Massage and Well-being - a Major Benefit of Treatment
So what is well-being and how does massage effect it? Here we look at some scientific papers that tell us massage increases hormone production. This in turn does make you feel better. One of the major benefits of having a massage is the overall feeling of well-being you can get after the treatment. This article looks at what a feeling of well-being is. Then we look at how massage can help you improve on this, especially with it aiding the release of wonderful “feel-good happiness hormones”.
Well-Being Definition - What is Your Well-Being?
Well-being can be defined as a feeling that you are comfortable, you are feeling healthy and/or you are happy, according to Oxford dictionary online. However there is much more to it than you might imagine. It is not just how you feel but, also how you function on physical, personal and social level.
Benefits on the Physical Level
On the physical level, massage should always make you feel comfortable. After 1 hour of lying on a comfortable massage table and having a professional therapist caress your skin and manipulate your muscles, you are bound to be comfortable. Also with clean towels covering you are bound to feel warm and comfortable.
In fact, some people are so comfortable and relaxed, they end up falling asleep on the massage table. There have been a number of times I have had to ring a small bell at the end of a treatment to wake my client. It is also a pleasant, gentle method of telling a client his or her treatment has finished. So this goes to prove on a physical level, massage will improve your well-being.
Again on a physical level, massage will help you to relieve stress. When people arrive for a treatment they can be quite highly stressed. Certainly when you have your first treatment from a new masseur, you are likely to be slightly apprehensive. This will mean your muscles will be tighter than normal because adrenaline is being produced as a response to your stress level.
After the treatment, you will be much more relaxed. The soothing touch of slow effleurage strokes is very calming. It will lower your blood pressure slightly and will turn off the adrenalin you have been producing.
Massage will also increase your circulation. The friction of hands on skin generates heat. This in turn makes blood rise to the surface of the skin. So the physical side of well-being can be seen to be enhanced.
Psychological Benefits of Massage Treatment - Feeling Happier
On a psychological and personal level, massage should help you to feel happier. As an insight into how this happens lets look at what stimulates happiness in a human. There are 4 main hormones that are commonly linked to happiness. These are dophamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins.
There is contentment, a pleasurable sensation that comes with being pampered by a professional. That will release dopamine from the adrenal glands, which Dr Mandal (2017) tells us is a pleasurable reward the endocrine system produces. This registers in the brain and tells us “massage is nice, it feels good, please keep on doing that”.
Massage Benefits You in Building Social Bonds
Other studies by University of California San Diego Medical Center have shown massage increases oxytocin. Oxytocin is another hormone but, this one aids social bonding. The release of this is corroborated by clients expressing feelings of a bond between them and the masseur has been enhanced.
So, social bonding may be increased by massage, making us function on a personal and social level better with others. This social bonding is actually part of the heritage of massage. Families practiced Indian head massage. Mothers would massage their children enhancing the bond between them.
Hormone Production Makes You feel Good
Serotonin is popularly regarded as the happiness hormone. It is said to have positive effects on our mood. If we take this premise as true, then massage will help us feel better and even suffer from less anxiety. Korb Ph.D. (2011) states that a number of studies demonstrate massage boosts serotonin levels. Pregnant, depressed mothers given massage 2 times a week had serotonin level increases.
Endorphin production increases during massage. This is a great benefit to our well-being. These hormones are produced by the pituitary gland and central nervous system. They are part of the human bodies method of managing pain. In fact Dilek A. PhD et al (2017) goes further telling us massaging patients reduces pain, decreases stiffness and improved knee function. So after a massage the feeling of be high on life, with less pain and better body function should take place.
In conclusion massage is a great way to make yourself feel good. All 4 of the well know happiness hormones are released during a massage. The affect of these can last some time after your treatment. It will not last forever though. Regular massage treatment is a good way to keep that feeling of well-being within you.
Dr Mandal A. MD, (2017) Dopamine Functions [Online] Available at https://www.news-medical.net/health/Dopamine-Functions.aspx Accessed 07 08 2016
Morhenn V et al (2012) Massage increases oxytocin and reduces adrenocorticotropin hormone in humans. [Online] Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23251939 Accessed 08 08 2016
Korb A. Ph.D. (2011) Boosting Your Serotonin Activity [Online] Available at https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/prefrontal-nudity/201111/boosting-your-serotonin-activity Accessed 08 08 2016
Dilek A. PhD et al (2017) The Effect of Aromatherapy Massage on Knee Pain and Functional Status in Participants with Osteoarthriti [Online] Available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1524904216302284 Accessed 09 08 2018