If you’ve ever had the pleasure of going to a salon or spa and enjoying a massage, then you’re probably already reminiscing about the feel-good pressure and deep relaxation you felt during and after your treatment. Massage is one of the fastest and most effective ways of relieving tension in your muscles, but you don’t have to visit a spa to feel the benefits. Self-massage, at home, is equally beneficial and effective for easing muscle tension and releasing those feel-good hormones that can give you an extra boost.
Sending signals to de-stress
The busyness of modern life means that for many of us our sympathetic system is always ‘on.’ This is the part of the body that is activated during stress, controls the fight or flight response and can cause irreparable damage and disease if it becomes a continuous way of life.
Massage, however, can help to switch the sympathetic system off and turn the parasympathetic system on. This is the part of the body that controls the relaxation response, slows the heartbeat and decreases blood pressure. According to research, massage can alleviate and even prevent the symptoms of many conditions, from anxiety to insomnia, from occurring.
The power of massage lies in its ability to impact every system in our body, beginning with our largest organ – our skin. The skin is filled with nerve endings, sensors, capillaries and connective tissue. When we receive a massage, or self-massage, the pressure sends signals from the nerve cells in the skin to the brain. This promotes the release of feel-good hormones dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin that generates a feeling of overall wellbeing and deep relaxation.
Massage away the day
By mindfully taking the time to self-massage different areas of the body, from the head all the way down to the feet, it’s possible to not only reduce anxiety and the levels of stress hormones adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine, but also physically improve skin tone, joint mobility, lymphatic drainage and circulation.
When it comes to skin health, improved circulation can help to improve skin elasticity and nourishment, while the act of massaging can exfoliate dead skin cells and promote cell turnover. Meanwhile, a scalp self-massage stimulates sebaceous glands, which is beneficial for dry scalp, hair follicles and can improve the condition of both scalp and hair.
Massage for better mental and physical health
Settle down to self-massage
Take a quiet time of day, perhaps after work or before you go to bed to create a peaceful environment around you. Then decide on the part of your body that you feel needs a massage – perhaps it’s your face, your scalp or another area. Remember, massaging one area of your body will still positively impact your body as a whole.
Choose an appropriate oil and rub a few drops between the palms of your hands before gently using your fingertips to start your massage. Close your eyes if you prefer and alternate the pressure as suits.
Have you tried massage for your wellbeing, what did you think?
We’d love for you to tell us in a comment below!