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  • Karen Stoner, LMT

4 ways Massage Therapy reduces stress

4 ways massage therapy reduces stress

1. Muscle relaxation

Short Answer: Massage helps release tension in the muscles by easing muscle knots and tightness, which helps ease pain which all contribute to a feeling of stress.

More details: It is very easy to tighten up our muscles. Wether we injure them by working out or lifting something, sitting in front of a computer all day, or just feeling the effects of stress which most people hold in their jaw, neck, and/or shoulders, tight muscles are stressful in themselves. When the body doesn't function right, mental and emotional stress is triggered. So if those tight muscles are relaxed and the body isn't dealing with pain, stress is reduced.

4 ways massage therapy reduces stress

2. Massage releases endorphins

Short answer: Endorphins act as natural painkillers and mood elevators, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. The positive feelings induced by endorphins contribute to a sense of relaxation and contentment.

More details: Endorphins make you feel happy. Feeling happy is better for the mind, spirit, and hormone balance than feeling stressed. Massage is one of several ways including laughing, exercising, or eating pleasureable foods like dark chocolate to help your body release these useful chemicals.

4 ways massage therapy reduces stress

3. Reduces cortisol levels

Short answer: Cortisol is a hormone that the body produces in response to stress. Regular massage has been shown to decrease cortisol levels, leading to a reduction in stress that can help rebalance the body's stress response, leading to a calmer and more relaxed state of mind.

More details: Stress is unavoidable, and therefore so is cortisol. Stress hormones stimulate your "fight or flight" response which does keep you safe in certain situations. However if these hormones stick around for too long, or build up without stopping, that's when blood pressure goes up, the body gets restless and anxious, and some studies point to cortisol being a leading cause of weight gain and other health-related headaches. Getting rid of excess coritsol helps relax and calm stress levels.

4 ways massage therapy reduces stress

4. Promotes a mind-body connection

Short answer: Massage encourages individuals to be present in the moment and heightens awareness of their body. Focusing on the connection between the mind and body can help shift the focus away from stressors and lead to a more relaxed mental state, reducing overall stress levels.

More details: In our daily hastle and bustle, sometimes we don't truly realize how we feel. Sometimes we don't realize if we are overthining something, freaking out because we can't make a clear decision, or are moving a certain way because something in our body hurts and we just don't put it as a priority. It takes time to stop and focus on yourself to sometimes create a need to clear your mind and realize what is really going on. The calm environment of a massage, coupled with getting rid of excess junk being held in our bodies (such as cortisol, tightness, and anything else we have hanging around in our systems - both physical and mental) can allow the mind to truly become aware of what the mind and body are going through, and therefore can help calm the problems and determine what needs to be done to fix or repair the issues that we may not even realize are stressing us out.

4 ways massage therapy reduces stress

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