Stress is something that everyone will experience at some point in their lives. Whether it’s related to work, relationships, finances, health, or a combination thereof, stress can take a toll on your body in more than one way. According to StatisticsBrain, 73 percent of the U.S. adult population experiences psychological symptoms caused by stress, and 77 percent experience physical symptoms. Thankfully, the centuries-old practice of massage therapy can combat stress, allowing you to live a more enjoyable, relaxed lifestyle.
What is Stress?
Before we reveal the ways in which massage therapy can relieve stress, let’s first go over the basic definition of stress. While there are different ways to describe this common phenomenon, the most basic definition is that stress is a state of emotional strain resulting from negative or highly demanding circumstances. Sounds simple enough, right?
Many experts attribute stress to the body’s fight-or-flight response, in which certain biochemical reactions occur when danger presents itself. When you are stressed, your blood pressure may rise; levels of the stress hormone cortisol may increase; perspiration may increase; and you may experience a sudden but temporary boost of energy.
Massage Therapy Eases the Symptoms of Stress
It’s important to note that massage therapy doesn’t necessarily treat the root cause of stress, but rather the symptoms that it manifests. In doing so, however, the individual’s body and mind return back to its normal, healthy state.
One of the many stress-relieving benefits of massage therapy involves its positive impact on blood pressure levels. According to a study cited by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), trigger point therapy – a special type of massage therapy – resulted in a “significant” decrease in heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure (source). By lowering the body’s blood pressure back to normal levels, many of the adverse side effects associated with stress begin to dissipate.
Massage therapy has also been shown to have a positive impact on regulating hormone levels. It is unclear how it’s able to achieve this exactly, but massage promotes the release of endorphins and serotonin, both of which are associated with pleasure and pain relief. Subsequently, the release of these hormones overcomes stress hormones like cortisol.
Will massage therapy eliminate all of your daily stresses? Probably not, but it will almost certainly help to relax your body and mind while mitigating the negative impact of stress. See for yourself why so many men and women seek massage therapy for stress relief.
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