Massage Therapy can help you relax and unwind by lowering your stress levels. Both mental and bodily manifestations of stress exist. Physical stress within muscles after injury or overuse can cause a buildup of tension and a subsequent increase in pain. Immobility, pain, or injury can cause mental strain. Anxiety and depression are worsened by the hormone cortisol, released in response to mental stress.
While some pressure can bring about positive changes, too much can lead to physical discomfort, anxiety about returning to play and doubt in one’s abilities. At Physio.co.uk, we have massage therapists who use massage to help patients relax, feel less pain, and have better moods.
What are the best types of massage for stress relief?
You can use any Massage Therapy that you enjoy to help you relax and unwind. In order of prevalence, here are the most frequently practised types of massage for stress relief:
Varieties of Massage:
- Deep Tissue Massage
- Swedish Massage
- Therapeutic Massage
One method of relieving stress is applying firm pressure to the muscle tissue
The deeper layers of muscle and fascia are the target of a deep tissue massage. Muscle tension is a common source of stress because it limits mobility and heightens discomfort. A deep tissue massage aims to stretch and spread muscle fibres and tissues to loosen and relax tight muscles. Freeing up tight muscles improves mobility, lessens pain, and calms the mind.
Swedish massage is known to alleviate stress
Swedish Massage Therapy is a manual therapy that aims to reduce stress by kneading and stroking a recipient’s muscles. Manipulating muscles causes them to loosen and lengthen, relieving tension and stress on the body. Intense mental stress is a direct result of physical tension and pain. Swedish massage reduces not only physical tension but also the accompanying mental stress.
In order to relax and unwind, many people turn to therapeutic massage.
When performing a therapeutic massage, the therapist applies light, even pressure to the area. Therapeutic massage primarily aims to induce a state of calm. Poor relaxation techniques increase stress, increasing tension, anxiety, and muscle knots. A therapeutic massage improves local circulation. Happy hormones like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine are floating around your bloodstream.
Those feel-good hormones also aid in relaxation and lessen stress. Raising muscle temperature increases blood flow and can also help improve tissue elasticity. More elastic tissues are less likely to become knotted, relieving muscle stress and discomfort. Muscle relaxation and the avoidance of knots can help alleviate stress.
What are some ways to deal with stress?
One can use several methods to help relieve stress. The most frequently used methods consist of the following:
- Deep Strokes
- Trigger Pointing
- Lymphatic drainage
Stress relief through deep strokes is a common practice. When performing deep strokes, firm pressure is used to reach deeper layers of muscle. Muscles can be stressed dramatically on many levels. Tissues further within the muscle can feel the effects of stress more acutely, leading to increased pain and a limited range of motion.
Tissue elasticity can be improved by increasing muscle temperature, achieved with deep strokes. Tissue elasticity improvement relaxes muscles and lowers stress levels. When muscle tension is lowered, pain is relieved, and the range of motion is expanded.
Reduce stress the healthy way with trigger pointing
The centre of muscle fiber is where a trigger point forms. Muscle knots, known as trigger points, result from chronic stress and tension. Referred pain, headaches, and emotional stress can all originate from trigger points. During trigger pointing, pressure is applied firmly with the fingers and thumbs. An ischemic response develops in response to the increasing pressure.
This is called an ischemic reaction when blood flow is cut off from a region and then restored when pressure is relieved. If you apply enough pressure to something, it will start to feel numb before releasing it. As the pain subsides, you can continue applying pressure to the trigger point (if it’s a deep or large one) or letting up. Relaxing the muscles around the trigger point can help ease tension in the body and mind.
Lymphatic drainage can be used to alleviate stress
The lymphatic system is stimulated by lymphatic drainage, which aids in removing metabolic waste products. After sustaining damage, undergoing surgery, or being overworked, a muscle can accumulate metabolic wastes. Muscle fatigue, weakness, swelling, and pain are all exacerbated by metabolic wastes. Reduced mobility and slowed wound healing are potential consequences of swelling, fatigue, and weakness in the musculature.
Restricting motion and preventing healing can increase mental stress, as the patient may grow frustrated at being unable to regain full use of the affected area or resume regular physical activity. The lymphatic system is boosted after a massage. The metabolic wastes are flushed out of the body, and healthy oxygen and nutrients are pumped using a variety of long, deep strokes. Reduced swelling, pain, and restriction result from lymphatic drainage’s more efficient flushing of metabolic wastes from the body. Stress levels are lowered as swelling, pain and limitation are alleviated.
