Your Brain’s Response to a Massage
Massage is not just for pleasure but can be and beneficial for your overall health as well. It is widely accepted that a skilled massage can improve the body’s physical state. Beyond that, very few consider massage therapy as a viable treatment for anything other than the occasional body ache.
Nothing is further from the truth.
In the past, massage has not been seriously considered as a stand alone method of therapy. This idea is accepted by many physicians, which promotes the fallacy that it is not a credible method of treatment. It is necessary for massage to gain medical legitimacy in order to disprove its “for pleasure only” reputation. This can be achieved through evidence-based practice about how massage therapy influences the autonomic nervous system (ANS).
Well, what is the ANS? This system is made up of the parasympathetic (heal/rest/calm) and the sympathetic (fight/flight/stress) branches. The parasympathetic system slows the body down and allows for rest and digestion. The sympathetic system reveals itself with an increased heart rate and breathing.
Our nervous system is what helps us understand how well the body adapts to internal and external stressors, steadily trying to maintain a healthy relationship between the two branches.
This is where massage therapy comes in. Massage stimulates the central nervous system via the peripheral nerves of the skin and helps to maintain a healthy relationship between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. When one is out of balance, a massage can help to make the necessary adjustments so that balance is restored. Once balance is obtained the body is able to rest normally.
In a time when an increasing amount of people are looking for more holistic means of health care, massage must be considered as a healthy alternative. For an overall mind, body and soul remedy, consider getting a massage. Your nervous system will thank you for it!