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How Massage Therapy Helps You Sleep Better at Night

Tips for a better nights sleep


An overwhelming number of Americans experience some type of sleep disorder – try between 50 and 70 million, according to the American Sleep Association. And 7 out of 10 Americans experience some type of sleep disturbance due to daily anxiety and stress.

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Massage therapy until recently has been considered mostly a pleasing, relaxation technique, but more and more studies are showing that massage therapy is an effective, natural remedy for sleep. So toss the sleeping pills – massage is the smart, healthy, drug-free solution to sleep disturbances ranging from daily anxiety and stress to insomnia and other chronic disorders. Research shows that massage can improve sleep in infants, children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly with diseases like cancer, migraines, breast disease, insomnia, psychiatric disorders, and more.

Serotonin and Melatonin

Massage is a natural remedy for sleep due to the calming and relaxing nature of massage, as well as due to certain chemicals at play in your body. Massage therapy produces serotonin, which in turn creates melatonin, which is the essential ingredient for quality sleep. Melatonin is effective through influencing the sleep stage of a person’s circadian rhythm. Since massage is a natural, healthy way of boosting serotonin, which triggers production of sleep-inducing melatonin, research concludes that further study is recommended on the relationship between sleep and serotonin, and regardless, there is enough evidence to condone regular massages for sleepless patients.

Stress and Anxiety

It is all too common among adults to be plagued at night by worries that just won’t seem to go away so you can rest and replenish. Worries and other emotional and psychological burdens can lead to long-term anxiety and depression that may be difficult to alleviate, even with mood stabilizers or anti-anxiety drugs. Research demonstrates that massage can effectively reduce mental health issues related to stress, anxiety, and depression, where massage has even been demonstrated in experiments to be as effective as psychotherapy. Massage has even significantly reduced chronic anxiety in cancer patients, military veterans, and work-related stress of nurses.

So how does massage alleviate anxiety and stress? Since long term stress and anxiety can impact your central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and immune system, which leads to high blood pressure and getting sick more often, massage therapy plays an important role. Massaging areas of tension on your body causes it to release oxytocin and serotonin, both of which are stress-lowering bodily chemicals. Massage therapy hence does the necessary work of decreasing your blood pressure and elevating your mood, while relieving tension at your pressure points, such as your neck, shoulders, or upper back.

Chronic Pain

Pain impacts the quality of life and the productivity of the American public. It is such a problem impacting both waking and sleeping hours of so many Americans that people are seeking alternatives to pills, as traditional medicinal practices aren’t always working. Painkillers need to step aside for complementary and alternative forms of medical treatment like massage, as it is important to treat the whole person and improve health outcomes holistically for each person.

Massage for Sleep

Massage effectively treats chronic pain in a variety of forms. The sensation of pain actually starts in the brain and is then felt physically, where anxiety from chronic pain is relieved when serotonin is triggered and released in the brain. People suffering from lower back pain have been shown to get the most relief from long-term massage therapy. When experiencing chronic pain, like back pain, that is causing sleep disturbance, consider how you sleep and which mattress works best for you personally. Since sleep is so important for your physical, social, and cognitive abilities during the day, investing in massages, your bedroom, and how you sleep is definitely worth it.

back massage

Massages are for everybody, whether you just want to relax and self-soothe or if you have a medical ailment that needs long-term treatment. Remember that you can ask your therapist for light touch, firm pressure, or hard pressure, depending on what is right for you. Start at your own pace, and do what is right for your body and your needs.

Source: Lisa Smalls

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