Stress & Massage

What Stress Does To You

“Treasure the gift of life.”
-Richard Carlson, Ph.D

Your body reacts unconsciously to situations you find threatening. Its emergency stress response primes you for fight or flight by causing certain physiological changes to take place:

  • Helps reduce affects of stress and aids relaxation
  • Your body produces additional adrenaline
  • Your body produces additional adrenaline
  • Your heart beats faster and more blood flows into your larger muscles
  • Your breathing becomes shallow and you start to perspire
  • The functioning of your immune and digestive system is inhibited
  • The flow your blood to your extremities and internal organs decreases

Frequent or continuous stress can damage your body, ultimately leading to discomfort, pain or illness. It is a contributing factor in most disease processes. Accumulated stress can decrease much of the pleasure and productivity you find in life. The adverse effects of stress can manifest themselves as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Changes in blood sugar
  • Ulcers
  • Headaches
  • Hypertension
  • Colitis
  • Heart disease


What Massage Does To Stress

The antidote to stress is the relaxation response.  During the relaxation response, your endocrine and nervous systems activate changes to slow your heart rate, improve your circulation and digestion, and relax your muscles in direct counteraction to the stress response.  There are many activities that can trigger the relaxation response, exercise, deep breathing, meditation, listening to soothing music, and of course therapeutic massage.  Massage can dramatically reverse the damaging effects of stress by:

  • Lower your heart rate and blood pressure
  • Improve your circulation
  • Raise your skin temperature
  • Heighten your sense of well-being
  • Cause your anxiety level to drop

During massage, tight muscles tend to relax, and the pain associated with chronic tension is relieved. Massage will stimulate the release of the body’s own natural pain killers known as the endorphins.

A regular massage program will put you in touch with your body, teaching you to listen and monitor its signals and needs. You will know when you need to take time out from your various stressors. This way you can avoid the damaging effects of chronic stress and gain some control over your sense of well-being.