Relaxation massage offers more benefits than you can imagine. You may see it as simply a wonderful indulgence, soothing and pleasant. Yet, relaxation massage is so much more, because it can provide other health benefits . These include reducing muscle tension, calming your nervous system, making sleep easier and lowering the risk of injuries due to poor posture or repetitive use.
Reduce Muscle Tension
Holding tension in your muscles is common in today’s modern world, as you’re likely on the go constantly and under pressure on a regular basis. Many people unconsciously tense different muscle groups in response to these stresses, such as tightening their upper back, neck, shoulders and face. While having tense muscles is an appropriate response to physical threats, the anxieties caused by modern life are rarely physical in nature, but they can still trigger the same response. Unfortunately, carrying around all of this muscle tension isn’t healthy. How so?
For example, some experts hold that up to 80% of headaches are related to muscle tension and excess muscle contraction. In addition, tense muscles have the tendency to generate waste products (like lactic acid) and certain chemicals, which may cause a trigger point to form. These tender areas can send pain to nearby areas of your body, and may be one of the reasons you’re experiencing discomfort. The good news is, muscle tension and trigger points can be effectively addressed with relaxation massage, to renew and refresh your tight and tense muscles for maximum pain relief.
Calm Your Nervous System
The fast-pace of modern life doesn’t just impact your muscles – it can also overstimulate your sympathetic nervous system. This can make it difficult to focus effectively, as you may feel overwhelmed or have trouble concentrating on a single task. Constant low-grade stress can keep your sympathetic nervous system (which is responsible for the “fight or flight” response in the body) perpetually engaged. This can elevate blood pressure, stress hormone levels and is generally detrimental to your body. Why?
Your body was not designed to remain in this heightened state for long periods, and this response was simply meant to protect you for short periods when under the threat of physical danger. Unfortunately, the body can’t distinguish between physical danger and mental or emotional stress, so it’s response is the same. Where does relaxation massage come into play?
It can be used to calm your sympathetic nervous system, and engage your parasympathetic nervous system instead. Since the parasympathetic system is responsible for restoring proper homeostasis, it will allow you to relax and release the tension – for a healthier body and mind.
Make Sleep Easier
The effects of stress aren’t limited to daytime hours. If your sympathetic nervous system is activated, it will make it much more difficult to fall asleep. This is problematic, as sleep is a critical time during which your body repairs and renews itself for the day ahead. Lack of quality sleep on a regular basis can increase your risk for certain health problems, make you feel sluggish and even impair your reaction times. Better sleep helps your body and mind perform at their best, and relaxation massage can be a useful tool, allowing you to unwind and prepare for a good night of rest.
Reduce Injury Risk
Even for people who aren’t highly physically active, injuries can come from poor posture or repetitive use. Think of constant slouching or hunching your shoulders, or conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome from excessive typing. Relaxation massage can help to address or alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with these problems, and the healing blood flow which it stimulates may help to repair the damage that’s been done. When used as a preventative measure, relaxation massage may help to lower your risk of developing these types of injuries in the first place.
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