Massage can relieve many of the mental and physical problems caused by chronic stress. Massage relaxes tight muscles and improves circulation, thus improving immune system function. A massage provides a time dedicated to relaxation, which can reduce anxiety. It also causes the body to release endorphins, nature’s pain reliever.
But perhaps most importantly, massage triggers the relaxation response, which is the flip-side of the stress response. Where the stress response readies the body for action, the relaxation response returns the body to normal, calm functioning. Your heart rate slows, your breath slows and deepens, muscles relax, and internal organ circulation and digestion improves.
- Make sure the room is warm with low lighting, and that you feel comfortable.
- Tell me that relaxation is your goal.
- Make sure your cell phone is off.
- Tell me about specific areas where you feel tightness or tension.
- Minimize talking.
- Give yourself permission to relax and let go.