Why Massage Therapy Supports Stress Relief

Why Massage Therapy Supports Stress Relief

It is no secret that massage therapy promotes a sense of deep relaxation and wellbeing. Sometimes we give ourselves the gift of one but it is easy to overlook the health benefits of regular treatments. Maybe it is time to move massage from the ‘luxury’ column to the ‘necessary’ column of self-care?

Regular massage can effectively reduce stress and anxiety, something of which there is no shortage these days! 

The physiological markers for this treatment of stress and anxiety lies in the knowledge that massage decreases cortisol and increases activity of the parasympathetic nervous system – the body’s way of generating deep relaxation and reduced anxiety.

“Numerous studies show that moderate pressure massage is more effective than light pressure massage for reducing pain associated with different medical problems including fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Moderate pressure massage also improves attention and enhances the body’s immune response by increasing the activity of natural killer cells. Functional brain imaging studies show that changes take place in many areas of the brain involved in regulating emotions and stress response including the amygdala and the hypothalamus. For an excellent review of the research evidence for massage therapy see “Massage Therapy Research Review” by Field (Field 2014).


This article from Psychology Today offers insight into some of the anecdotal effects of massage.



Massage therapy offers one an elegant and supportive way to promote your best health. It is well worth giving yourself this necessary ‘gift.’


NOTE:  Nothing is ever ‘one size fits all.’ Massage is safe when done by a trained therapist, seldom resulting in injuries. However, individuals who have chronic pain disorders or other medical conditions that involve the musculoskeletal system should consult with their physician before receiving regular massage therapy.


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