Licensed Massage Therapist
Since April is National Stress-Awareness Month, I thought the best way to celebrate would be for me to address how massage therapy can lower cortisol levels, increase dopamine and serotonin (our happy, feel-good hormones), and lower excitatory hormones like norepinephrine and epinephrine.
Having too much norepinephrine or epinephrine it can lead to feelings of anxiety.
While having too little dopamine and serotonin can cause depression and other psychological problems. What I discovered about our bodies and massage through my work is:
Parasympathetic nervous system is the part of the involuntary nervous system that serves to slow the heart rate, Your body can move between two main states of being - the sympathetic state and a parasympathetic state. The sympathetic mode is what we think of as fight-or-flight mode. It's when the body triggers the autonomic nervous system’s stress hormones and ups our adrenal response. Most of us are in some level of sympathetic state just dealing with day-to-day stresses. Massage has been shown to help the body shift into a parasympathetic state. By supporting real stress relief, massage can set the body into a "rest and digest mode." What’s great is even a relaxation massage has the opportunity to chemically support a healthier state of being.
Multiple studies have also shown that regular massage decreases hormones that cause anxiety while also raising hormones that cause calm and happy feelings. As a result, cortisol levels are lowered which help mood and overall health.
How often one should get a massage depends on their individual physiological state. Some people find amazing benefits during the first session, others take more time to settle in and fully receive the treatment. One of the other aspects of massage that can prove to be helpful, is that the more massage your receive, the more you gain from it's benefits. Kind of like the way you work up the endurance to run a marathon, the more your body receives massage, the deeper and more effective massage becomes.
So, like most things related to great health, the more consistent you are the greater your outcomes.
Slowing down and taking the time to do something that nurtures our bodies in a more gentle way is something we need to do even if it feels like “wasting time” initially. Eventually, I hope more people view massage as an essential part of physical and psychological health maintenance rather than a luxury to be indulged in when we have the time. One should never underestimate the power of taking even an hour for yourself to breath, rest, and receive therapeutic attention.
In celebration of Stress Awareness Month and Spring being the time of year representing renewal: I am offering 2 Specials
A gift certificate for a 70 minute treatment of your choice for a friend for 50 dollars!
A 75 minute Aromatherapy Massage of your choice for 60 dollars!