Have you ever wondered why receiving a massage is a very relaxing experience?
The answer is not so much about the relaxing music or oils, but how massage affects your nervous system. Research has shown that massage has a direct impact on lowering the levels of stress hormones that create the “fight-or-flight” response, and can boost “feel good” neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin.
It is worth adding to your self-care plan.
When a person is under a lot of stress, and let’s be real if you’re alive in this word today, there are going to be stressors in your life! Your bodies stress the hormones adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol.
Adrenaline and Norepinephrine are hormones produced by the adrenal gland that produce the fight or flight response. This causes an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and the flow of blood to the muscles.
Another stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland is Cortisol. Cortisol causes the blood sugars to raise, and complications can arise if the body remains in a state of stress over a long period of time. Complications such as suppression of the immune system, high blood pressure and weight gain.
Massage therapy can help lower the bodies cortisol levels, by improving the flow of lymph which improves circulation and increases your metabolic rate, which also potentially improves immunity. Massage therapy also releases your bodies ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine and Endorphins. Serotonin helps regulate mood, appetite and digestion while Dopamine is associated with the reward centres of the brain. It’s the neurotransmitter that makes you feel giddy when you fall in love, positive when you complete a task.
Several studies have indicated that massage can increase both serotonin and dopamine levels, sometimes up to 30%. Endorphins are neurotransmitters produced to help relieve pain and improve mood — your own natural narcotic.
Massage can activate the parasympathetic within 15 minutes of the initial touch, thus reducing levels of adrenalin and norepinephrine. So, its always best to book yourself in for a 1-hour session.
By advising your therapist that you would like a relaxing massage allows the therapist to plan the treatment according to your needs and your desired pressure.
Lilley is a caring and compassionate massage therapist who has had over 15 years experience in this field. Lilley specialises in relaxation and therapeutic massage as well as sports and remedial massage in the treatment of various musculoskeletal pathologies.