Stress is defined as the body’s mechanism responding to different kinds of threats or demands. Stress is often accompanied by the release of hormones example adrenaline and cortisol, which arms and enhances the body response system. Massage therapy has been shown to help reduce stress significantly on both physical and physiological levels. During a study of trigger point therapy’s effect, there was a substantial decrease in heart rate and in both the systolic and diastolic pressures of the blood.
Stress relief is one of the main reasons why people seek massage therapy. According to a nationwide research by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), one in six adults had at least one massage therapy in 2006. It is advisable to take a massage therapy when; emotionally charged after hard work, worn out due to frequent exercising, suffering from migraines or just as a normal healthy exercise. Massage therapy relieves stress by:
- Relieving tired eyes: Tired eyes are as a result of staring at the computer in the office or other activities that strains the eyes. Massage therapy helps the eyes by bringing blood circulation to the areas of the eye and relieving sinus pressure, headaches and eyestrain.
- Benefiting the general state of the mind: Massage helps relieve depression and anxiety, hence helping in the general state of the body. Stress is mainly as a product of other feelings, hence by eliminating or eradicating these feelings, massage therapy helps reduce and eradicate stress. Soft music and dimly lit rooms are often used for massage since they help in relaxation of the body.
- Muscular benefits: Stress is known to cause the tension of the muscles and relaxes once the stress ends. However, a repeated pattern of stress may cause the muscles to tense for a prolonged period and hence leading to joint aches and muscle pains. According to the National Institute of Health, massage therapy helps reduce muscle tension. Massage therapist ensures this by applying pressure on the muscles through rubbing, stroking or stretching the muscles. This ensures that they go back to their normal relaxed state which in turn reduces the stress related pains.
- Immune and digestive system benefits: When undergoing stress, the body, through the stimuli initiated by the hormones, conserves energy by suppressing the digestive system. On the other hand, blood circulation is increased to the muscles, lungs and the heart. If there is a repetition of this stress pattern, it will lead to decreased immune system activity which may eventually make the body susceptible to flu, cold and low immune system opportunistic diseases. Chronic stress may also be brought about as a result of digestion problems.
Massage therapy helps improve the body’s immune and digestive system by ensuring the installation of normal blood circulation and restoring normal digestive system function.
In brief, unresolved stress has been shown to have numerous effects on the body with massage therapy being one of the most proven prolific ways of reducing stress and treating other medical conditions. The simple act of touch-focused care is often useful in reducing a person perceived level of stress. Massage therapy should therefore be encouraged, especially for patients who suffer from stress related illnesses and chronic stress.