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Managing Stress with Massage Therapy

Managing Stress through Massage Therapy

Massage therapy has many uses in many different situations, including helping to regulate blood flow around the body and helping to give muscles the movement that they might need. However, the most famous benefit attributed to massage therapy is the management of stress. It is common knowledge that massages can help you relax and unwind, but these have important medical impacts on stress-related conditions.

Why Stress Management is Important

Stress is related to stress hormones, one of which is cortisol. Cortisol can lead to many undesirable secondary effects on your body, including contributing to heart disease, lower immune system, poorer metabolism control (leading to weight gain), and even increased tissue inflammation. If you are an individual with high-stress levels, you are at risk of these adverse consequences and should reduce this stress. There are several ways of doing this, including tackling the source of stress directly, meditation, increasing emotional resilience, exercise, but also massage therapy.

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is a type of treatment that relaxes the body via physical pressure techniques in such a way that it increases feelings of revival and healing. It is a manual technique performed typically at the hands of a therapist, though there are many different techniques they can use. Massage therapy was shown by Field et al. (2005) to reduce cortisol levels by 31% on average, as well as increasing serotonin and dopamine levels, which are related to feeling good, as well as general health and wellbeing. Those who receive massage therapy are more likely to have lower blood pressure and hypertension, as well as less anxiety, depression and hostility.

Types of Massage Therapy

However, studies do show that though massage therapy, in general, reduces your stress levels, actual reduction is dependent on the type of massage therapy received by the client. There is some evidence to suggest that trigger point therapy and deep tissue massage therapies can increase blood pressure, which can contribute to stress. However, Swedish massage therapy has been linked to significant reductions in blood pressure, which translates to higher relaxation and better stress management. Gentle to moderate massage therapy brings about a state of tranquillity, which reduces stress for most people, but intense and rigorous massage therapy, as well as stretches and movements in general, increase stimulation and physiological arousal.

However, there is unlikely to be a blanket rule, and therapists should work on a case by case basis. If the source of stress is a physical injury or chronic pain, deep tissue massages can be more helpful than Swedish massages, as they are simply more effective at dealing with chronic aches and pains. The same goes for those who may feel stressed by limited mobility, postural problems, or sports-related injuries, all of which can be helped by deep tissue massage. 

If your massage therapist only specializes in one specific massage therapy, be sure to ask for a second opinion to support the use of their massage style in your unique situation. It is always worth checking, as you may find that an alternative massage style could help you manage stress much more effectively. 

Massage Therapy at Our Accident Clinic in Miami

Massage therapy has proven to be highly effective for accident injury recovery. At Icon Medical Centers, we provide high-quality medical treatment, which may include chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, and massage therapy. Our massage therapists will guide you through your healing process while treating your car accident injuries.

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