Stress is universal, and it's not always bad. Whenever you jump to catch a badly thrown ball, feel especially energetic before an important meeting, or hit the brakes in time to avoid a car accident, stress is doing its job. The adrenaline boosting your heart rate and the cortisol boosting your blood sugar, while diverting energy away from your digestive system and immune responses, are exactly what prehistoric humans needed to fight or flee attackers.
However, when there's never any relief from stress, the sustained fight-or-flight response can cause problems. In fact, WebMD warns that constant stress actually becomes "distress -- a negative stress reaction. Distress can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases."
- Angry outbursts
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Over- or under-eating
- Social withdrawal
- Tobacco use
- Irritability or anger
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Sadness or depression
- Chest pain
- Muscle tension or pain
- Sex drive
- Stomach upset
Massage Therapy and Stress
Virtually every symptom listed by the American Psychological Association can benefit from massage. Research has shown that it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, relax your muscles and increase the production of endorphins, your body's natural "feel good" chemical. Serotonin and dopamine are also released through massage, and the result is a feeling of calm relaxation that makes chronic or habitual as well as acute or short-term stress much easier to overcome.
In fact, stress relief is one of the first benefits that come to mind when thinking of massage therapy. It's also a key component for anyone trying to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Clinical studies show that even a single 1 ½-hour session can significantly lower your heart rate, cortisol levels and insulin levels -- all of which explain why massage therapy and stress relief go hand-in-hand.
Benefits of Massage Therapy for Stress
Taking care of your body should be at the top of your priorities. By adding therapeutic massage to your routine now, you'll feel, look and simply be healthier far into the future. In fact, stress relief alone can improve your vitality and state of mind. So what better way to prep for a long, happy life than a relaxing, therapeutic massage?
If you're looking to add stress-relieving massage to your wellness program, a Massage Envy membership can be a powerful ally when combating daily pressures and anxiety. In addition to stress relief, ongoing massage therapy can reduce pain, increase energy levels and improve overall physical and mental performance. Our experienced, professional therapists at Massage Envy locations nationwide customize every massage (and stress relief) session to address your individual needs.