First my apologies, I haven't updated everyone in a while. However, many of you know that currently I am enrolled in Massage Therapy School. Yes, I am still teaching Yoga and now I have expanded my business to include Thai Yoga Massage. So in a couple of months, I will add in more massage therapies (Swedish, Deep Tissue & Myofascial Release), all tools to help people find relaxation.
Now for the update....
Going back to school was not only the best decision of my life, but it also helped me reduce my stress levels. How? Wait! Aren't you in school full-time, raising teenagers and working? The answer is yes. But one thing made all this much easier to handle: Massages.
I've been receiving some sort of massage every week, sometimes several times a week, since August when I started up in school. The times vary, and so do the modalities, sometimes it's a 20 minute Swedish or 30 minute Myofascial Release or 45 minute Deep Tissue. While in school, we not only practice giving but we are also the clients for our classmates.
Receiving a massage feels wonderful, I can attest to that, but I've noticed something else. Honestly, there's been a big shift in how I feel even far after the massage is over. In fact, people in my life have noticed a difference in me and said something. They say I look happier and more content. And I will have to agree with them. Not only for the fact that I fell in LOVE with learning these techniques and how I can help people, but how receiving massage therapy has affected me both physically and mentally.
How does it work though? Massage induces your parasympathetic nervous to take over, which allows you and your body to slow down for repair processing like rest and digest. When your sympathetic nervous system is active, like in times of stress, high levels of cortisol is released which can lead to inflammation. From there, if your stress levels are always high, this inflammation can lead to illness. Receiving massages, even monthly, allows one to get off the merry-go-round of stress.
Here's an excerpt from an article from Institute for Integrative Healthcare that explains what happens and how massage helps.
HOW MASSAGE THERAPY REDUCES STRESS
Bunker, et.al. (2003) defines “stress” as depression, anxiety, panic disorder, acute and chronic life events, type A personality traits and hostility. One study, in particular, shows us that increased social isolation is especially stressful and leads to especially high levels of cortisol (Dickerson, et.al., 2004). These emotions may be the result of actual events in our lives or they may be only perceived by us, but they bring about the production of cortisol in the body, causing overall inflammation. We learn from Field, et.al. (2005) that cortisol is the hormone marker for stress, as it is an end product of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-cortical axis. Therefore, high levels of cortisol are the body’s tell for high levels of stress.
The Negative Effects of Too Much Cortisol
High cortisol levels in the body lead to weight gain in the midsection along with a variety of other metabolic changes which lower the immune system and stress the cardiovascular system, putting a low level but constant stress on the body over long periods of time. When stress is short term, we recover physically and move on with our lives, but when stress is long-term, it begins to take its toll on our bodies. The constant high levels of cortisol in the body causes inflammation, which eventually affects the heart and blood vessels bringing on high blood pressure, hypertension and, eventually, heart disease.....
Field, et.al. (2005) demonstrates that massage therapy is shown to reduce cortisol levels by an average of 31%, increase serotonin levels 28% and dopamine levels 21% on average. Similarly, Hernandez-Reif, et.al. (2000) explain that diastolic blood pressure and hypertension decreased after massage and that there was less reported anxiety, depression, and hostility...
There are countless studies done on the effects of massage, but I am living proof that massage works. I am so honored to be a part of a field that has so many benefits to people. Even after I graduate, I will continue to receive massages because as we all know, life and stress go hand and hand. So if you or anyone you know is suffering from stress, please share this and book an appointment with a massage therapist in your area and get off that merry-go-round.