Stress is a universal thing and the truth is— it does not always play the bad guy. Whenever you instantly hit the brakes in time in order to avoid an accident, feel energetic before an important event, or jumping to catch a badly thrown ball, stress is doing its job, perfectly. The adrenaline that rushes your heart rate and your stress hormone “cortisol” boosting your blood sugar, all the while diverting your energy away from your immune and digestive system, are exactly what ancient humans needed in order to fight or flee any attackers.
However, when there is never any relief from such stress, your sustained fight-or-flight response can cause problems. As a matter of fact, constant stress can actually become distress which is a negative stress reaction. This reaction can lead to symptoms such as sleeping problems, chest pain, elevated blood pressure, upset stomach, headaches and even worsen certain symptoms and diseases.
Here are some symptoms or changes you might notice if you are under too much stress:
- Upset stomach
- Less sex drive
- Muscle pain or tension
- Chest pain
- Social withdrawal
- Under- or over-eating
- Alcohol drug abuse
- Sudden outbursts of anger
- Lack of focus or motivation
- Anger or irritability
Stress and Massage Therapy
The good news is every symptom listed above can benefit from a good, relaxing massage. Studies show that massage therapy can help reduce your blood pressure and heart rate, relax your tensed muscles and boost the production of endorphins which is the body’s natural “good feeling” chemical.
Moreover, dopamine and serotonin are also released through massage therapies and the result will be a feeling of relaxation and calm which makes habitual or chronic and also short-term or acute stress much easier to overcome.
Furthermore, stress relief is the number one benefit that will come to mind when massage therapy is mentioned. It is also a key component for anyone who is trying to achieve a fit and healthier lifestyle.
How Massage Therapy Relieves You of Stress
Massage therapy has always been a way for people to vent out their stress for many centuries. Each culture has their own variation but all types of massage therapies can provide stress relief.
Here are some ways on how massage therapy reduces your stress levels:
Relaxes Tense Muscles
Cooped up in our cars and in our offices for most of the day, it is no wonder that our muscles are subjected to great, unnatural strain. Muscle tension can result in worsening the existing stress level in the body. In order to fight this massage therapy can be done.
When the body is massaged, the generated heat from the massage and the slow, forceful motion of the hands and fingers can cause the knotted muscle fibers to unwind, thus relaxing the muscle. Muscle relaxation, in turn, automatically helps you reduce your stress levels.
Helps In The Release Of Serotonins
Research has shown that massage therapy affects the body in a way in which it causes the body to release several hormones such as serotonin. Serotonins are your “happy” hormones which regulate mood levels and anxiety. A low level of serotonin can increase the likelihood of depression and anxiety. During a massage therapy, your serotonin level significantly increases and in turn reduces the ill effects of depression and anxiety, thus relieving you of stress.
Aids In Improving Posture
It is a fact that due to the unnatural physical act of sitting for extended period of time and some lifestyle habits, our postures are negatively affected. Sitting for long hours can cause our vertebrae to compress, thus becoming closer to each other due to the stress of sitting in improper or awkward positions.
When this happens, our back muscles contort in order to accommodate this new position, thus bad posture develops. This results in the nearby blood vessels and nerve fibers to get pinched between 2 vertebrae as well as ligaments and muscles in between.
Massage therapy can help by relaxing these muscles and relieving the pressure on the blood vessels and nerves. There are even some therapies which aid in straightening the spine through physical manipulations. It helps reduces the discomfort within your body and in turn, lowers your stress level.
Improves Sleep Cycle
As we all know, massage therapy can help relax the body. This ensures that the muscles are freed from tension and your circulation improves. Moreover, massage therapy helps in releasing melatonin, a hormone responsible for regulating sleep.
Melatonin helps the body fall asleep at night and improve the quality of sleep by boosting the duration of REM sleep— a deep sleep needed by the body to heal and recover from injury and stress. This helps reduce build up stress on the body for a long period of time.
Our back is not the only one suffering from a bad posture. Bad posture can also cause your body to slightly lean forward thus compressing your chest cavity. Our chest cavity houses the lungs which are the organ responsible for absorption and holding of oxygen.
And when the chest cavity is squeezed, it prevents the lungs from completely opening. This limits the amount of oxygen inhaled, stored in the lungs and transported to the body through the blood. If this happens, it can cause shallow rapid breaths that increase stress levels in the body.
Through massage therapy, you can realign your bad posture and allow your chest cavity to open up and your lungs to expand and take oxygen more.
Probably one of the most important effects of massage therapies is the elimination of toxin in the body. Basically, toxins are chemicals that gradually build up in the body over time and negatively affect its functioning by interfering with the natural processes of the body.
The body generally eliminates toxins by pushing them out through the sweat glands or kidneys. However, toxin buildup can give too much stress to these organs that cause their efficiency to go down.
With massage therapy, the body’s circulation improves and it will start sweating out toxins in larger amounts. It reduces stress on the kidneys and allows it to perform at their normal levels again.
Chronic stress is rampant and the best way to reduce it is through a massage therapy. However because there are more and more people under the mercy of stress, massage therapists are in high demand and cannot accommodate all patients.
Not to worry though, with the technological innovation and advancements you do not need to book an appointment with your local therapy spa. Now, you can own portable massage chairs for a relaxing massage therapy from the comforts of your home. Click for more info!