How Massage Therapy Can Help Beat Stress

How Massage Therapy Can Help Beat Stress

It’s no secret that massage therapy is relaxing. We all know that stress can have a wide array of negative effects on our physical and mental health. From headaches to muscle tension to sleep problems and everything in between, stress is something we should not be ignoring. However, that doesn’t seem to keep a lot of us getting swept up in the constant need to be “doing something” that social media, and society in general seems to endorse now though.

a woman getting a massage with rocks at a spa

It’s easy to scoff at all the talk about “self-care” that’s been flooding the media in the last couple of years, but taking even a few minutes of downtime to do something (or better yet, nothing) for yourself can do wonders for our overall levels of stress.

While there are lots of easy ways to relax, one really great way that comes with a whole host of other great benefits is massage. Whether you take an hour and go to Evergreen Rehab & Wellness or your local clinic for an appointment with a Registered Massage Therapist or your partner spends a few minutes massaging your back at the end of a busy day, studies have shown that just ten minutes of massage or rest will help you beat stress[1]. Ten minutes! You don’t need to commit hours to a whole nighttime “self-care” routine like social media would have you think, you can take steps to beat stress with just ten minutes a day, you can manage that right?

So, why does massage therapy work?

Massage helps boost the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which can help how our bodies perceive stress levels both physiologically and psychologically by boosting endorphins, dopamine and serotonin (all the happy chemicals!) and reducing cortisol levels (stress hormones). This means that just a couple minutes of massage from your partner, self massage or professional massage therapy can all help us flick a switch from stress to relaxation even for a short while. Switching from that heightened state of stress to a more relaxed state mentally can also benefit your focus, mood and ability to respond to those situations that were causing you stress in the first place.

relaxing atmosphere at a spa with a massage table and tea lights

While your partner kneading your shoulders after a tough day is a simple way to implement the benefits of massage from home, if you truly want to take advantage of all the benefits of massage, set aside some time to treat yourself to a professional massage therapy treatment.. Therapeutic massage in the proper environment can not only amplify those relaxation benefits with a calming treatment room, aromatherapy or essential oils, and serene music but massage therapy has been proven to help with a wide array of other issues that may play into your feelings of stress.

a man getting a shoulder massage at a spa

Pain in particular is a huge stressor, and therapeutic massage is an extremely beneficial modality for pain management especially soft tissue related injuries or tension. When we’re in pain, we are essentially in a constant state of stress – stress isn’t only a mental state. That pain can keep you up at night and lack of sleep is also a risk factor for increased stress. Why not nip the cycle in the bud and address your pain by seeing a Registered Massage Therapist?

Other benefits

It’s also just really beneficial for our mental health to step away for an hour every so often, leave your worries at the door and allow that treatment room to be your safe space to relax by yourself and take care of you. Many clinics, such as Kaizen Health Group also provide couples massage services. If you and your partner have both had a tough week, share some time alone together in a relaxing environment to help you recover from that rather than letting that stress seep into your relationship and other aspects of your life together. Enjoy each others company, spend some time away from the kids just focusing on your relationship, whatever the reason, making self-care an activity you do together may be just the reminder you need to step back, focus on what’s important and step away from the things that bring you the most stress, even if it’s just once in awhile.

A young woman getting a neck massage

So whether you’ve had a stressful week, you need to learn to set aside more time for “self-care” or you want to address your issues with pain, an easy thing to add to your stress fighting toolkit is massage therapy!

[1] Ten Minutes of Massage or Rest Will Help Your Body Fight Stress: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200918104305.htm