Why Massage Works to Reduce Stress
Stress hits us in many ways. Maybe you live with chronic pain that is the result of an injury. Perhaps you suffer from insomnia or from a debilitating illness. Research shows that massage can increase sleep, boost immunity and ease the symptoms of other health conditions as well as increase alertness. Not only that, but a good massage therapist will work with you on your specific issues to help leave you feeling better than you have in ages. It’s a win-win situation!
Massage therapy can be very effective for aches and pains including lower back pain, migraine, and tenderness associated with fibromyalgia and even labour pain. A massage reduces the stress hormone cortisol while increasing the feel good hormones, dopamine and serotonin. This will slow your heart rate, reduce blood pressure and assist in blocking the nervous system’s pain receptors.
Lack of restful sleep is a prime opening to invite stress into your life. Massage is known to increase the brain’s delta waves, which are associated with deep sleep. This is one reason why some people find it easy to sleep while receiving a massage. If you can, head home for a rest after a massage to get the full benefits.
Even a short 15-minute chair massage can increase alertness as brain wave activity boosts your attention span.
Massage can help your immune system as it decreases cortisol, which is responsible for destroying your natural killer cells. In other words, your immune cells get a huge boost. Massage is excellent for those who have compromised immune systems, such as breast cancer patients. Be sure to always inform your massage therapist of your health status so that massage can be used to enhance your healing.
Again, less cortisol may also mean less stress and depression. In addition, massage creates a feeling of well- being, which is why many hospitals now offer this to patients as they prepare for surgery.