The art of massage is often associated with relaxation. Most often, people who would come for massages as those with sore muscles, those who suffer from tiredness or exhaustion from physical activity, or those who are stressed out from the daily grind.
Massage is defined as the systematic manipulation of soft tissues in the body for therapeutic effect. The techniques vary as to the origin but the most popular, the Swedish technique, mainly consists of stroking and gliding, kneading and percussion movements.
The relaxing effect of massage may be traced to its ability to decrease the hormone, cortisol (or the stress hormone) in the body, and upsurge neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for increased state of well-being in the brain. However, some studies refute this mechanism as their results show that the changes in cortisol level is somewhat small to explain the benefits that are observed.
The frequency of how often massage is performed in order to appreciate clinical benefits is yet to be fully discussed by experts. Some studies say that at least 20 minutes of massage at bedtime given by parents to their asthmatic children has led to appreciable benefits. In another study, 30-minute therapies given twice weekly to breast cancer patients has shown appreciable decrease in cortisol levels.
No matter what the case maybe, massage offers a soothing alternative to one’s busy lifestyle and healthy respite to the chaos of everyday life.
Have your massage today!
Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Diego M, Schanberg S, and Kuhn C: Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci 2005; 115: pp. 1397-1413
Listing M, Krohn M, Liezmann C, et al: The efficacy of classical massage on stress perception and cortisol following primary treatment of breast cancer. Arch Womens Ment Health 2010; 13: pp. 165-173
Crane JD, Ogborn DI, Cupido C, et al: Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage. Sci Transl Med 2012; 4: pp. 119ra13