New Blog Post for Therapy Junction for International Stress Awareness Day
This blog is about the benefits of massage in dealing with stress. International Stress Awareness Week takes place between 1st November-5th November 2021. The highlight of the week is International Stress Awareness Summit, running from 3-4 November. This awareness week was first held in 2018 by the International Stress Management Association (ISMAuk), a charity and the leading professional body for workplace and personal stress management wellbeing and performance. You can find out more about the organisation and the work they do here.
What is stress and why is it so bad?
Put simply, stress is the body’s reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. It happens all the time and can be useful in helping us to cope with the demands of work, home and family life.
Too much stress, however, can affect our mood, our body and our relationships in negative ways. When stress becomes a chronic state of being, it can have a physical effect on us, as well as affecting our mind.
Some of the physical symptoms you may experience include headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain and insomnia. You may also feel fatigued, have muscle tension and physical pain.
Your behaviour might change, leading to increased levels of anger, drug/alcohol abuse, over/under-eating and social withdrawal.
Your mood will almost certainly be affected, leading to you feeling anxious, sad, depressed, irritable or restless. You may lack motivation or focus when it comes to completing even the most straightforward of tasks.
How can massage reduce stress?
I’m a massage therapist, and my clients regularly rave about how relaxed and calm they feel following treatment with me. Having experienced massage myself, I agree that I leave a treatment feeling much calmer and more relaxed than when I entered the treatment room. But is there any scientific proof that massage can help you to manage the stress in your life?
You may be surprised to hear that the answer is yes. Scientific studies have been done that prove massage is an effective treatment in reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.
In particular, a study carried out by scientists at the University of Konstanz in Germany in September 2020, concluded that even a short 10-minute gentle massage can lower the heart rate enough to reduce stress.
Other studies have proved that massage increases the production of stress-busting hormones in the body, such as oxytocin and endorphins. Swedish massage has been proven to reduce blood pressure and heart rate by inhibiting the body’s natural stress response.
What are the benefits of having a massage?
As I’ve already mentioned, there are many benefits from having massage treatment, including the stress-busting effect. Some of the other things a massage can do are:
- Reducing blood pressure and heart rate
- Lowering insulin levels and the stress hormone, cortisol
- Relaxing the muscles
- Increasing blood circulation) leading to more oxygen and nutrients flowing into the body tissues)
- Enhanced lymph flow for improved removal of waste and toxins
- Boosts immune system
- Releases endorphins, serotonin and dopamine
- Reduction in stress-related pain
Can any massage work in reducing stress?
The studies I’ve read while preparing this blog indicate that even a short, gentle massage can lower blood pressure and reduce your heart rate. Regular visits to a qualified massage therapist can only have a greater and longer-lasting effect in helping you manage the stress in your life.
I offer a wide choice of massage treatments, from facial to full body Swedish massage and everything in between. A list of my treatments is available on my website, here.
Details of how to contact me if you’re interested in making an appointment to visit me at the Zen Den, located in the grounds of Briardale House, Blyth, are also on my website, or you can find me on Facebook and Instagram.