Please enjoy this post written by our new Registered Massage Therapist, Sarah Baker .

If you type the words “Massage and Stress” into Google, I don’t think you would be too surprised to see all the articles, and studies that pop up that link the two together. But, when you think about stress and all its side effects, are you aware of all the benefits of a massage? Or how those benefits can reduce those stress side effects?

So first I want to ask; what is stress? Stress is your body’s way of responding to a physical or emotional demand. Whether it is to catch the baseball you are tossing around with your kid, or dealing with financial troubles, everyone experiences increased stress levels at one time or another. In fact, the body’s ability to react to stressful situations and deal with threats is critical to our survival, although not all stress is bad for the body. Some examples are; reacting in time to catch the baseball, or experiencing your first day at a new job. Positive stress or eustress is anything that makes us feel eager, excited, thrilled, proud, resilient, determined, fulfilled, or in a state of flow. However, when one is under long term stress caused by ongoing situations such as work or family problems, financial concerns, etc. the body will be in a constant heighten state – a state which has harmful effects on many bodily systems including the immune system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, reproductive system, etc. So what are some side effects of stress, or distress? Some very common complaints are; headaches, anxiety, insomnia, constipation, muscle aches and pains, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and depression.

Many studies have shown that massage is able to assist with all of the above mentioned complaints. Yes, it’s true. Human touch, when applied in a safe, friendly, and professional atmosphere can be a very soothing and relaxing experience, which in itself can alleviate these concerns. Although there are also many techniques used while massaging that can more specifically reduce the frequency individually.

A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that patients who were depressed and anxious were much more relaxed and happy, and had reduced stress levels after massage.

A 2005 study published in the International Journal or Neuroscience researched women diagnosed with breast cancer receiving massage for 30-min sessions 3 times a week for 5 weeks or received standard treatment. The massage therapy groups reported less depressed mood, anxiety, and pain immediately after their first and last sessions. By the end of the study, only the massage therapy group reported being less depressed and less angry and having more vigor.

A 2010 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that massage boosts patients’ white blood cell count (which plays a large role in defending the body from disease).

In today’s day and age we tend to have trouble finding time to relax, and I think we all know that this can be very detrimental to our health. So, do you need anymore help deciding why you should be booking a massage today?