Ah, a good massage. There’s nothing quite like it for melting your stresses and strains away. The fact that it reduces our anxiety levels is almost a no-brainer. So what goes on in a massage session that makes it so special? Massage therapy calls upon an orchestra of acknowledged stress reduction techniques that when played together in one harmonious chorus, provide sublime stress relief.
Let’s look at some of the key stress reduction players that a good massage includes.
Anxiety can be relieved by committing to lying still for an hour and focusing on deep breathing. Practically speaking though, many individuals don’t take the time to do this. If a massage session is booked, however, the individual is committed to the exercise. Arguably, too, they will find the process a lot more enjoyable, given that they are receiving a massage at the same time.
Removal of stimuli
Stress and anxiety levels are greatly reduced when an individual removes his or herself from external stimuli and focuses inward. Booking a regular appointment with a massage therapist is a way of ensuring a regular break from the buzz of external stimuli, noise and activity.
During a massage, gentle music is generally played, helping the brain to tell the heart to slow down to a rhythm closer to 60 bpm, and helping the body to relax.
An undeniable benefit of massage is human touch. As living beings, we all respond to connection of some type and, as long as the type of physical touch is appropriate, this can be a very relaxing and calming experience. As the skin is the largest organ in the body, and is connected to the central nervous system, the touch of massage has an immediately calming effect on one’s nervous system.
As a massage therapist gently works on releasing muscle tensions and pain in the body, the individual tends to focus on the area being treated. When the brain is forced to concentrate like this, it is, in fact, a type of meditation. The massage experience is often likened to meditation because of this mind focussing effect. Thoughts of events before or after the massage, activities at work, or anything else tend to conveniently subside as they are overridden by the feelings created by the massage. It is a great way to make an individual perform a type of meditation without realising it!
Massage therapy: a melting pot of stress-reducing modalities
Any of us can teach ourselves how to “relax” but for many, due to our lifestyles, physical make up or brain chemistry, this can be a little more difficult than it sounds. Others have simply forgotten how to relax. By booking a massage treatment, you are put into a position where you are given prompts and appropriate surroundings to enable you to do this. External stimulus is reduced, relaxing music is played, all while a massage therapist releases muscle tension in your body.
The secret bullet that massage therapy offers anxiety sufferers is not from any one component, but from a combination of several acknowledged relaxation methods and techniques rolled into one soothing treatment hour.
Relieving stress and anxiety in any way is exceedingly important, so any modality that does this is a valuable one. As well as the more serious health problems of hypertension, heart problems, increased susceptibility to strokes and serious diseases, one cannot forget that anxiety is a huge burden to live with. It is distressing, physically painful, distracting and it can severely hamper one’s productivity and enjoyment of life. Without this unpleasant condition, there is more clarity of thought, increased concentration, productivity, and much less likelihood of being ‘flustered’ by minor setbacks or interruptions.
Anxiety is a condition that many individuals suffer from in silence. Many suffers are embarrassed to talk about the condition or seek help. Sadly, others even presume that it is a normal state of being. Modalities that encourage the individual to relax and in turn decrease levels of anxiety should, therefore, be highly regarded as an appropriate adjunct to treating anxiety disorders.
Sage Institute of Massage – it’s more than a job, it’s a rewarding career.
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