The Benefits of Regular Massage...
and how it can help reduce stress
Massage therapy, along with other integrated health approaches like yoga and meditation, are excellent strategies to effectively manage stress.
Here are some of the benefits of regular massage and how massage can help you alleviate the stress in your life.
As humans, we have three main states of being: fight-or-flight, freeze and rest-and-digest.
Many people sit in fight or flight mode for most of the day, and for many people nowadays it can actually be for weeks, if not months, on end. For many people, the current Covid19 situation has significantly contributed to causing higher levels of stress levels and persistent chronic stress.
When we are in a constant state of fight-or-flight, it can adversely impact our immune system resulting in fatigue and burn out. For those who go into the freeze state, they can become withdrawn and disconnected from what is happening around them.
Massage can help bring you out of the fight-or-flight or freeze mode and into the hugely beneficial rest-and-digest state which allows your body to rebalance.
When the body is tense and under stress, it increases its production of the stress hormone, cortisol.
The body’s stress-response system is usually self-managing - once a perceived or real stress has passed, hormone levels should return to normal.
If we don’t relax and give ourselves time to relax our hormone levels won’t regulate. When life stressors are continuous, and you constantly feel under attack, that fight or flight reaction stays turned on keeping the physiology of your body out of balance.
This long-term activation of the stress-response system, and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones, will eventually disrupt almost all your body’s processes.
Continued exposure to high levels of cortisol and adrenaline can be extremely detrimental to our health. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including:
and a weakened immune system.
Currently, many of us have been in the fight-or-flight or freeze state for a long time, without any reprieve. Without making a personal commitment to your wellness, it’s difficult to eliminate stress.
Regular massage can help to drop adrenaline and cortisol levels in your body, allowing your body’s systems to return to their baseline levels, resuming their regular activities such as digestion and cell renewal.
Improve your Mood
Massage therapy can be very beneficial for the mind.
Regular massage sessions can reduce the trigger sources for anxiety, hostility, tension and depression. Studies show that a massage heightens levels of oxytocin and serotonin, chemicals that can boost our mood and reduce stress and anxiety.
Thanks to the relaxing sensation of massage therapy, the body benefits from a lower heart rate, improved breathing and the release of tension that we often hold in our neck and shoulders as a result of anxiety. Regular massage therapy allows the mind and body to feel calm and balanced so we can tackle the stresses of daily life.
Strengthen the Body’s Immune System
Do you find yourself becoming unwell in periods of stress?
People experiencing high levels of stress are more susceptible to illness. When stress is combined with disturbed sleep and poor nutrition, the impact is directed at the body’s immune system. As the immune system is compromised, it’s ability to naturally protect itself against infections, bacteria, and pathogens is greatly decreased.
Massage can reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which means the immune system can stabilise and improve. Increased circulation will help improve lymphatic drainage, which further boosts immunity.
By having a regular massage, you are helping your body to stay in control of its own health and wellbeing to keep you looking and feeling better.
Studies have shown that regular massage can also boost the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity and promote the body’s ability to deliver nourishment to the cells. Like any other regular exercise, regular massage can help keep the immune system strong and lively.
Improved circulation is part of a snowball effect which happens in the body as a result of receiving massage on a regular basis. Proper circulation brings damaged, stiff and tense muscles the rich blood supply they require to promote healing.
Massage promotes better circulation through hands-on pressure, that moves the blood through the damaged and congested areas of the body. In turn, the release of this pressure causes new blood to flow into tissues. A bit like squeezing and releasing a sponge. The squeezing, pulling and twisting action of the massage technique encourages the lymph fluid circulation, that carries metabolic waste products away from internal organs and muscles.
Often when we're stressed this can manifest as tension, especially in the neck and shoulders or back. Regular massage helps to reduce pain.
When our body suffers an injury or our joints feel stiff and sore, we may feel the tension in our muscles. This build-up of tension needs to be treated over time to ensure a smooth recovery. Massage will help muscles to recuperate by releasing trigger points and encouraging blood flow to the tissue surrounding the affected area.
Improved blood circulation to the affected muscles increases nutrients and oxygen to the damaged tissues. This can reduce stiffness and any swelling in the muscles and joints as well as increase flexibility and ease of movement.
Massage also helps the body to release endorphins. These are pain-killing hormones, which boost the dopamine and serotonin levels in the body. These hormones assist the body both physically as well as emotionally.
Improved Energy Levels
Massage helps stimulate blood circulation. This in turn increases energy, heightening the efficiency of organ function, especially in relation to the elimination of toxins. According to a small study carried out in 1996 by the Touch Research Institute, it can even make you feel more alert.
It Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
Regular massage therapy sessions have been found to reduce blood pressure levels. Long-term studies have shown that a consistent massage program can reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Lower blood pressure levels can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure, as well as many other health issues.