According to John Upledger, professor and clinical researcher at Michigan State University: “Imbalances often occur when we resist an emotion and its natural path through the body. Resistance can cause an emotion to lock into body tissue, eventually leading to physical ailments.” We seem to store emotions not only in our minds, but also in our muscles. As emotions are designed to move through your body, problems can arise when this is prevented (1). Massage therapy can help us release our emotions through physical touch. This explains why some people may cry or have an emotional response when receiving a massage.
Massage therapy can also help lower stress, anxiety, and depression. It promotes the production of endorphins like dopamine and serotonin (feel good hormones) and reduce cortisol (stress hormone). In one research, the stress hormone cortisol reduced at least 53% after a massage. According to some specialists at University of Maryland Medical Center, massage therapy can alleviate feelings of depression in individuals who have a chronic illness like fibromyalgia and cancer (2).
There are many other benefits to massage therapy, and it can be a great complement on treating a variety of health conditions. Talk with your doctor and massage therapist beforehand to discuss what type of massage therapy is right for you to achieve maximum health benefits!
May you enjoy abundant health,
Rick Christman, MPH