The Benefits of Massage Therapy

A Massage Therapist is a health care professional who provides therapeutic massage. The therapist uses hands, arms and even the feet to manipulate soft tissues like muscles.

Massage Therapy

Massage is thought to increase the parasympathetic nervous system, which decreases feelings of stress and anxiety. It also may increase the production of serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters that stabilize moods. Visit to learn more.

When people think of massage therapy they typically associate it with relaxation and stress relief. However, this is only one of many ways massage can be beneficial. It can also help reduce anxiety, improve sleep and boost the immune system. Massage therapy is a hands-on technique that involves manipulation of the muscles and soft tissues, using the hands (including fingers, palms, forearms and elbows) to improve blood flow and decrease tension and pain. It is used for a wide variety of conditions and is often covered by health insurance plans.

Research indicates that massage lowers stress levels by stimulating the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. This decreases the activation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the production of stress hormones, including cortisol, which increases heart rate and mobilizes fuel stores in preparation for fight or flight situations. Massage is believed to cause a reduction in cortisol levels, resulting in lowered stress and an overall feeling of well being.

A massage is a great way to relieve stress, because it stimulates the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural feel good chemicals. It also helps with anxiety, because it lowers heart rate and blood pressure and increases serotonin, which calms the body and mind.

Anxiety can be caused by chronic or habitual stress, work-related anxiety and even the anticipation of an invasive medical procedure. Studies have shown that massage reduces feelings of anxiety and depression, improves mood and self-esteem, and lowers the heart rate and blood pressure that are triggered by stress.

A Massage Therapist is a person who has completed a degree or diploma program from a Massage & Bodywork licensure program, or the equivalent amount of education and training, including an internship. He or she is certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, and must pass a background check and obtain CPR certification before working on clients. A Massage Therapist should seek out continuing education courses to remain up-to-date with the latest techniques and research. He or she should also network, attend industry events and create a website to promote his or her services.

Decreases Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of unease and nervousness triggered by our body’s fight-or-flight response. While it’s natural and integral to our survival, chronic stress can trigger this response, causing symptoms such as high heart rate and blood pressure, muscle tension, and increased alertness — even when we’re “resting.” Regular massage lowers these levels, helping you relax, reduce anxiety, and decrease the symptoms associated with chronic stress.

Consistent anecdotal evidence and positive results from open trials support the view that regular massage therapy significantly reduces the severity of chronic moderate anxiety in general, as well as reducing specific types of anxiety such as test-taking anxiety or anticipating invasive medical procedures.

During a massage, your brain’s pregenual anterior cingulate cortex—which is involved in feelings of happiness and calmness—is activated. In addition, during a massage your body releases the feel-good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which are known to boost mood and increase motivation and sense of self-worth.

The stress hormone cortisol is also decreased during massage. Cortisol is a main cause of stress and anxiety, and when it is lowered our bodies’ fight-or-flight response is naturally slowed down.

A recent randomized clinical trial tested whether chair massage was an effective treatment for managing state and trait anxiety in patients with psychoactive drug withdrawal. The study randomly assigned participants to receive 10 sessions of either massage or guided relaxation. The participants’ anxiety was measured with the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory at various times throughout the course of the experiment.

The results demonstrated that the patients who received massage had significantly reduced VAS and STAI scores compared to the guided relaxation group. These results show that massage can be an effective tool to help patients manage anxiety in a hospital setting during the withdrawal process. In addition, patients in the massage group reported higher levels of calm and satisfaction with their care compared to those in the guided relaxation group. The study was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. [1]

Increases Endorphins

The manipulations of the muscles and tissues by your Massage Therapist prompts the release of the brain chemicals known as endorphins. These neurotransmitters are natural pain relievers and mood enhancers. They also help to decrease cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone.

When a person has high cortisol, it causes the body to over-respond to situations and cause stress and anxiety. When cortisol is decreased it can encourage the healing process after injury or illness and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Studies show that the endorphins produced during massage also help to increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep, digestion, learning and more. Low serotonin is associated with anxiety and depression. During massage, the mechanical pressure and movements prompt the brain to produce serotonin and increase the availability of the precursor needed to make it (tryptophan). Massage has been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate which is also helpful in decreasing cortisol.

Another important physiological effect of massage is that it increases the positive hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine. Epinephrine is a hormone that reflects the sympathetic nervous system activity, whereas norepinephrine is produced by the adrenal medulla and reflects sympathoneuronal activity. Increased levels of these hormones can contribute to higher levels of stress and anxiety, as well as decreased tissue elasticity.

