The feeling of a massage also produces feelgood hormones, called endogenous opioids, that inhibit painful messages from travelling to the brain. These ‘painkiller’ opioids are the same type of drugs as morphine, but they are made within our own bodies. Massage can also result in the release of serotonin, the same chemical that provides us with that good feeling after exercise and can significantly affect pain modulation. Pretty amazing, right?
The Benefits of Massage:
1. Posture gradually improves as the muscles around the spine become more flexible and less tense.
2. Circulation is encouraged, which is good for muscle recovery and healing
3. Massage encourages deeper breathing, helping oxygen circulate encouraging healing and growth
4. Joint flexibility is increased and tension relieved
5. A calm mind is encouraged by massage along with a completely relaxed body.
6. A massage is claimed to boast alertness and improve attention.
7. The cortisol that is decreased by massage is said to boast your lymph flow and immune cells (though I think the massage I had by the sneezing, sniffing masseuse in Bali probably didn’t have such a benefit to my immune system)
8. The decrease in cortisol and increase in serotonin and dopamine provided by the massage may also reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
When we consider why massage can make us feel so good and alleviate pain, it becomes clear that the role of the far-reaching nervous system is key. There’s science behind the magic in those healing hands.