Aaahhh, a nice, long massage. Sounds incredible, doesn’t it?
Of course, it does! Who doesn’t love a relaxing massage? Massages help keep our muscles lax, and just plain feel incredible. Massage therapy is all that and more. Much more.
What some know and others may not, is that massages are fantastic for stress relief. And not just because they feel great. Well, in part, yes. But not entirely. Massages help to work out knots and tension that builds up in muscles due to stress.
But what is stress exactly? A bad day? Fear? The anxiety that builds as rent day gets closer and you don’t have all the money together yet?
Well, yes and no.
Stress is caused by those things, yes. But stress can be caused by so much more. That rush you feel right before a big event? Stress. When you try to grab that falling cup? Stress. When you slam on the breaks, trying to avoid the cat that ran right out in front of your car? Stress.
Stress, stress, and more stress.
So, what is stress? It’s the adrenaline that boosts your heart rate. It’s the cortisol boosting your blood sugar. This stress diverts the energy away from your digestive system. It even dulls your immune system responses.
When this feeling is constant or at least repetitive, stress becomes distress, which is a significant result of the continual feeling of fight or flight.
Stress can lead to sleeping problems, stomach pain, constant headaches, high blood pressure, pains in the chest, and more. Severe stress can lead to problems that are much, much more severe. In fact, some behavioral changes stress can lead to can range from withdrawal, anger issues, and even drug or alcohol use.
The Emotional Benefits of Massage Therapy
Research has shown that massage therapy can successfully lower your heart rate and blood pressure while relaxing tense, sore muscles. It increases the production of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. This results in feeling calm, relaxed, and at peace.
It breaks the cycle of stress, relieves the tension in your muscles and throughout your body.
Massage therapy can also help you to avoid more serious outcomes of stress, reverse some chronic pains, and help you to regulate your weight.