How does Massage Increase Relaxation?
There are two parts to our nervous system: the sympathetic nervous system, which is associated with the "fight or flight" response, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which is associated with the "rest and digest" response. Once we sense a stressful situation, be it avoiding a car accident or spilling coffee first thing in the morning, the body kicks into fight or flight response. If we remain in this state, our bodies are unable to rest and digest on both physical and metaphysical levels.
Massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and the "rest, digest, restore" instinct, thereby allowing the body to relax.
How does Massage Contribute to a Better Pregnancy and Birth Experience?
According to a study conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, women receiving 20 minute sessions of back massage twice a week for five weeks experienced reduced anxiety, improved mood, better sleep and less back pain. The study also found that the women had decreased levels of stress hormones and fewer complications during labor. Additionally, their infants had less postnatal complications (e.g., less prematurity).
Can Massage Therapy Help My Premenstrual Symptons?
Massage therapy helps lymph flow and hormone balance. A Touch Research Institute study showed that massage sessions positively influenced anxiety, depressed mood and pain. In addition, the massage therapy group reported a reduction in menstrual discomforts including pain and water retention.