The Anti-Anxiety Effects of Massage
A therapeutic massage can help reduce anxiety, lowering the levels of cortisol in a person's body while increasing the amount of oxytocin and serotonin. The end result is a happier and calmer person thanks to the release of these chemicals.
Anxiety comes from our bodies natural fight or flight mechanism. In older times where humans routinely fought for their lives, either against nature or other people, our bodies adapted for this scenario. When stressed, the body released cortisol, which suppressed the immune system and increased blood sugar levels to our muscles to get us ready to fight.
Even without these types of threats today, our body responds to stress in the same way. Our body still releases cortisol, but without an enemy to physically fight, our muscle remain tense and in a state of attack. Massage can help combat this, relaxing the muscles and stimulating the nervous system to release oxytocin and serotonin, which help reduce stress.
Regular massage, in general, can help lower blood pressure and elevate a person's mood. When your body is relaxed, it will function much better, including a lower heart rate, easier breathing and a simpler time falling asleep.
While massage is not a cure all for anxiety, it can serve as a great addition to other stress reducers such as exercise and meditation.
Another excellent way to reduce anxiety is with music. This music is intended to be soft and soothing, helping whoever listens to it remain calm and relaxed. While listening to music may not be good as a massage, it can serve as a simple way to help relax during a stressful commute or during an especially tumultuous workday.
Stress and anxiety are sadly a part of life, but also something that massage can help battle. Massage is excellent for stress, helping the body battle its effects naturally.