For many, massage is synonymous with stress relief, and when we picture the concept of ‘relaxation’ we might way envisage ourselves lying delightfully on the masseur’s table as all stress and strain drains away from our body. But is this image accurate? Does a session with a masseur truly help us to relax? We explore the science behind this ancient stress reduction technique.
Does massaging your body reduce stress? The short answer is: yes!
There are firm reasons behind the fact that when you step away from the masseur’s bench you feel lighter, calmer, and more energised. This is because massage has several well documented positive physiological effects, including:
- Lowering your heart rate. Does your heart quicken when you are anxious? A lower heart rate is the opposite of that, making you feel calm and composed.
- Releasing endorphins: just like chocolate, massaging prompts your body to release hormones known as ‘endorphins’ which make you feel positive.
- Soothing your mind: the very fact that you are getting some caring, personal attention, and taking time out from your hectic schedule, has a balancing, calming effect on the mind and body.
In addition, when we are stressed out, that stress tends to locate itself in particular parts of the body. When we are hunched over with worry, for instance, we may experience painful, stiff ‘knots’ in our neck or shoulders. A masseuse will be able to relieve this tension and stiffness, and in so doing they can simultaneously release the tensions in our mind which had been embodied so painfully.
Additional tricks that make massaging your cares away even more effective
Many masseurs like to combine their sessions with relaxing music (binaural sounds are a good example of this, as they have been shown to calm and soothe the mind at a very deep level), or therapeutic aromas such as lavender and sandalwood which are also known to have a de-stressing effect on the mind.
Are you experiencing stress in your life? Try a session with a masseur today
Even a short weekly session with a trained masseuse will help the stresses of life to dissolve. Relax your body and your mind with this ancient art.