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Massage therapy offers a variety of benefits. Some benefits are obvious, like helping relieve pain from cramped or overworked muscles, while others are less obvious like the emotional benefits. Here are just a few of the ways massage therapy provides emotional support.
Renew the mind-body connection
Massage therapy promotes a sense of peace that encourages renewal of the mind-body connection. The mind-body connection is a complex relationship between our thoughts and emotions (and our brain) and our bodies. Just as physical pain can influence our thoughts and emotions, emotional pain can have very real impacts on our bodies. Stress and challenges of daily life can create interference in the mind-body connection. Massage therapy helps clear the interference and renew this vital relationship.
Relieve anxiety, stress and depression
Negative emotions like anxiety, stress and depression can manifest as physical symptoms of muscle tension, aches and fatigue. When there is dysregulation of the mind-body connection (discussed above) those physical effects are unable to resolve with the emotions that contributed to them. Massage therapy not only clears and renews the mind-body connection but also releases the tensions stored in the muscles while stimulating the release of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine – chemicals in the brain that are key to emotional wellbeing. Massage therapy also decreases levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, and promotes calmness in the mind and body.
Fulfill innate need for touch
Studies have shown for decades that touch is essential for our overall sense of wellbeing. Touch creates a feeling of being cared for and nurtured in people of all ages. Touch opens up our emotional capacity for peacefulness while lowering blood pressure and heart rate. In fact, a lack of touch has direct correlations to increased aggression, stress, anxiety, and depression. By meeting our innate need for human touch, massage therapy supports the elements of our emotional well being that rely on and are enhanced by touch.
Science is continually discovering different ways massage therapy promotes emotional health and well being. While we’ve covered a few of the important emotional benefits of massage therapy here, there are so many more being discovered each day by people all over the world.
Special Note: Neither the information in this blog nor the practice of massage therapy are intended as a substitution for qualified and professional help from mental health providers.