You probably know what it’s like to hold tension in your neck; the slightest turn in the wrong direction can feel excruciating. It can leave you feeling frustrated. You might feel helpless. It’s hard to have a productive day if simply turning your head feels impossible. This is the sort of impact that stress can have on our muscles.
According to the American Psychology Association, when an individual becomes stressed, the muscles begin to tense up. This is a protective mechanism against injury. This tension, if not relieved quickly, can turn into pain. Common stress-related complaints are migraines, back pain, joint pain, and weakness in the arms or legs. We find that stress tends to live in a few areas of the body such as the lower arms and hands or the lower legs and feet. Many people also experience tension in the area surrounding the head, neck, and shoulders.
How Does Massage Help?
Massage therapy can be effective at treating stress. A 2020 study found that just 10 minutes of massage can be enough to activate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. This, in turn, relaxes both the mind and the body. By treating the pain, you’ve also treated the root cause: stress.
How does it all work? According to Minnesota University, a whole series of physiological events begin when moderate pressure is applied. The body begins the relaxation process by lowering both the breath and heart rate. The muscles receive the message that it is safe to relax and begin to loosen up. Serotonin levels begin to increase. Stress hormones begin to lower.
A trained massage therapist can offer several different options. The most common types of massage therapy are:
- Swedish massage therapy: one of the more popular choices and is a gentle touch for the whole body
- Deep tissue massage therapy: a helpful treatment for repetitive stress injuries or chronic pain
- Sports massage: a great tool that is used to target muscles activated in sports or dance
Try Massage for Yourself
Do you find yourself struggling with pain and stress? The power of touch can be a very healing thing. Massage therapy might be a great tool for you to consider in your journey to health and peace. Reach out to learn more.