The Science Behind Massage and Mental Health
We hear everyone talking about mental health and different ways to maintain a healthy mind. Massage is a common go-to (and a great 1, might I add!), however, do we really understand WHY? Yes, there is a science behind it!
Relaxation can come in both psychological and physiological forms.
PSYCHOLOGICAL relaxation refers to the reduction of in stress hormones release (cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline). A reduction in theses hormones will allow the individual to feel a reduction in anxiety, stress and depression.
PHYSIOLOGICAL relaxation refers to the increase in tissue flexibility, elasticity, and pliability. A reduction in musculoskeletal tension can allow the individual to feel a reduction in pain and increase their range of movement and flexibility.
Endorphins are released during times of happiness and relaxation. Low levels of endorphins are linked to negative thoughts, anxiety, stress and depression. Massage can stimulate an increase in the release of endorphins through stimulating the autonomic nervous system. An increase in levels of endorphins such as serotonin and dopamine can leave the individual feeling positive, enthusiastic, and relaxed.
Massage can decrease the release of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress related hormone released during times of threat. High levels of cortisol are linked to feelings of anxiety, stress and depression. Massage can reduce the production of cortisol by promoting relaxation. A reduction in the levels of cortisol can leave the individual feeling calm, relaxed, and happy.
Massage can increase tissue temperature. An increase tissue temperature is achieved through stimulating an increase in blood circulation. An increase in blood circulation is gained through vasodilation which occurs when the smooth muscles surrounding blood vessels relax which widens the vessels. An increase in blood circulation can warm the tissues allowing them to become more relaxed. An increase in tissue temperature can lead to an increase in flexibility, tissue elasticity, and decreased pain.
So, if you managed to read all of that, hopefully you now have a better understanding about why massage works and how it is SCIENTIFICALLY beneficial to our mental health.
If you are still on the fence about making massage a regular priority in your life, just take the leap! Book 1 appointment and I promise that you won’t be disappointed!