The 5 Ways Massage Reduces Stress


Massage can reduce stress and related symptoms by reducing your heart rate and calming the central nervous system. As a result, you will feel more relaxed, rejuvenated, and focused.

  • Massage triggers a relaxation response – Massage encourages the body to ‘slow down,’ bringing it from a heightened state of anxiety to a more calm, relaxed state. The simple act of touch and methodic kneading invites the body to ease up and sink into relaxation. This emotional response is ignited by the body’s natural happiness and relaxation hormone, serotonin. Serotonin stabilizes our mood and helps with basic functions such as eating, digestion, and sleeping.
  • Massage helps with muscular tension – When stressed, your body involuntarily tightens, causing the muscles to tense. With massage therapy, the muscles can return to a relaxed state alleviating chronic pain. High levels of tension in the body can cause muscles to shorten, restricting movement and causing pain.  Massage relieves tension by increasing tissue elasticity and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.Using various massage techniques, the muscle fibers become more warm and loose. You may need more than one massage to remedy muscular tension, but you will still notice significant results after one session.
  • Massage reduced blood pressure – Massage has been shown to improve blood circulation, which in turn, helps to lower blood pressure. Massage therapy helps to calm the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for raising blood pressure as a response to stress. Studies have shown that relaxation massage or aromatherapy massage – both modalities that are purely relaxation-focused – reduces blood pressure and heart rate much more effectively than deep tissue or sports massage. This is most likely because calming, gentle touch releases that serotonin hormone causing our bodies to self-regulate and return to a natural and healthier function.
  • Massage improves sleep – Because massage can directly influence the body’s production of serotonin, it can also help to release the sleep hormone melatonin. Direct pressure and manipulation of the muscles in the neck, shoulders, back, and even the legs and feet triggers melatonin production. Massage also reduces cortisol – the stress hormone – which can affect sleep patterns. In its place, the hormone dopamine stabilizes your mood and helps create that relaxed state of being that is needed to fall asleep soundly. Massage therapy can be aided with essential oils, such as lavender, to further coax the body into that blissful state.
  • Massage helps with mental health – Massage can promote psychological health by stimulating the receptors, nerves, and hormones responsible for mood regulation. During a moderate pressure massage, these receptors are triggered – bringing therapeutic relief to the client and overall improved mood and well-being. Massage has also been shown to increase vagal nerve activity, which is often low in depressed individuals. When this nerve is stimulated, cortisol levels decrease, entering our bodies into a more relaxed and happy state.

Further studies have also indicated that following a massage, activity in the brain’s right frontal lobe (the part associated with negative emotion) lowered and shifted to the left frontal lobe, which is responsible for mood and stress regulation. So, why stress?  Massage therapy can be one of the best stress busters available! Alongside the quiet, relaxed atmosphere of a massage clinic, the act of massage itself coaxes our bodies into an improved state of well-being. And while stress can be temporarily alleviated with one massage session, identifying a long-term massage plan with a qualified massage therapist will be more beneficial for clients in managing chronic stress. Schedule your appointment today and team up with one of our professional, licensed massage therapists who will design a plan to help improve your overall health through massage.