Many people see massage as a way to pamper themselves, and while it certainly is an enjoyable experience, it also provides significant health benefits. Massage has been found to be a beneficial treatment for many common health conditions. Aside from being a great stress reliever, it also helps to decrease the occurrence of depression and anxiety and improves sleep quality. It is important to seek out regular massage sessions, ideally on a weekly basis for the best results. Your Massage Therapist will be able to help you come up with a regular schedule that will work for your individual needs. By making massage a part of your healthy lifestyle, you will reap the benefits long after your session is over. You may even start to look forward to your sessions!

Decreases Pain

Pain is a feeling that occurs when receptors within the skin detect something wrong and send signals to the brain which creates an experience of discomfort. A massage stimulates the autonomic nervous system and increases blood flow which encourages an increase in the production of feel good hormones such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine that decrease feelings of anxiety and depression and replace them with feelings of happiness and relaxation.

The pain reduction is due to an increase in movement around damaged muscle tissue that allows the muscles to stretch their full length and reduces tightness. A decrease in muscle tightness is also a result of the rise in temperature within the muscle tissue that enables the tissue to loosen and relax. A massage is a form of soft tissue therapy that helps to break up the buildup of toxins within the body. The toxins are removed by the lymphatic system which is made up of tiny lymph vessels that transport lymph fluid around the body to glands and nodes to be disposed of. During a massage, friction between the skin and the fingers encourages an increase in lymph flow which helps to eliminate toxins.

One study looked at the effectiveness of massage for reducing pain and found that it was significantly better than sham (fake) treatment and no treatment. The research also showed that massage was effective in treating a wide range of medical conditions including anxiety, back pain, neck pain and migraines.

Hospital inpatients from a medical, surgical and obstetrics unit participated in the research by completing a visual analog scale before and after massage therapy. Participants received 1 or more sessions of massage that lasted 30 minutes each. The patients were only included if their energy levels and health conditions allowed them to participate in the study. Many patients that were suffering from cancer or heart disease were unable to participate in the study and may have found that massage was less effective in reducing their pain, revealing the need for fully integrated pain management services within hospitals in which massage is a part of this approach.


How a Hot Stone Massage Can Boost Your Immune System

Your massage therapist will use stones heated in water to ensure they are at the perfect temperature. They will always double-check the stone to make sure it’s comfortable for you before placing it on your back. The hot stones are used to improve your circulation, alleviating muscle pain. The treatment can also combat mental stress and tension. To learn more, visit this website at

Relieves Stress


Massage is a great way to relieve stress; a hot stone massage can be even more relaxing. The warm stones and the therapist’s gentle touch can soothe tension and release the body’s built-up energy, leaving you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. But there’s another reason to get a massage: research shows that it boosts your immune system.

Scientists aren’t sure why, but they think that it may have something to do with the human touch. Touch is a very important sense for many people, and a hot stone massage feels like a hug in a safe place. This combination can have a powerful effect, and regular massages can help you manage stress long after the session is over.

During a hot stone massage, the therapist will use a mix of their hands and the stones to work on your muscles. They’ll move the stones around to distribute heat and promote muscle relaxation alongside gentle pressure and deeper kneading. They’ll also change the temperature of the stones depending on your tolerance level and which parts of your body are being worked on. For example, your arms and legs are likely more sensitive than your back, so they might need cooler stones.

The therapist might also use different sized stones to target specific areas of the body, like your neck or back. They’ll use the smaller stones to target tight muscles and soft tissue, while the larger stones can be used for bigger muscle groups. They might also place the stones on key points of the body, known as meridians, to help release any stagnant energy.

After your massage, it’s a good idea to avoid any strenuous activity for 24 hours, as the body will be flushing out toxins from the muscles. It’s also a good idea to drink plenty of water after your massage to help aid in the process. If you’re having a hot stone massage, the therapist might hand you a glass or bottle of water after the treatment. Be sure to take this advice seriously and continue to hydrate throughout the day, as this will help you feel even more energized and refreshed the next day.

Relaxes Muscles

Adding heat to any massage therapy treatment can make your muscles more flexible and looser. A hot stone massage involves your therapist placing smooth, heated stones on specific points of tension in your body. The stones are typically black flat river or volcanic rocks that hold heat well, and they’re warmed up to between 110 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit, which is just warm enough to soothe your muscles without burning your skin.

When your therapist puts the stones on your body, you may feel a slight tingling sensation. This is because the stones are warm, but not hot—your therapist uses a stone heater that keeps the temperatures in this range, which allows them to provide warmth without discomfort or burning. The stones will sit along your back, on your chest, on your feet, and even in your palms.

