The world is not so simple anymore, and each day is filled with tough decisions, uncertainty, and anxiety. Life has indeed become quite stressful for everyone. Even people in Singapore, who possibly have access to one of the highest living standards, experience stress regularly. According to a survey conducted in 2019 by Cigna 360 Well-Being, a shocking 92% of Singaporeans have reported being stressed. This is 8% higher than the global average of 84%. Most of this stress is concentrated around work. The high level of stress has given rise to stress-induced illnesses and emergencies. Though stress is considered a normal part of life, it is a dangerous condition when it goes out of hand and starts to affect our everyday life and well-being. The best way to overcome stress is by engaging in activities that help us feel more relaxed and balanced. One such activity is to get a massage. This article talks about some of the symptoms of stress and how massage alleviates stress leaving us more relaxed and happy.
Symptoms of Stress
Stress is integral to our survival as the human race. It triggers our fight or flight response that determines our reaction to certain situations. However, if it is continuously switched on, it leads to a variety of symptoms that are detrimental to your health. Below are some commonly experienced symptoms of stress
- Increased sweating
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart palpitations and heart rate
- Tightness in the chest
- Insomnia and
- Psychological issues such as anxiety and depression
These reactions to everyday stress-inducing events wreak havoc on the nervous system. The body has to work extra hard to deliver a healthy supply of oxygen and blood to the organs. Under chronic stress, the body also increases the glucose levels in the bloodstream, increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes and digestive health issues. When left unchecked, stress compromises the immune system making you more vulnerable to illnesses.
How does Massage Reduce Stress?
One of the many benefits of getting massage therapy in Singapore is stress reduction. Massage is one way to reduce stress and related symptoms by reducing heartbeat and calming the CNS, which makes you feel more relaxed, rejuvenated, and focused. Listed below are five ways in which massage helps reduce stress.
It Triggers the Relaxation Response
Massage encourages the body to slow down by bringing it down from its heightened state of anxiety to a more calm and relaxed condition. The act of touching and methodic kneading allows the body to ease up and settle into relaxation. It helps the body release the relaxation hormone serotonin. Serotonin is a mood-stabilizing hormone that triggers the body’s emotional response of being naturally happy and relaxed. It also helps with basic functions such as eating, digestion, and sleeping. Therefore, massage helps reduce stress and enhances other basic functions of the body.
Releases Muscular Tension
Muscle tension and tightness is an involuntary responses to stress. This is why even 10 minutes of massaging the muscle can return it to a relaxed state and relieve you from chronic pain. High levels of stress in the body can cause the muscles to lose their elasticity, restricting movement and causing pain. Massage therapy releases this tension by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system with various techniques. The muscle fibers warm-up and loosen by trigger point therapy, rubbing, stretching, and stroking. More than one session is required to completely fix muscular tension; however, considerable results can be seen just after one session.
Reduce Blood Pressure
The action of massaging helps improve blood circulation in the body, reducing blood pressure. Massage therapy calms the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for raising blood pressure in response to stress. Some types of massages, such as relaxation massage or aromatherapy massage, are purely focused on relaxation and reduce blood pressure and heart rate much more efficiently than other forms of massages. This is most likely because calming, gentle touch releases serotonin hormone, which causes our body to self-regulate and return to functioning more naturally and healthily.
Massage directly influences the body’s production of serotonin, but it also helps release a sleep hormone called melatonin. Direct manipulation of neck and shoulder muscles apart from back and legs triggers melatonin production in the body. It also reduces cortisol or the stress hormone in the body, disturbing sleeping patterns. Dopamine replaces cortisol which helps create a relaxed state necessary for a sound sleep. Your body can be further coaxed into a blissful state by aiding the therapy sessions with an essential oil such as lavender.
Enhances Mental Health
Massage therapy promotes psychological health by stimulating receptors, nerves, and hormones responsible for mood regulation. With moderate pressure, these receptors are triggered, bringing therapeutic relief to the person, which enhances the overall mood and well-being. Vagal nerve activity, which is often lower in depressed individuals, is also increased. When this nerve is stimulated, it reduces cortisol levels, pushing our body into a more relaxed and happy state. Studies have also indicated that the activity in the right frontal lobe is lowered after a massage, reducing negative emotions and shifting to the left frontal lobe, which is responsible for mood and stress regulation.
If you are experiencing high levels of stress, you should consider getting a massage done by a professional and experience the benefits firsthand. Once you experience the amazing feeling after a massage session, there is no turning back.