When can a massage help to relieve stress?
Massage therapy is helpful in many contexts because of its ability to alleviate stress. The most common cases in which lowered stress levels have proven beneficial are:
- Acute Pain
- Post Injury
A massage therapist can help with acute pain, recovery from injury, and general stress reduction.
Reducing stress can help lessen pain.
Both mental and physical stress exacerbates pain. Stiffness and immobility can result from a buildup of physical tension, which stress exacerbates. When there is physical pain, it can add psychological strain. When our bodies sense pain, we release the stress hormone cortisol, which has the opposite effect and makes the pain feel even worse. As pain levels rise, stress rises, creating a vicious cycle of ever-increasing pain.
A massage’s intended effect is to calm the mind and muscles. An increase in body temperature has a relaxing effect on muscles and also increases their flexibility and range of motion. A massage will flush the body’s supply of cortisol out of the system to alleviate stress and pain.
Reducing stress levels after an injury can aid recovery
Swelling, fatigue, and muscle weakness are all possible outcomes of an injury. Pain and the inability to participate in physical activity are two factors that can increase stress. A Massage Therapy has a calming effect on the mind and body. When good hormones are released, it’s easier to feel calm mentally. Among the happy hormones are endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine.
An improved sense of well-being, a more optimistic outlook, and an overall “happy mood” are possible benefits of elevating “feel-good” hormone levels. Inducing a state of happiness and optimism is an effective way to lessen stress. One’s ability to recover from an injury and get back into game shape faster by decreasing stress. A faster recovery time for athletes is a stress-busting bonus.
When stress is reduced, relaxation improves
High levels of mental and physiological stress make it impossible to unwind. Muscles tighten, remaining in a contracted state, and the resulting pain can be stressful and frustrating. A massage’s goal is to reduce muscle stress and anxiety. Massages increase blood flow by creating friction between the skin and the fingers.
By increasing circulation, you can raise your muscles’ temperature. When body temperature rises, tissue elasticity increases, allowing the muscles to loosen up. Due to an increase in movement and a decrease in pain, muscular relaxation also promotes mental relaxation.
How does massage work to alleviate stress in the body?
Stress relief from a massage is achieved through several physiological mechanisms. The majority of people experience the following physiological effects:
- Elevated levels of feel-good chemicals like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine
- Decreased cortisol
- The most common physiological effects during a massage to help reduce stress are an increase in endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, a decrease in cortisol, and an increase in tissue elasticity.
Stress hormones like endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine increase during a Massage Therapy, making it more pleasurable. Stimulating the autonomic nervous system causes the release of the neurotransmitters endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. Endorphins calm anxiety, depression is avoided, a general sense of well-being is achieved by serotonin, and motivation and confidence are bolstered by dopamine.
Stress, anxiety, and a pervasive sense of isolation are all symptoms of a deficiency in the feel-good hormones endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. Positive hormones are released in response to a massage because it stimulates the autonomic nervous system. Boosting the body’s production of feel-good hormones has been shown to have several beneficial effects, including alleviating stress and anxiety and elevating mood.
When cortisol levels drop, stress diminishes. The adrenal gland secretes the harmful hormone cortisol when the hypothalamus is stimulated. The hypothalamus is a part of the brain, and the adrenal gland is situated atop the kidneys. When released, cortisol enters the bloodstream and travels throughout the body. The stress hormone cortisol is responsible for the “fight or flight” reaction and the accompanying feelings of anxiety and depression.
Overproduction of cortisol in response to stressors like pain raises stress levels and decreases immune function. The stress hormone cortisol is flushed out of the body during a massage and is replaced by the calming hormones endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. When positive hormones are used in place of cortisol, stress is reduced, and relaxation is heightened.
Wrapping It Up
Stress reduction can be achieved by learning to unwind in both body and mind. In order to alleviate stress, many people turn to massage therapy, specifically deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, and therapeutic Massage Therapy. Deep strokes, trigger point work, and lymphatic drainage is just some of the massage modalities shown to be effective in alleviating stress.
Chronic pain, injury recovery, and general relaxation are just some situations where massage’s stress-relieving properties come in handy. An increase in feel-good endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine and a decrease in stress hormone cortisol occur regularly during a Massage Therapy.