During an era when each day seems to bring new stress, it's no wonder that massage has become increasingly popular as a means of reducing anxiety.
"Americans are looking to massage for much more than just relaxation," says Mary Beth Braun of the American Massage Therapy Association. "Massage therapy can be effective for a variety of conditions, including arthritis, lower back pain, insomnia, headaches, anxiety, circulatory problems and recovery from a sports injury."
What Causes Anxiety?
The human body was designed to respond to danger, such as an attack by wild beasts, by either fleeing or fighting. Both those actions require extra levels of cortisol, known as the "stress hormone," which suppresses the immune system and increases blood sugar levels to keep our muscles ready for fight or flight.
But since most of today's problems don't involve wild beasts, sustaining higher cortisol levels can lead to digestive problems, headaches and insomnia. That's where Massage Envy comes in.
How Massage Helps
If you carry anxiety symptoms in your shoulders, back and neck, a professional massage can specifically target those areas. Regardless of where you carry tension, studies have shown that massage increases your body's levels of oxytocin and serotonin, which results in lowered stress. The feeling of relaxation created by regular massage therapy also lowers your blood pressure and elevates your mood.
When your body is relaxed, your nervous system responds with a lower heart rate and improved breathing. Deep sleep becomes easier to achieve, because your muscles remember the sensation vividly enough to recreate it at home, which enables you to enjoy a healthier life.