The Science Behind Massage’s Stress Relieving Power

Massages feel amazing, but many people treat them as fun extras. Treating yourself to a massage may be fun, but they can also form a building block of regular self-care. Whether you’re trying to tackle stress and anxiety from life situations or as a by product of pain, massage for stress relief can help. The science behind the power works on three levels. First, improving circulation throughout the body. Second, reducing muscle tension. Lastly, the combined effects of massage lead to lower cortisol levels and a less stressful day.

Improves Circulation

A massage works to manipulate the soft tissues of the body. It may sound a little creepy when put into clinical terms, but it can actually work wonders. First, the immediate benefit from a massage is improved circulation. Massage for stress relief can help relieve muscle stiffness and swelling in the tissues. When your body is stiff and swollen, blood can’t flow as easily. Cells start to be deprived of the nutrients and oxygen that blood carries. They can make it, but they’re not operating at peak capacity. As fluid is moved and blood floods the massaged area, these cells receive full benefits again. The effects don’t end when the massage does, either. Improved circulation lasts for hours after you get off the table and go on with your day.

Reduces Muscle Tension

Massage for stress relief eases muscle tension through a combination of soft tissue manipulation and localized applied pressure. How much of each depends on the type of massage that you’re receiving. They each have their special uses, and you can talk to a massage therapist to find the best technique for your issues.

Muscle relaxation can ease pain and stiffness. The lack of pain can do wonders to improve your mood. Even if you don’t struggle with pain, relaxed muscles can still boost your mood and relieve stress. When your body is tight it raises the stress that you feel. This becomes a horrible spiral. You’re stressed, so you become tense. Your tense muscles send stress signals to the brain and you become more stressed. Rinse and repeat until the cycle is broken. A massage can break the cycle and lower your stress levels along with your muscle tension.

Lowers Cortisol Levels

Cortisol is a stress hormone that your body produces. While great in a fight or flight situation, cortisol that lingers in the body can make you feel stressed, tense, and miserable. Have you ever been so frustrated that you cried? Cortisol can actually be relieved through tears. The mood boost you get from crying actually comes from expelling cortisol through tears. Massage, like a good cry, lowers the cortisol in your body. A combination of better circulation and lower muscle tension lowers this stress hormone, allowing you the space you need to breathe and feel better.

Carrying stress around day to day can lower your quality of life significantly. Massage for stress relief can scientifically lower your stress in three ways. First, it improves your circulation. This boosts your mood, makes your body feel amazing, and helps your relax. Next, the eases muscle tension in the body. This can break your body’s feedback loop and let you step outside of the tension spiral. Lastly, it lowers your cortisol levels so you can move forward without a stress hormone slowing you down.