The benefits of massage are many and varied. Not only is there specific physiological benefits to be gained through massage, there are also mental and emotional plusses as well. It has been shown that the health risks associated with not receiving healthy, non sexual, human touch is similar in magnitude to the dangers of obesity and smoking. Body image and self esteem issues, being a divorcee, widow or widower, living far from family and friends and having a history of trauma and abuse are just a few of the reasons a person might not be in receipt of positive, healthy, non sexual touch. Below I have listed some of the physical benefits of massage along with a brief explanation of the hormones mentioned. For more information on how massage can benefit you specifically, please feel free to call or email me for a free, over the phone consultation.
Scientific studies over the last 30 years have show massage to
- Decrease blood pressure
- Reduce the stress hormone Cortisol
- Increase the hormones Serotonin and Oxytocin
- Decrease Substance P
- Increase Immune System function
- Reduce inflammation and edema
- Increase circulation
Cortisol plays a big role is the body’s stress response. Cortisol helps us deal with stress by shutting down unnecessary functions, like reproduction and the immune system, in order to allow the body to direct all energies toward dealing with the stress at hand. These functions of cortisol are supposed to be short-lived, just long enough to deal with the offending stressor. However in today’s busy world many people are living in a constant state of stress. This keeps the cortisol flowing, steadily suppressing the body’s metabolism, immune system, reproductive and digestive systems. Affecting the endocrine system as well by co-opting vital chemicals used in the production of other necessary hormones. Sustained high levels of cortisone can also destroy healthy muscle and bone.
Serotonin, in the brain it is associated with the regulation of mood, appetite, memory and sleep cycles. In the GI tract it helps to regulate motility.
Oxytocin, has been shown to play an important roll in human behaviors such as trust, anxiety, recognition and bonding.
Substance P, is a neuropeptide that is involved in increasing the inflammatory processes of the body. It sends information about pain levels to the brain. It is also a key player in the chain of events leading to vomiting. Over the years, patients going through medical treatments that have the nausea producing side effects have been given drugs to reduce their levels of Substance P. Patients with fibromyalgia have been shown to have three times the amount of SP in their cerebrospinal fluid than in those without fibromyalgia.