This added warmth relaxes the muscles and other soft tissue in your body, making it easier for your therapist to work on tight and sore muscles. The stones may be used to gently massage your shoulders, arms, back, and legs. If you have a sore neck, your therapist might place one of the stones on your head, which will gently knead your scalp and neck to help ease the pain.

Any person who suffers from muscle tightness, aches or pains can benefit from this type of massage. From the stress of everyday life to chronic conditions like fibromyalgia and arthritis, massage therapy can relax tense muscles and relieve pain. When your muscles are relaxed, it’s easier to move your joints through their full range of motion.

Heat has the additional benefit of increasing blood flow to your muscles and other soft tissues. This can help reduce lactic acid buildup in the muscles, which is what causes them to be sore. This is why many people with aching, sore muscles benefit from regular massages. Heat also helps your muscles to elongate, which can reduce the stiffness and pain associated with certain health conditions like fibromyalgia or arthritis. A hot stone massage will help to relax the muscles, increase flexibility, and relieve pain, all of which can boost your overall quality of life.

Improves Circulation

Whether you have problems with muscle tension or poor circulation, hot stone massage can help. During a session, your masseuse places warm stones on various trigger points throughout your body (those tight or knotted muscles that are often painful). The heat from the stone penetrates deep into the muscle to open up your blood vessels. This increases your circulation, which in turn relieves pain and soreness.

The warm stones also relax your muscles, allowing the massage therapist to work on them without applying too much pressure. The therapist uses a variety of massage techniques in addition to the hot stones, including kneading, circular movements, long strokes, tapping and vibration. While you may experience some redness after the treatment, this is a normal reaction to the heat.

Aside from reducing pain and relaxing your muscles, a hot stone massage can boost your immune system. When the hot stones are placed on specific parts of your body, they can stimulate your lymphatic system and increase the number of white blood cells, both of which boost your immunity. A study found that people with autoimmune conditions and inflammatory diseases, like fibromyalgia, can benefit from this type of therapy.

Regular massage can also improve your sleep and mood. While it may not eliminate insomnia, it can ease symptoms of depression and anxiety by decreasing levels of stress hormones, cortisol and norepinephrine. It can also decrease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, such as abdominal cramping and diarrhea. And it can even help prevent headaches by releasing the stress-reducing amino acid serotonin.

Massage is safe for most adults, but it’s important to communicate with your massage therapist about any health concerns you have. Avoid consuming caffeine or alcohol before your massage, and be sure to let the therapist know if you have a condition that could be exacerbated by heat (such as lupus), high blood pressure or heart disease. It’s also not recommended for pregnant women as it can cause blood clots.

Anyone can benefit from massage therapy, but it’s particularly beneficial for those who have trouble sleeping, suffer from fibromyalgia or autoimmune disorders, or who are recovering from injury or surgery. Aside from being incredibly relaxing, it’s been proven to reduce stress and anxiety and boost the immune system.

Relieves Pain

The heat of the stones helps to relax tight muscles, allowing your massage therapist to work more deeply into the problem areas. This also allows your body to release more feel-good hormones to combat stress, leaving you with a feeling of total well being and relaxation.

You can expect a hot stone massage to last between 60 and 90 minutes. Many times this will be paired with another massage type such as Swedish or deep tissue, which is used to further penetrate and loosen the muscle.

It’s important to communicate with your massage therapist about any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing during the session, as they are there to help make sure you have a relaxing experience. It is normal to experience some redness in the area where the stones have been placed on your skin, which is a result of the warm blood vessels opening and increasing circulation. This should fade quickly.

The use of hot stones is beneficial in the treatment of backaches, arthritis and fibromyalgia, as well as chronic neck or shoulder tension. This is because the warmth of the stones eases stiff muscles and promotes circulation, which relieves tension in the muscles and softens knots.

A hot stone massage can also help reduce pain and inflammation caused by chronic injuries like carpal tunnel or tendinitis. The heat from the stones dilates the blood vessels, which increases circulation, and that combined with a massage can greatly reduce the symptoms of these conditions.

Some massage therapists use the warm stones to perform a technique called lymphatic drainage, which is a form of deep tissue massage that uses pressure to increase the flow of your lymph fluid. This process is known to help your body flush toxins, bacteria and other wastes out of your system.

If you are interested in getting a hot stone massage, it is important to book an appointment and arrive at your session 10-15 minutes early to complete the necessary paperwork. Be sure to communicate any health concerns with your massage therapist and tell them if you have a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, varicose veins or if you are taking medication that thins your blood.