Massage for Stress Relief

Massage therapy has been shown to: Reduce your stress hormone levels by 30 percent. And increase serotonin and dopamine levels by 28 and 21 percent.
How Massage Therapy Can Help Relieve Stress
  • Headaches.
  • Fatigue.
  • Sleep Problems.
  • Anxiety.
  • Irritability.
  • Inability to focus.
  • Depression.
  • And restlessness.

StressSymptoms

Massage Therapy Can Relieve Stress

 

Position Statement

It is the position of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) that massage therapy can be effective for stress relief.

Background Information

Stress is a prevalent component in today’s fast-paced world that can negatively impact an individual’s health and well-being. Massage therapy has been shown to be a means by which stress can be reduced significantly on physical and psychological levels. While massage therapists know from experience that massage reduces stress, there is considerable research that validates our experience.

In a study on the effect of trigger point therapy1, there was a significant decrease in heart rate, systolic blood pressure8, and diastolic blood pressure8. Measures of oxygen consumption, blood pressure, and salivary cortisol levels were all lower after a 10 to 15-minute chair massage in controlled studies2, 3, 4. Changes in psychological states have been measured by physiological responses1, 3, the Perceived Stress Scale5, the POMS Depression Scale4,6, and the Anxiety State Scale4.

In the attached studies, all subjects in the massage group showed significant changes in emotional states and stress levels.

 

References

 

  • Delaney, J.P., Leong, K.S., Watkins, A., & Brodie, D. (2002). The short-term effects of myofascial trigger point massage therapy on cardiac autonomic tone in healthy subjects. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 37, 364-71.
  • Boone, T., Tanner, M., & Radosevich, A. (2001). Effects of a 10-minute back rub on cardiovascular responses in healthy subjects. American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 29, 47-52.
  • Cady, S. H., & Jones, G. E. (1997). Massage therapy as a workplace intervention for reduction of stress. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 84, 157-158.
  • Field, T., Ironson, G., Scafidi, F., Nawrocki, T., Goncalves, A., Burman, I., Pickens, J., Fox, N., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (1996). Massage therapy reduces anxiety and enhances EEG pattern of alertness and math computations.
  • International Journal of Neuroscience, 86, 197-205.
  • Brennan, M.K. & DeBate, R. (2004).The effect of chair massage on stress perception of hospital bedside nurses. Massage Therapy Journal 43, (1), 76-86.
  • Field, T., Quintino, O., Henteleff, T., Wells-Keife, L., & Delvecchio-Feinberg, G. (1997). Job stress reduction therapies. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 3, (4), 54-56.
  • MacDonald, G. (1998). Massage offers respite for primary caregivers. The American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Care, Jan/Feb, 43-47.
  • Cady, S. H. & Jones, G. E. (1997). Massage therapy as a workplace intervention for reduction of stress. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 84(1), 157-158.

 

Disclaimer: Position statements of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) are approved by the AMTA House of Delegates and reflect the views and opinions of the association, based on current research. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach.

 

 

Effects-of-Chronic-Stress-on-Appetite-and-Body-Weight

While therapists and life coaches will tell you the best way to reduce stress is to work fewer hours or avoid tense situations, in our fast-paced modern world this can seem impossible. Luckily, there’s one powerful way to reduce stress without giving away your worldly possessions and relocating to a mountaintop in the Himalayas: massage therapy.

Here are just a few of the reasons massage therapy is so effective at melting away stress:

1. Stress affects more than just your mind. Research has found that stress affects every part of your body – when you carry too much tension, it seems natural that it can lead to muscle stiffness and pain. But what you might not realize is that, according to the Mayo Clinic, it’s also linked to headaches, fatigue, stomach problems, and difficulty sleeping. When you enjoy a relaxing massage session at our clinic, you’ll be doing your stressed-out body a favor.

2. Massage is the perfect way to lift your mood. Think about it – during times of high stress, do you ever find yourself feeling anxious or depressed? Do you have trouble relaxing and getting the rest you need? Is it hard to focus or get things done? Maybe you feel overwhelmed, or just unusually irritable. Whatever effect stress has on your mood, a massage is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable ways to let your daily stress simply disappear.

3. Relieving stress can make it easier to meet your other goals for the year. Did you know that a startling 90% of people don’t end up keeping their resolutions each year? Part of the reason for that is that daily stress makes it hard for people to control their behavior. The Mayo Clinic has linked stress to overeating, drug and alcohol abuse, tobacco use, and social withdrawal – it’s even a major reason people tend to slack on their exercise plan. Keeping your stress in check is one of the best ways to stay on track to meet your goals.

4. Have a chronic illness or injury? Massage therapy may help. Preliminary research has shown that massage therapy can even help patients manage the pain and stress of chronic health issues, including joint pain, sports injuries, soft tissue injuries, digestive disorders, and even hard-to-manage conditions like fibromyalgia. When combined with a treatment program from your regular physician, it can do wonders!

5. Massage therapy leads to a healthier heart. Research has shown that regular
massage therapy helps lower blood pressure and heart rate, reducing the strain on your heart and helping you maintain a healthier circulatory system. Whether you’re working to be healthier or trying to stay in shape, massage is a powerful tool to help you reach your fitness goals.

 human_bodyeffects-of-stress

 Stress

 

Massage Away the Pain — The Need-to-Know

Massage therapy is any treatment where a therapist (or masseuse) manipulates the body’s muscles and soft tissues to relieve pain or decrease stress. But all massage is not created equal! Strategies range from deep tissue (often called Swedish) massage to reflexology, where the therapist applies pressure to a specific point on the body in order to relieve pain.

And the list of ailments massage can be used to treat is just as long as the list of massage types. One recent study found that massage therapy can reduce pain, promote muscle relaxation, and improve both moods and sleep quality. Another study found that after subjects were massaged, the levels of cortisol (a hormone contributing to stress) in their saliva decreased. One study also found massage therapy’s pleasurable qualities can lead to recipients reporting a better body image, especially for women.

Worth Its Weight — Your Action Plan

Although massage therapy may be more expensive than a walk in the park or a bar of dark chocolate (don’t worry, everyone eats the whole thing sometimes), it’s possible the psychological benefits of massage therapy may far outweigh its heftier price tag.

But while the majority of massage side effects are stress-relieving and positive, there are a few concerns to consider before diving into deep tissue. Not just anyone can give a truly therapeutic massage, so make sure to seek the services of a trained massage therapist. And while it’s normal to feel a little sore the day after many types of massage, it should never be painful or uncomfortable, so communication with the therapist is key.

Pro Massage by Nicola, LMT Specializing in Sports Injuries, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Ca.
Pro Massage by Nicola, LMT Specializing in Sports Injuries, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Ca.

*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.