The Benefits of Massage Therapy
Generally we are living in a chronically stressed world. As parents of children with ADHD, or any special needs, or indeed as adults with ADHD, we suffer more stress than the average parent. This means we need to practice self-care and make sure that our health is optimal in order to be resilient and to allow ourselves to be the best parents we can be.
That’s where massage therapy can be so beneficial. Stress relief is one of the first benefits that come to mind when thinking of massage therapy but it provides so much more than merely feeling good whilst you’re on the massage table.
Research has shown that massage can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, relax your muscles and increase the production of endorphins – your body’s natural “feel good” chemical. In fact, massage triggers a host of brain chemistry responses, for example, serotonin and dopamine are released through massage and the result is a feeling of calm relaxation, lowered stress and improved mood that makes chronic or habitual, as well as acute or short-term stress, much easier to overcome.
When we constantly face stressful situations at home or at work, the body produces an unhealthy build-up of the “stress hormone” cortisol, which can lead to sleeplessness, headaches and even digestive problems.
Massage is a key component for anyone trying to avoid stress-related health issues. Clinical studies found that volunteers who received a 45-minute Swedish massage experienced significant decreases in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as arginine vasopressin – a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. Volunteers also had increases in the number of lymphocytes – white blood cells that are part of the immune system, and a boost in the immune cells that may help fight colds, flu and other diseases.
Lowering your heart rate, cortisol levels and insulin levels allows the body to enter a relaxing rest-and-recovery mode – an effect that lingers long after the massage is over.
Swedish massage technique relaxes the entire body by rubbing the muscles with long gliding strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart. Swedish massage goes beyond mere relaxation however – it is exceptionally beneficial for increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, decreasing muscle toxins, improving circulation and flexibility while easing tension.
In addition to encouraging relaxation, ongoing massage therapy can reduce pain, increase energy levels and improve overall physical and mental performance.
In fact a 2011 study found that massage helped people in pain feel and function better compared to those who didn’t get massage treatment. They found that the benefits of massage were about as strong as those reported for other effective treatments, including medications!
Benefits of Improved Relaxation
Improves mental outlook
Allows for better handling of pressure
Reinforces positive attitude
Promotes relaxed states of mental alertness
Enhances calm and creative thinking
So don’t think of a massage as a luxury, but as an essential part of your healthcare!