In the last few years there has been a shift in attitudes about massage therapy from luxurious pampering at a spa to including massage as a routine activity for improving health and wellbeing. This has led to massage therapy growing in popularity and demand.
While people understand that a single therapy session is relaxing and they feel great afterwards, the benefits of consistent and regular therapy sessions are not always clear. There are tremendous knock-on and lasting effects on the body and the mind that are not always articulated. Through a series of brief updates, MyMassage will focus on these areas to help raise awareness and promote a healthy lifestyle for our clients. Today we will talk about cortisol.
Overdosing on stress
Stress reduction is the highlight of what massage does for an individual. This is mainly achieved by reducing the high cortisol levels that the body produces while under stress. So what is cortisol and why is too much of not a great idea?
Cortisol is the main hormone produced by the body to signal stress. Stress associated with modern lifestyles creates elevated and sustained levels of cortisol. According to WebMD, cortisol “works with certain parts of your brain to control your mood, motivation, and fear”. While great for helping our ancestors escape an attack by a predator, in today’s hectic lives our bodies are constantly under stress and feel its unhealthy effects. High cortisol is known to lead to a number of health problems, including anxiety, depression, heart disease and memory, digestion, sleeping and weight problems.
Massage flips the switch on cortisol
Studies have shown that massage therapy reduces the cortisol levels and helps your brain and body switch to recovery and healing. Reducing excessive cortisol helps exponentially by creating healthy knock-on effects. When your mood is better, you are more motivated to work out, and when you work out you increase your endorphins and you might be more social … you can see where this is going.
What does WebMD recommend to reduce stress?
Amongst other things, massage!