Managing Stress with Massage Therapy by Anne L. Childers L.M.T., owner at Indigo Massage & Wellness
Relaxing music, dim lighting, a quiet drone of the ocean sound machine and the smell of lavender wafts through the room. The atmosphere is set for relaxation and for massage therapy. Massage therapists set the stage for and teach relaxation and stress relief techniques. The act of lying on the massage table in this environment begins the relaxation process.
After setting the atmosphere, massage therapy techniques themselves are one of the best things for promoting the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the system responsible for relaxing the body’s ﬁght or ﬂight responses. Recent studies show that massage can even decrease cortisol levels while it increases the body’s natural pain relieving and happiness neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine. Today’s fastpaced society pushes us, which in turn pushes our cortisol levels ever higher for longer periods of time. Elevated cortisol levels interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, depression, and many of our current health issues. Studies suggest massage therapy can be beneﬁcial not only in reducing physical pain, but also for improving mood, promote muscle relaxation, enhancing sleep, and ﬁghting stress.
Below are one of the study’s results:
Field, et.al. (2005) demonstrates that massage therapy is shown to reduce cortisol levels by an average of 31%, increase serotonin levels 28% and dopamine levels 21% on average. Similarly, Hernandez-Reif, et.al. (2000) explain that diastolic blood pressure and hypertension decreased after massage and that there was less reported anxiety, depression and hostility, along with reduced cortisol levels in urine and saliva. This study suggests the stress-alleviating effects (decreased cortisol) and the activating effects (increased serotonin and dopamine) of massage therapy on a variety of medical conditions and stressful experiences. And here is a link to what the Mayo clinic has to say about massage for stress management: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/ massage/art-20045743 We truly need ways for our bodies to relax and recharge in order to maintain and to thrive within the responsibilities of our lives. The Holiday Season adds to our everyday stress. Remember to book your massage therapy appointment for your self-care and remember Indigo gift cards make the perfect stress-free gift for the Holidays!
Indigo’s Holiday Gift Card Sale thru 12/31/18 Buy 3 Get 1 Free visit indigomassagetherapy.com for details