Welcome back! Did you enjoy the gorgeous weekend? We sure hope so, especially since It looks like most of the coming week will be full of gray days, rain and clouds. If you find yourself feeling as “blah” as the weather, a massage could be just the answer! Wondering why?
Well, massage is a proven way to reduce stress, improve depression and decrease anxiety. That is not only because of the supportive, quiet and relaxing environment we provide but also the physiological changes that occur within your body as a result of the work.
First, let’s take a quick look at how stress impacts the body. A New York Times Health Guide article, Stress and Anxiety, does a fantastic job of summing up the overall effects of stress. Essentially, the body’s response to stress is all about redistributing energy resources. If you are running from a bear, trying to meet a deadline or even just out enjoying a spring bike ride, your body will prioritize energy usage accordingly. Digesting that fantastic lunch you ate earlier or insuring that your immune system is at its best are much less important uses of your energy than getting away, finishing on time or making it up that hill.
Brain chemistry, oddly enough, also falls into that “not really important right now” category. That makes sense when you think about it - if you are about to be a bear’s dinner, your body doesn’t particularly care if you are happy. Over the long-term, that can be problematic though. Increased levels of stress hormones can have a huge impact on conditions such as depression or anxiety because of their impact on serotonin and other chemicals that contribute to psychological wellbeing.
So how does massage make a difference when we are talking about stress hormones or brain chemistry? The Doctor Weighs In broke it down really well in Massage and Your Brain: massage increases some of the key “feel-good” chemicals of the brain while lowering the levels of stress hormones. Similar statements have been made by The Mayo Clinic, National Institutes of Health, and Johns Hopkins.
While Swedish massage can be considered a “go-to” for relaxation, we offer a selection of services that will have the benefits we’ve just talked about. Be sure to talk to your massage therapist about what your goals for the session are so that we can tailor your session to meet your needs. At Massage Associates, we may not be able to do anything about the weather but we excel at making you a priority. Call, email or go online to schedule your next massage - it’ll be like scheduling your own sunshine!