If you’re feeling totally stressed out, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. The days when you feel so overwhelmed that even basic tasks seem impossible. This is a completely natural human response to stress, however, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do about it. Though dealing with stress is part of life, there are various therapies that can enhance your body’s ability to deal with stress, so that you are feeling more relaxed, less anxious, depressed, or experiencing less pain. Each body is unique and each mind is distinct. But no matter who you are, one therapy that can be very effective is: massage.
Therapeutic massage is one of the oldest healing arts and has been used to treat stress and muscle tension for thousands of years. Massage therapy can relieve stress quickly and depending on where one holds their stress, there are techniques and pressure points that can directly address the body’s problem area.
It is unfortunate that massage continues to be regarded as simply a recreational pleasure. Many people are unaware of the healing properties of massage and how it can positively affect health:
- A study at Cedars-Sinai found that after just one session of deep tissue, Swedish, or light touch massage; all the participants experienced a significant reduction in the stress hormone cortisol and an increase in infection fighting white blood cells.
- Studies have also shown that massage can improve mood, ease the feelings of depression and anxiety, and reduce pain by increasing the body’s production of serotonin.
How do you know what massage is right for you?
- Swedish massage is what most people are familiar with: long, soothing strokes that relax, ease tension, and enhance circulation.
- Deep tissue massage is similar to Swedish massage but more pressure is applied to allow deeper penetration into the muscles. Great for those who hold more tension in their shoulders or back.
- Scalp massage is incredibly relaxing and can also help relieve headaches, as the therapist works the scalp and the base of the skull, where many people hold tension. Increased circulation may even be good for hair growth!
- Craniosacral Therapy focuses light pressure on the bones of the face, neck, and spine to relieve compression and ease tension. Deeply relaxing, it can also help with headaches and chronic muscle tension.
- Acupressure uses pressure points to alleviate stress, increase circulation, and according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, it also enhances movement of chi, or energy, in the body.
Tieraona Low Dog, M.D. Chief Medical Officer, Well & Being. Well & Being expert massage therapists understand the body and can relieve stress with any of these three ancient therapeutic arts. Live it Well.
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