Sleep is one of the most important aspects of a healthy life. Sleep is involved with the healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. According to health experts, inadequate sleep is linked to kidney disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, increased risk of heart disease, and many more. Insomnia is a sleep disorder where you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. There are several reasons for this disorder which led many doctors and other health practitioners to look for treatment or remedy.
Numerous studies have found that massage is a great help in improving sleep. This is not a surprise at all since baby massage is one of the first techniques used to help infants sleep. It only shows that massage can be used at any stage in your life. You might be astonished to discover what a little time spent on a massage table can do wonders for your sleeping habit.
Let us look at the two main benefits that can be derived from a simple massage:
It helps you to relax.
In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, you might find yourself wide awake at night totally exhausted physically and mentally but still unable to relax because of too much worrying. So much pressure on your professional and personal life. This may be financial problems, a failed relationship, or other stressful issues that keep you from falling asleep or staying asleep. A massage may be the solution for a sounder sleep. It was found out that regular massage sessions can decrease depression and anxiety levels thus improving sleep quality. This must be because massage triggers the release of serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that can help you feel calm. The technique is suitable for all regardless of age.
It reduces or alleviates pain
Not only a good body rubdown reduces stress levels, but it also helps to ease the pain. Many people suffering from low back pain who had at least 30 to 45 minutes of massage sessions twice a week were reported to have experienced a reduction of pain which resulted in fewer sleep disturbances. With the easing of pain, there is more time for deep restorative sleep. Studies have shown that many physiological effects happen during a massage for chronic pain, the most common of all is an increased temperature, removal of waste products, and increased endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine which ultimately results in the reduction of pain. When the body is pressed the right way, two things can happen: messages of pain can be blocked before it reaches the brain and other messages can be sent to the brain telling it to release endorphins, these are peptides that activate the body’s opiate receptors causing an analgesic effect. When these chemicals are released, it reduces pain, and a sense of well-being is felt.
Some types of massage therapy
- Swedish massage – this is probably the most well-known form of massage. It involves soft, long kneading strokes and light, rhythmic tapping strokes on the topmost layers of the muscles. It also includes movement of the joints.
- Sports massage -this is specifically tailored to different sports and sports injuries. It works by stretching tight muscles, stimulating inactive muscles, and improving the condition of the soft tissue.
- Reflexology massage- this involves applying different amounts of pressure to the feet, hands, and ears based on the theory that these body parts are connected to certain organs and body parts.
- Hot stone massage- smooth, flat, heated stones are placed on specific parts of the body for the purpose of helping you relax and ease tense muscles and damaged soft tissues throughout your body.
- Deep tissue massage- the massage therapist uses slow strokes that focus pressure on layers of muscles, tendons, or other tissues deep under your skin. It is best for painful and stiff spots in your body.
- Trigger point massage- it focuses on releasing trigger points which are small, tight knots that develop in muscles that may even cause pain in other areas of the body. This is usually called referral pain.
- Aromatherapy massage – is a Swedish massage using oil or lotion that contains essential oils, you inhale these essential oil molecules or absorb them through your skin.
There are times when professional massage sessions are not available, so there are two alternatives that you can do. First, is to use massage chairs or pillows, a good massage chair helps you relax your muscles by stimulating the blood flow to the areas of your back. This is really helpful if you have muscle spasms where the heat coming from the chair will warm up that area. The disadvantage of a massage chair though is, it is beneficial for a limited period of time, usually about fifteen minutes only. When you go beyond fifteen minutes it can worsen any existing pain or injuries and might even cause new injuries. Some massage chairs are also expensive, so it is better if you try it for a few sessions before buying for your personal use. Massage pillows may help you maintain circulation in soft tissue in between your professional massage sessions or just use it to improve your mood or relax at least one to three times a week. You gain the maximum benefit if your session does not exceed fifteen minutes.
The second and better alternative is to look for a partner as a massage therapist. You can massage each other for about ten to twenty minutes each. Since both of you are not professionals, keep it simple and avoid any complicated moves since you might injure each other. Lie on your side or stomach and your massage partner will just make slow, circular motions with his or her fingertips starting at the base of your spine and working up. This will make you feel relax after a few minutes.
Chronic insomnia causes fatigue and problems with concentration. The detrimental effect on a person’s mood and well-being is high so that healthcare providers are aiding patients to overcome insomnia. According to Dr. Ralph Pascualy, a medical director of the Swedish Sleep Medicine Institute (SSMI) in Seattle, USA, the quantity and quality of sleep of a person will directly affect his health. This was continuously proven over a period of time.
Studies by the Mayo Clinic found that massage is beneficial for insomnia-related stress as well as several health issues like digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, anxiety, myofascial pain syndrome, paresthesias and nerve pain, migraine, and many more. Furthermore, the National Institute of Health has advised that massage therapy can reduce fatigue and improve sleep. This advisory was based on the research gathered by the American Massage Therapy Association.
Using massage to help people overcome insomnia is a smart, healthy, and most of all drug-free alternative. Existing studies are sufficient to recommend that massage is highly beneficial to people suffering from insomnia. Let us give our body a big favor by avoiding sleeping pills and pain killers. As shown by a big number of healthcare professionals who recognize the advantages of taking different approaches in identifying the cause or source of illnesses instead of just treating the symptoms. Again, let us search for alternative forms of medicine and include massage therapy for treating the person and coming up with better end results.
With all of that said, go and book an appointment with a spa that you trust and who you think will help you with your insomnia problem. A great massage will not only relieve your stress and anxiety but will also help you fall asleep soundly, at last.