I think most of us can name some physical benefits connected to massage therapy treatment. These would be the more obvious and rewarding or therapeutic results of hands on treatment. Things like:
- relaxing the body
- stretching connective tissues
- alleviating chronic pain
- relieving tired/aching muscles
- reducing headaches
- increasing range of motion
- improving tension from poor posture
- aiding in recovery post injury/surgery
- and more…
But it is just as important to recognize the mental and emotional benefits that can come from receiving a massage therapy treatment and that these are as important in many situations as the physical benefits.
Massage therapy can calm the nervous system and lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate and slow respiration. These in turn help to reduce anxiety and reduce mental stress. Physical touch increases levels of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that help regulate your mood and relieve feelings of stress and anxiety. Dopamine is also known to regulate the pleasure center in your brain that can offset feelings of anxiety. Receiving massage can help to improve sleep quality, help with mental relaxation and in turn improve focus and productivity as a result. In addition to these benefits, the nature of physical touch brings with it a feeling of connection which in these uncertain times, is crucial. Massage helps us connect to our own bodies, allowing for a healthy relationship with our physical selves whilst experiencing connection with another person and, through touch and communication, massage can help to alleviate feelings of solitude, loneliness and even depression or high levels of anxiety/stress.
Human touch is essential to our sense of well being. Contact is critical to maintaining emotional and social wellness throughout our lives. One remarkable side effect of human touch is that it induces the release of Oxytocin; the love or bonding hormone typically thought of with forming connection with a newborn. It helps humans form emotional connection to one another and creates sensations that foster a sense of well-being and happiness. When Oxytocin is released it helps us feel a sense of belonging, stability, trust and enhanced connection. It is no wonder then that this hormone can decrease anxiety, depression and stress. How incredible that touch can help manifest the release of this “feel good” hormone, helping inspire positive thinking and a more optimistic outlook on the world.
A quick reminder that although receiving a massage sometimes is reserved for instances of injury, pain, immobility or postural imbalance, any seemingly “obvious physical” issue with the body, truly one of the greatest and most rewarding reasons to receive massage is for your mental and emotional well being. This is not selfish… it is self care. It is not a luxury and it may be more valuable now than ever before.
Visit www.thrivemassagewellness.com for more information or to book your self care.