol and epinephrine, in the bloodstream.
The problem with high cortisol is that it can cause the body to digest its own proteins which leads to decreased immunity, sleep disturbances, and an increase of substance P (related to the sensation of pain).
After a threat has passed, epinephrine that has not been reabsorbed produces a shaky, nauseous, pumped-up feeling. This can cause adrenal exhaustion associated with fatigue and mental weariness.
Massage Therapy Helps Encourage Relaxation
Massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic system balances out the sympathetic nervous system. This helps the body to unwind and recuperate once the danger has passed.
The parasympathetic system slows the body’s heart rate and relaxes breathing patterns. It stimulates the formation and release of urine so that the body can nourish and detoxify itself. This response is important for reducing all types of stress and allowing the body’s chemistry to normalize.
Massage therapy also helps lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and has a balancing action on the adrenal glands. Studies have shown that massage reduces epinephrine levels and quenches the fight or flight response in patients about to undergo surgery.
Massage Reduces Stress Levels
One study found that back massage provided stress relief before an exam. And also significantly lowered cortisol and blood pressure in students.
A survey of 3381 adults found that those who had received a massage in the past year had lower levels of cortisol, less anxiety, fewer symptoms of depression, and better blood circulation than those who had not received a massage.
So, while there is no conclusive evidence that massage can cure stress, it definitely has a beneficial effect on the body and mind. If you’re feeling stressed, why not book a massage and see for yourself?
Massage therapists who are trained in Swedish Massage will be able to reduce stress by adding in extremely beneficial massage techniques. Therapeutic Massage will not only relieve stress but will also reduce pain and decrease muscle tension. A massage therapist who knows deep tissue massage or sports massage can treat stress. They also take care of tight muscles and trigger points.
Add massage therapy into your self care regimen! Massage reduces stress and helps to relieve anxiety. Use our online booking tool to schedule your next appointment.
*taken from Massage & Bodywork Magazine March/April 2014