How can massage help?
Massage therapy is an effective way of bringing the mind and body into a state of deep relaxation, with profound benefits for physical and mental health.
The magic of massage therapy begins with the benefit of receiving human touch. Beyond the purely physical benefits associated with increasing circulation and releasing constrictions in the muscles and connective tissue, as humans we benefit deeply from skin to skin contact. The skin is the largest sensory organ we have, and is full of receptors that are specifically sensitive to touch. This is why receiving massage from a person is so much more effective than using a massage chair or massage gun. When these touch receptors are active, they send signals of safety and comfort to the brain, initiating healing and restorative processes in the body. If you have ever wondered why your tummy rumbles on the massage table, it’s likely because of this parasympathetic nervous system activation. Your body is entering a state of “rest, digest and repair”.
Many people also find that in states of relaxation they enter into free association, similar to dreaming, which can help them make connections between thoughts, ideas and sensations they don’t usually have time to pay attention to. Massage can help to increase awareness of the mind-body connection, and help us learn deep appreciation for the bodies we have, despite the fact they don’t always work the way we want them to, or don’t look the way we would prefer. In this way, regular massage can also be a tool for introspection, self-understanding and self-care.