What is stress?
Stress is an organism’s response to a stressor such as an environmental condition or a stimulus. Stress is a body’s way to react to a challenge. According to the stressful event, the body’s way to respond to stress is by the sympathetic nervous system which results in the Fight-or-Flight response. Stress typically describes a negative condition or a positive condition that can have an impact on an organism’s mental and physical well-being.
How does massage reduce stress?
The relaxation response
In a massage, a caring, safe touch is an invitation to relax. This, together with pain relief, generally produces a “relaxation response.”
The relaxation response is a state in which your heart and breathing rate slow, your blood pressure goes down, your production of stress hormones decreases, and your muscles relax. The relaxation response also seems to increase the available level of serotonin, which is a chemical in the body that positively affects emotions and thoughts. While this information is promising, more studies are needed to directly confirm the relationship between massage and levels of serotonin in the brain.
The relaxation response may decrease the physical effects of stress and reduce the risks associated with stress, such as hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, anxiety, insomnia, persistent fatigue, sexual dysfunction, digestive disorders, and psychological issues–to name a few.
The Mechanical Response
The physical manipulation in massage has two major physical effects:
- Increase in blood and lymph circulation
- Relaxation and normalization of the soft tissue (muscle, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments), which releases nerves and deeper connective tissues
Improved circulation can enhance the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells. As cellular health improves, tissues function more efficiently. More efficient functioning leads to the removal of waste products and may increase the absorption of excess fluids and reduce swelling in soft tissues.
Massage is believed to improve blood and lymph circulation. This is probably due partly to the physical manipulation of soft tissue and partly to the chemicals released as part of the relaxation response.
For more information, call your local clinic on the number below.
London, Canary Wharf Clinic; (Canada Place Shopping Mall): 0203 197 9100
Leeds : 0113 345 5060
Lower Ground Floor
29 Park Square West
Leeds LS1 2PQ
London, Canary Wharf
(Canada Place Shopping Mall)
34 North Colonnade
London E14 5HX