Massage For Stress Reduction

Posted February 02, 2007 by Acupuncture & Massage College & filed under Massage Therapy

Stress results in tense neck and shoulder muscles, leading to stiffness, headaches and more stress. Massage helps to relax the mind, body and spirit, providing time and space for self, and a feeling of peace, calm and well-being. It allows the nervous system to normalize itself, and may reduce many stress-related conditions, such as palpitations and raised blood pressure.

Prolonged periods of stress can subconsciously affect many systems of the body. Stress has been shown to aggravate, or even cause, such conditions as heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, memory loss and decreased immune dysfunction. Massage therapy is one of the best antidotes for stress. Massage boosts the body's immune system, which can become compromised from extended periods of stress. Tension can build up in the muscles, causing a decrease in circulation and nutrient delivery to tissues.

Reduce Stress with Massage Therapy

With a therapeutic massage, stress can be significantly reduced. This, in turn, will increase energy and improve life outlook. When sustained stress is experienced daily, the brain responds in a manner known as "fight or flight". This signals the sympathetic nervous system, which is controlled by the hypothalamus in the brain. Muscles tighten in our neck, shoulders and back, blood vessels constrict, eyes dilate, large amounts of energy are expended as the adrenal glands excrete hormones.

Massage breaks this tension by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system (the body's way of conserving and restoring energy). Stretching and kneading releases tight muscles and natural endorphins. This results in decreased pain, decreased heart rate and a sense of calm. Massage, when combined with traditional medical treatments, can reduce stress and promote healing in people with certain health conditions.

Massage and bodywork techniques are therapeutic in addressing chronic muscle and soft tissue strain patterns created by stress and aligns the muscles and soft tissues of the body by using a combination of specialized and advanced massage techniques. Some techniques may include: Functional muscle assessment (visual, kinesthetic, palpation), myofascial release, neuromuscular, deep tissue massage techniques, structural balancing (positioning and mobilizing), and external hot/cold applications.

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