May is mental health month so we think its important to discuss the positive benefits of massage for stress, depression and anxiety. Between the shut downs, quarantines and social distancing, people are more starved for positive healing touch then ever before. We also live a busy, fast paced, always on modern lifestyle and are searching for healthy ways to balance our work/life relationship. In our studio we have two primary focuses: Pain management and Stress management. We find that they are often if not always related and if we can relieve one then the other will follow. So in honor of mental health month...
So lets talk about massage, stress, anxiety and depression:
Many if not most people in modern society are in a state of fight or flight. Their nervous systems are in a constant state of go and because of this cortisol is released into the blood stream. Cortisol is the body's alert system, it says hey we are in a state of emergency so lets decrease the flow of blood to our torso and instead give it to the limbs, so we can run or fight. Cortisol isn't a bad hormone. Its necessary to kick into high energy to get away from danger. However, if the body is in a constant state of stress, keep in mind this doesn't have to be immediate danger, in can just be the stresses of daily life that never end, then cortisol becomes a problem. Too much cortisol can lead to a number of health problems including anxiety and depression, headaches, heart disease, memory issues, problems with digestion, insomnia, and weight gain.
Massage lowers cortisol, and as the cortisol lowers during a massage serotonin, the body's natural pain reliever and happy hormone increases. A relaxing massage triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system that calms down the flight or fight response after the danger has past. Stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system through massage restores balance in the body and strengthens the parasympathetic response so it will function better in stressful situations, leaving you feeling calmer even with a busy schedule. The emotional balance massage provides can be just as vital and valuable as the physical benefits. Massage provides a safe and nurturing place for individuals to relax, refocus and find clarity. It can increase awareness of the mind-body connection. Massage can generate confidence and enhance self-image and self-worth.
If you are one of the many who experience depression or anxiety or are just overloaded with extra stress, massage can be an effective part of treatment supporting you to create a sense of relief, empowerment and mind-body connection.