How Can Massage Relieves Stress
There are many ways to relieve stress. Some people go for a run, others might listen to music or sit down to read a book. One of the most popular ways to reduce stress is one of our favorites – get a massage.
Ahhh, yes. Nothing is more relaxing than laying on a comfortable table, the body perfectly aligned, breathing in the scent of aromatherapy oils while a skilled masseuse kneads out life’s stresses from your shoulders. But have you ever thought how massage relieves stress? How does human touch work with our bodies to transfer out the bad and make room for the good? We’re about to find out.
There Are Two Types of Stress
We all know there are two types of stress: eustress and distress.
Eustress is the good type of stress.
That’s the kind of stress that motivates us and pushes us to harness our full potential.
Distress, however, is the bad type of stress.
That’s the kind of stress that left unchecked can cause severe damage to our health. Studies indicate that stress causes physical changes to the brain and other areas of the body, which in turn contribute to heart disease, cancer, fatigue, headaches, back pain, high blood pressure, stroke, and other ailments.
A study by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles studied how massage relieves stress and the findings were astounding. 53 healthy adults were used in the study and either received light touch massage, Swedish or deep tissue. Blood samples were taken before and after the massage to study its effects on the human body. Its results concluded that even just one massage therapy session had a biological impact on a person.
Blood test results showed significant decreases in cortisol levels – the stress hormone. There was also an increase in white blood cells showing a boost in the immune system. There was an increase in a hormone associated with contentment along with a decrease in the adrenal hormone – which causes the adrenal glands to release cortisol. Cortisol is associated as an important part of the body’s response to stress, but heightened and prolonged levels in the bloodstream are proven to have negative effects.
What the study proved is that massage does indeed activate internal factors in the body that respond to stress and aids in correcting its psychological imbalances. Now, how about that for a reason to book your next massage appointment!