Thursday, 18 February 2016

Can Massage Help You Sleep Better?

Body massage comes with many benefits, it is highly used in rehabilitation centers and sport clinics to soothe sores or loosen aching muscles. Massage further helps to improve blood circulation, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate and even strengthen the body’s immune system. With all these beneficial factors can massage help you sleep better? The answer is yes, these relaxing effects all make massage an important aid in restoring and ensuring a restful sleep. Massage will be beneficial in treating sleeping problems that results from stress, muscle stiffness, joint stiffness and migraine headache pains.

Due to the relaxing benefits of massage, massage has for a long time been used to help babies get sound sleep. Massage is today used to treat sleeping disorders among adults. Since sleep is important for good health, massage plays a crucial role in restoring the body’s health by promoting normal metabolism and recovery from illness. Massage can be used to improve sleep in the following ways.

Improved relaxation 
Getting regular massage mainly helps to improve the body’s overall relaxation. This is by calming the body hence reduces anxiety and improve sleeping problems. Studies have also been shown that with massage, the brain increases production of endorphins. This is a chemical produces by the brain and is used to dull pain, reduce anxiety or panic and to relax muscles. Massage therapy can further trigger serotonin that generates a relaxed and calm feeling. With relaxed feeling, stress is alleviated and a peaceful night sleep results.

Reduce fatigue 
Massage therapy has been found to reduce fatigue and in the long run improve sleep. Based on research, massage reduces fatigue among children, infants and the elderly alike. Individuals with sickness such as cancer, heart disease, breast disease, psychiatric disorders have benefited from massage since from this.

Positive effect on the nervous system 
Massage has a general positive effect on the nervous system, this results in a change in mod and induced calm response. Positive mood and feelings are enhanced. When you have a massage, parasympathetic cells are activated and causing the body to relax and possibly sleep. When stressed, the sympathetic cells are activated, this creates an urge to flight or fight. Stress therefore affects the mind and body and reduces the possibility of having a good night sleep.

Stress reduction 
With stress, you are more likely to find interference in your sleep. Massage helps in reducing the body’s stress level by reducing the stress hormone exposure. Outward signs of stress include poor posture and tense muscles. Tense muscles within the body will be made at ease with massage. People with stress have sleeping disorders where they do not really get rested during sleep. During massage, one goes into a deep state of relaxation and rest, this can positively affect the body and produce a good sleep. If tension and stress are the reasons you cannot have a good night sleep, then massage therapy should be recommended for you.

Hormonal balance 
Massage mainly encourages relaxation by affecting the body’s hormone levels. Massage increases the body’s production of serotonin, this increases melatonin production and thus help the resetting of circadian rhythms. Massage is therefore a healthy, substance free and effective choice to help people that have insomnia. This condition is mostly associated with low levels of serotonin. Serotonin actually plays a big role in mood, physical coordination, behavior, body temperature and most important in sleep. Massage increases serotonin levels and thus serves as a remedy for people that are sleep deprived.

The involvement of serotonin to improve sleep has been proven. A number of studies show that serotonin revolves around a specific section of the brain that maintains deep sleep. This section of the brain is called raphe nuclei, experiments have been performed to show that deprivation of the body of serotonin reduces the ability of sleep. Administration of a drug that blocks serotonin has shown to reduce the ability of sleep. All these experiments show the necessity of massage and serotonin for a healthy sleep.

Optimum immune level 
Sleep is necessary for the immune system to function at its optimum level. When the immune system is compromised, the body’s ability to heal itself naturally becomes compromised. When stressed or sleep deprived, the body’s health becomes seriously compromised. Massage can help relieve tension and stress. This leads to an optimum immune level and lead to good sleep.

One of the good things about massage is that you obviously don’t have to visit a professional to make use of its benefits. You can simply ask your friend, partner or family member to do it through a simple soothing rubdown. You can also make yourself have a mini massage, this is by focusing on muscle groups in the body that are close. Massage is done through small circular movements with the hands and fingers. It is applied on your forehead, face, neck, scalp or upper shoulders. You can find a variety of massage devices too. These devices come at various price ranges that help in extending your reach and provide heat and relaxing vibrations.

Massage techniques
Apart from the simple massage techniques, there are professional massage techniques that include reflexology, sports massage, neuromuscular massage, Swedish massage and Rolfing. Reflexology, as its name suggests focusses mainly on reflex zones within the feet. This type of massage relieves pain, tension and improves blood circulation to areas of your body. Sport massage can be used by athletes in for specific ligaments, tendons and muscles. Neuromuscular massage also focuses on connective tissues, nerves, ligaments and tendons. All these types of massage ease tension and result in good sleep.

Massage is a healthy, drug-free and a smart option that has been used by many people to improve sleep. It has also been used to treat insomnia since serotonin influences the sleep stage of an individual in a circadian rhythm. Massage is simply a natural way to boost the body’s serotonin without drugs that could potentially have negative side effects. However, more research should be done to show the direct effect massage therapy has on sleep. Meanwhile, the existing evidence on massage is enough to recommend regular massages for people with sleepless nights.