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Why Massage Induces Sleep

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Why Massage Induces Sleep

It is a well-known fact the massage helps us feel very relaxed, but what type of massage are we talking about and why is this the case?

Massage is a holistic treatment, so it is more than just releasing tension in the muscles and oiling up the skin. It is about a chain reaction within the body from the moment the therapist places their hands on you. It even starts sooner with the anticipation of having a massage and how it will make us feel. The ambience of the therapy room with low lighting, a warm nurturing environment and the aromatherapy scents – all are staged with the purpose to relax and make you feel incredibly comfortable.

Then still before the massage begins, there is the therapist’s ritual – the deep breaths, the grounding, the connection, the opening up to allow healing energies to flow. From the moment that her hands touch your skin, you sink into the massage couch and allow yourself the pleasures of release. 

Then the next stage in the chain reaction is a little more scientific. The act of massage stimulates the nerves, which in turn allow the glands, which are in the skin, to release white blood cells into the circulation, thus improving the immune system. The white blood cells protect against different types of infection and heal and repair different tissue organs. During medical trials to understand the effects of massage on the body in combating depression, it was recorded that after a massage, the white blood cell count is improved by a staggering 70%.* 

The increase in blood and lymphatic flow re-oxygenates and brings nutrients to the parts being massaged and takes away waste products, helping to restore the stiffness in muscles and general aches and pains, often the discomfort that keeps us awake at night. Symptoms of twitchy legs, cramp, a painful back, a stiff neck or maybe a headache are all reasons for tossing and turning.

Massage triggers the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can help you feel calm. With the encouragement of deep breathing your body knows it is healing, you can release the stress, anxiety and worry that you have been holding on to, whether that’s due to pain or other worries in your life. 

There are many different types of massage out there and while all have physiological health benefits, only Aromatherapy Massage has all the benefits to treat the whole person by helping restore the harmony of mind, body and soul by using blends from aromatherapy oils. Aromatherapy stimulates smell receptors in the nose, which then send messages via the nervous system to the limbic system — the part of the brain that controls emotions. By calming your emotions, you are calming your inner self – another way to abandon tension and feel at peace.

Given that difficulty in sleeping is often due to pain, discomfort or worry, and that massage reduces these symptoms, it isn’t a secret to know that thousands of people daily throughout the world seek massage as an alternative therapy.

It is no wonder that on a holistic level, and after a meditative and therapeutic massage, the body has allowed itself to heal, the mind rested, you are bound to have the deep and relaxing nights sleep you deserve!

Written by Donna Thomson, Massage Therapist at Beauty Revived, Henley-on-Thames.

*The source is taken from BBC Trust Me I’m a Doctor, October 2018

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