Massage for stress relief and anxiety or how to quickly reduce the stress hormone

Relaxation massage for stress relief

Known as the stress hormone, cortisol is produced by adrenal glands and stimulated by the hypothalamus. Did you know that the cortisol levels can also be regulated with the help of massage? In this context, using a massage chair at home can bring many benefits for your well-being.

Cortisol, the stress hormone

In small amounts, cortisol is demonstrated to maintain our focus and endurance during challenging moments, being vital for our flight or fight mode. However, too much cortisol leads to the appearance of anxiety and depression. Furthermore, an over stimulated cortisol elevates our body’s inflammatory response, increasing our sensorial perception of pain or reducing its capacity to fight infections. Beyond its negative effects on the immune system, a higher concentration of cortisol also hinders bone formation. As levels of cortisol decrease, our body’s own healing capacity is activated.

How to use different massage techniques for stress relief

The main health goal massage therapists focus when catering patients or clients complaining of high stress is that of reducing muscular tension and activating blood circulation. Therefore, deep strokes are always favoured for anti-stress massages. Stimulating the release of dopamine and serotonin, the feel good hormones, compression is also praised for reducing tension and increasing blood circulation. Applied on soft tissues, wringing stimulates the body as flattened hands and fingers are moved in opposite directions. Nevertheless, moderate techniques stand out as more effective than a deep tissue massage.

The emotional benefits of full body massage

Just one hour of full body massage can activate the release of positive hormones neutralising the effect of cortisol. The emotional benefits of massage also descend from the effect of decreased cortisol on fighting acute pain and activating post injury rehabilitation.

Lower feelings of anxiety

Massage therapy fights anxiety by reducing blood pressure with a direct effect on relaxation. The effect of massage therapy on the release of positive hormones is reflected in the 28% increase in serotonin and 21% increase of dopamine.

Refocus and find clarity when feeling depressed

Massage therapy represents one of the most effective strategies we can opt for in tackling depressive episodes. Feelings of sadness as associated with a low activity of the vagal nerve, which can be stimulated by 28% through massage. Restorative massage is connected to a 62% decrease in cortisol, instantly elevating both our mood, as well as our energy level.

Get a massage for your piece of mind

Beyond its impact on our emotional wellbeing, massage accelerates the release of melatonin improving our sleep. The release of melatonin is stimulated especially when practitioners focus on areas such as our neck, shoulders, back, and even the legs and feet. Nevertheless, the effect of massage on our peace of mind can also be elevated when the session is combined with relaxing music.

How often should you receive a professional massage?

Though recommended as an unequalled strategy to reach relaxation, massage therapy remains a challenging activity. Especially when our body is not accustomed to massage or when our lifestyle maintains our muscles under tension, just one session can be overwhelming. Such muscular blockages become even more intense when we live in a flight or fight mode. Therefore, even if we can technically enjoy a full professional massage session daily, it won’t bring us the full benefits associated with this form of therapy.

Woman receives relaxation full body massage
A full body massage, even provided by a massage chair, can help you relax by reducing the stress hormone

To maximise the healing effects of professional massage therapy, limit your routine to once a week. Furthermore, even if we choose to indulge in massage once every fortnight, our body would still assimilate all benefits activated through our practitioner’s routine.

Is it safe to use a full body massage chair?

Massage chairs recreate the experience we may get in a physiotherapist’s practice without leaving out home. The standard features of massage chairs integrate some of the most popular routines which can be adjusted by pressure and duration. Furthermore, the chair’s timer setting allows attaining all the benefits attributed to more complex techniques, such as the deep tissue massage, within a reduced duration in which it wouldn’t be perceived as challenging for our body. Nevertheless, massage chairs can be exhaustively adjusted to focus on areas in which we experience more intense and upsetting blockages.

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