I am intrigued by the body-mind relationship towards stress – or shall I call it the mind-over-body relationship?
Stress is often created in our mind as a direct response to our thoughts and emotions about something. This impacts our behaviour and the decisions we make.
Eventually, stress manifests in our body.
Exploring the mental side of stress leads me to look into the works of hormones and chemicals in our body, which can be greatly influenced by massage.
Chronic stressors like anxiety and depression either elevate or reduce these important substances, hence why things get out of balance.
Studies show that a single massage session can already help reduce our heart rate, blood pressure and even lower cortisol and insulin levels.
For example, the stress-regulation hormone Cortisol is produced by the adrenal gland during times of long-term stress.
Under such circumstances Cortisol gets slowly and steadily elevated. This can eventually interfere with our body’s cholesterol and blood pressure, its immune function and it can impact on our memory and learning ability.
Serotonin is our ‘happy-chemical’, a neurotransmitter, which is most associated with depression.
Low Serotonin relates to us experiencing low mood and poor sleep.
Oxytocin regulates our feelings of being connected to others in our lives by giving us a sense of belonging.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain. It plays its role as a ‘feel-good’ chemical for our mental health. Lack of Dopamine affects our sleeping pattern and creates lack of interest in our life, decreased motivation and fatigue.
From a mental health aspect:
Regular massage can have a profound effect by interacting with these chemicals, which are distributed through our body, because it has the ability to change them in our brain.
And by doing so, it supports to balance them from over-reacting or under-functioning; helping to re-instate physical harmony and health.
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The Total Health Team