The nervous system: Reduction in cortisol levels
When we are stressed, our bodies involuntarily respond by upping our adrenalin levels. This triggers an automatic response from our nervous system, which releases a ‘stress hormone’ called cortisol. Studies have shown that massage is one of the most effective ways of reducing the production of cortisol. It has also been suggested that massage can increase dopamine and serotonin (the hormones that make us feel good) and decrease the levels of vasopressin, a hormone that is believed to play a role in aggressive behaviour.
Too much cortisol (and therefore stress) for prolonged periods of time is not good for your health and can lead to side effects like high blood pressure, lowered immunity and in serious cases heart attacks, strokes and more. Put simply, a relaxation massage encourages your body to slow down the production of cortisol, reducing the strongest contributor to the feeling of stress. By taking time out for a massage, you are giving your body the opportunity to lower the level of cortisol and reset your hormone balance, leaving you relaxed. Soothing massage can provide relief from nervous irritability and stress-related conditions such as insomnia and tension headaches. When used energetically to stimulate, massage may relieve lethargy and fatigue, and help boost your energy level. It increases your mental stimulation, which relaxes your mind and helps you to sleep peacefully.
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