Stress is a natural physical and mental response to life situations. Stress can be healthy, and everyone will experience stress during periods. For example, stressful scenario’s maybe life responsibilities such as; work and family commitments or serious life events. In short term situations, stress may be beneficial as it helps you deal with potentially dangerous scenario’s. However, over the longer term, if your stress response is continuously active beyond what’s required for those short term scenarios, it may be harmful. Chronic stress may cause a variety of symptoms such as;

  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • depression
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • social isolation
  • fear

Central Nervous System

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis and sympathetic adrenomedullary (SAM) systems are considered to be significant players in your stress response and its regulation. These systems play a major role in energy metabolism and the redistribution of oxygen and nutrients to active organs (Koolhaas et al. 2011). In basic terms, your central nervous system is responsible for your “fight or flight” response, and the previous systems drive those response reactions. Hormones are produced that elevate your heart rate, decrease blood flow to organs shuttling it instead to muscles ready to fight or flight. When the perceived threat is gone, your central nervous system should tell those systems to return to homeostasis. If those fight or flight systems aren’t returned to normal, or if the stressor doesn’t go away, the response continues. Long term impacts can impact:

  • digestion
  • breathing rate
  • elevated pulse
  • elevated blood pressure
  • muscular pains
  • headaches
  • weaken your immune system

Krohn et al. (2011) showed that massage therapy was an efficient treatment for patients with depression, anxiety and pain. Suzuki et al. (2010) demonstrated that massage therapy was able to lower aggression levels and stress markers in patients. Massage therapy is an active moderator of inflammation and a powerful tool to recover from exercise (Kargarfard et al. 2016).

In a snapshot, how does remedial massage help stress?

  • Decrease pain
  • Improve range of motion
  • Mobilise joints
  • Lessen depression & anxiety 
  • Promote tissue healing and recovery
  • Clear metabolic waste from muscles
  • Improve recovery
  • Reduce muscle spasms and cramps
  • Relax the central nervous system
  • Enhance immunity by improving lymphatic flow
  • Take an hour out of your stressful day and do nothing but relax and focus on yourself