How are you feeling? No really, how are YOU feeling? Have the challenges of this year left you feeling stressed? anxious? nervous? …Have you tried a massage?
The benefits of massage therapy for overall wellness and mental health are well documented. When we are under a state of stress, our body goes into what is referred to as the “fight or flight” response. Physiologically speaking, this results in the activation of our sympathetic nervous system. The activation of this nervous system (SNS) leads to things such as an accelerated heart rate, increased blood pressure, and the release of hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. These hormones can wreak havoc on our body, and tend to leave us feeling more stressed, more anxious, and honestly pretty worn out.
So how can massage help with stress? To start, human touch is critical to overall wellbeing. The simple act of touch results in the release of feel good hormones from our brain including, oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. The release of these hormones tends to elevate our mood. In addition, massage tends to have a calming effect. Not only does massage tend to calm our mind, but massage also helps to calm the sympathetic nervous system which if we remember from before- leads to some pretty unwanted side effects. By activating the parasympathetic nervous system instead, massage helps to lower heart rate, decrease cortisol release and decrease tension.
In order to get the most benefit out of your massage and truly relax, it is recommended that you plan for a 45 min-1 hour treatment.