In case you hadn’t noticed, we love talking about all the benefits of massage!! Living in today’s world is a stressful thing for each of us on some level, whether we realize it or not. We have deadlines, difficulties, frustrations and demands on our time. Stress isn’t all bad, though. It can help us give a peak performance. But constant stress wears upon the body, causing a wide variety of problems.
Stress kicks in our ‘fight or flight response’, which in turn allows our cortisol levels to rise, elevates our blood pressure, and makes our heart pump faster. Our muscles tense up preparing for that ‘fight or flight’ and we shift into high gear.
Imagine, though, if you ran your car at its top speed constantly, regardless of where you were driving and what the driving conditions were. Eventually your car would break down, just as your body will begin having physical problems when you are under constant stress with no relief from the pressure.
Signs of stress overload
When we have no respite from the pressures of daily living, we end up with both emotional and physical stress. Here are some signs that it is time for you to lessen the stress load in your life.
- Emotional clues you are overstressed:
- Irritability and inability to relax
- Feeling overwhelmed and isolated
- Unhappiness or moodiness
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- Constant anxiety and worrying
- Overeating or overuse of alcohol, tobacco or drugs
- Problems sleeping
- Nervous habits like nail biting, pacing
- Physical clues that your stress level is too high:
- Rapid heartbeat and frequent chest pains
- An achy, painful body
- Problems with elimination (diarrhea or constipation)
- Bouts of nausea or dizziness
- Frequent viral infections like cold and flu
- Loss of sex drive
How massage therapy can help
Research studies have definitively shown that massages are a highly effective treatment for the reduction of stress, the relief of pain and for easing muscle tension. Even a single massage therapy session, according to the studies, reduces anxiety, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and eases pain. Theories abound as to how massage therapy accomplishes all this. One theory says that massage blocks the pain signals sent to the brain. Another theory says that massage therapy stimulates the release of serotonin and endorphins, nature’s pain killers and ‘feel good’ substances.
Massage therapy also provides the following benefits:
- Massage offers relaxation – in some cases when you have been very tense for a long time, you will need to consciously instruct your body to relax.
- Your body’s circulatory functions will improve, allowing nourishment to flow more readily into your cells and waste products to be eliminated from them.
- Tight muscles will relax, allowing cessation of aches and pains.
- When the muscles relax, nerve compressions ease up also, and your range of motions is increased.
- With some massage therapy modalities, scar tissue may also be healed.
- Edema (swelling) in the body will be reduced as water is moved out of the cells and into the bloodstream to be offloaded via the kidneys.
Give your stressed out body a massage today and see how much better you feel.