According to the American Sleep Association, approximately 50-70 million Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorder. The ASA reports that insomnia is the most common specific sleep disorder, with short term issues reported by about 30% of adults and chronic insomnia by 10%. Getting enough sleep is critical to overall health and massage therapy is a great drug-free, effective, and safe option to treat a variety of physical issues that could be impacting sleep quality.
Specifically, insomnia is defined as the inability to fall or stay asleep. It is considered acute when it lasts for several days or chronic when it can last up to several months. Some people suffer from what is called primary insomnia which is defined as having no identifiable cause. Secondary insomnia is defined as related to a specific cause or condition.
While somewhat limited, researchers have found massage therapy to improve sleep in people who have secondary insomnia related to menopause, cancer, cancer caregiving, and congestive heart failure. Massage therapy is most effective for sleep disorders when it can address and relieve the symptoms contributing to the disruption of sleep.
One of the main things massage therapy can do is help you to relieve stress. Research has shown that high levels of stress can impact your quality of sleep. Massage therapy can reduce stress by decreasing the stress hormone cortisol and increasing serotonin and dopamine. If pain is the cause of your insomnia, massage therapy can help you manage and alleviate the pain and tension caused by injury. If you suffer from back, neck, or other joint pain that is causing your sleep to be interrupted or virtually nonexistent, then massage therapy can help relieve it so your body can rest and heal.
There are three primary massage techniques that can help with insomnia:
- Deep Tissue Massage. The goal of deep tissue massage is to relieve tension so this technique can sometimes be painful because the muscles are massaged using hard pressure.
- Swedish Massage. The goal of a Swedish massage is to relax the muscles and improve circulation by kneading, rubbing, and tapping affected areas.
- Trigger Point Therapy. This type of massage focuses on trigger points, or more commonly referred to as tense spots in the muscles.
If you suffer from insomnia due to stress or pain from a health condition or injury, massage therapy could be the best solution. Don’t suffer through another sleepless night and groggy day, make an appointment so you can begin to get the rest you need.