RELAXATION Just want to relax?
Massage therapy is a great place to start.
The ability of massage to promote relaxation to its receiver stems from its effect on a portion of the nervous system called the parasympathetic nervous system. The long, soothing strokes of effleurage provides a message to sensory nerves on the skin’s surface and relays the message that all is well. This sends a message to the parasympathetic nervous system to turn on and allow the body to relax. The heart rate decreases, blood pressure decreases and the stress hormones are decreased. In today’s modern, stressful lifestyle we are always in a “fight or flight mode” which takes a toll on our bodies for the long haul. Our bodies were not meant to stay in this stress related, ready to act mode, but living in modern times sends a constant message to the nervous system to keep the body in the “fight or flight”.
The relaxation that massage brings to the body is a much needed break from constantly being in this stressful state. Massage gives your nervous system a break and therefore decreases stress related hormones released in the stressed state. Too many stress related hormones in the blood stream for long periods of time can lead to many health issues such as insomnia, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and increased rate of aging.
One of these hormones, cortisol can decrease the efficiency of the immune system, the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. Cortisol also controls mood, motivation, fear, and increases the amount of glucose or sugar in the bloodstream. Increase in blood sugar can contribute to weight gain as well as diabetes and elevated cholesterol levels.
A regular massage can help to diminish the effects that stress has on the body by promoting relaxation and giving the nervous system the much needed break it needs.