Massage Envy experts answer your questions
Q: How does receiving massage help reduce stress?
A: We all know that certain types of constant stress in our lives are not healthy. But did you know that recent evidence indicates the physical changes associated with stress may contribute to the leading causes of death – heart disease and cancer. In addition, stress can create and/or exacerbate many physical and emotional conditions such as chronic fatigue, digestive upset, headaches, back pain, high blood pressure and risk of stroke.
A recent study conducted by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles recruited 53 healthy adults and assigned them to receive deep tissue, Swedish and light touch massage. Blood samples were taken immediately before the massage and up to an hour afterward. The researchers found that a single session of massage caused biological changes.
Volunteers showed significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol. They also had increases in white blood cells that are part of the immune system. Volunteers experienced greater increases in a hormone associated with contentment and bigger decreases in adrenal hormone, which stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol. While cortisol is an important and helpful part of the body’s response to stress, higher and prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream, such as those associated with chronic stress, have been shown to have negative effects. What this study shows is that receiving massage actually activates the body on an internal level to respond and correct the physiological imbalance caused by our stressful lives.
– C.G. Funk, Licensed Massage Therapist and Vice President of Industry
Relations and Product Development for Massage Envy
Whether you’re just starting to exercise or you’ve been at it for years, you may be sore after hitting the gym. Massage can relieve muscle soreness and inflammation that can occur as the result of exercising.
Massage is also beneficial in improving flexibility and range of motion, which can actually help you perform better and make your body less prone to injury at the gym. Looser muscles, joints and tendons are less likely to snap under pressure. Massage helps stimulate the production of the body’s natural joint lubricants, making stretching and movement in general easier.
Read up on some fun and interesting information for this Spring. Click the image below to view Massage Envy’s Magazine pdf for free!
Here are some interesting survey results by Opinion Research Corp. International in Princeton, N.J.
Based on a national sample of 1,014 U.S. adults:
- 90% of Americans feel massage is good for a person’s health.
- 93% agree that massage is effective for pain relief.
- Massage Therapy in people age 65+ has tripled from 4% in 1997 to 15%
- 34% of Americans had a massage in the past year
- 73% of those who had a massage recommend it to a person they know.
- 46% have had a massage to relieve pain.
- From those who has discussed massage therapy with a medical professional, 57% said they encouraged them to get a massage.
Massage has also been seen to be somewhat of a substitute to medication for those experiencing pain. We can look forward to more developments in massage research and it’s benefits as it becomes more prominent.
From the American Massage Therapy Association, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your massage:
- Be on time, or better yet, early. Don’t arrive rushed or frenzied, instead come in a few minutes early and begin your relaxation process.
- Don’t eat a huge meal beforehand.
- Communicate. Clothes on or off; what you want out of the massage; room temperature; lighting. Don’t hesitate to speak up.
- Keep breathing. It may sound ridiculous, but many people hold their breath while a sensitive area is getting massaged. Keep this in mind to remind yourself to breath and relax your body.
- Clear your mind. Focus on how the touch feels, you will get more of an experience this way.
- Drink plenty of water afterwards. Also, if possible, find some quiet time in your favorite spot to absorb the results of your session.
Aches & Pains
This warm blend of clove, sweet birch, rosemary and cypress aims to promote blood circulation and aid tissue recovery after physical exertion. It helps relieve a lot of muscle and joint pain.
Lavender, chamomile, and vetiver are blended together to create a sense of inner peace and harmony while decreasing irritability, nervousness and apprehension. This aromatherapy will leave you completely relaxed.
This blend of patchouli, grapefruit, and sweet orange bring pain relief and a decrease in inflammation to the receiver. The lavindin promotes restful sleep, supports the respiratory system, and aids in natural detoxification.
Mint & Rosemary
Mint oils and rosemary make for the perfect combination to enliven the body and mind. The Menthol in peppermint brings pain relief to the body, increases circulation, and cools the body. According to research, this mix also stimulates the part of the brain that causes people in one study to be more effective when performing tasks that require sustained attention.
Through slow strokes and deep finger pressure, deep tissues massage target knots and release chronic muscle tension. A decrease in inflammation and the elimination of scar tissue are other benefits that one can gain from a deep tissue massage. The deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons, and fascia are the focus of these massages.
Some of the more intense techniques used for this type of massage, such as deep finger pressure, may cause the recipient of the massage some discomfort or soreness for a few days following the massage. After the client no longer feels sore or discomfort, they will experience the relaxation and pain relief that is desired.