It is no secret that massage therapy can be highly effective in combatting stress and its harmful effects. Massages relieve stress by releasing tension and flushing out waste products from muscles. It also works to decrease levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. And while its effects may be commonly known, most people are not sure what type of massage modality, or type, would yield the best results in combatting the effects of daily stress. To help determine what type of massage is right for you, the top 4 stress relieving modalities for are described below.
The Swedish massage is the most common and well known massage. It uses long, firm kneading strokes in the direction in which blood flows toward the heart. Various types of other strokes are also used in this modality, including tapotement (a percussive technique) and circular movements applied to pressure points. The variety of motions aim to decompress muscle tissue by releasing tension and breaking up muscular knots. It is, in essence, a full body massage by definition. Scientific studies have shown that cortisol levels decrease after a Swedish massage, proving that it is an effective technique to combat stress.
What sets apart the aromatherapy massage is that it uses essential oils. Essential oils are plant and herb-based oils that are extracted for the purpose of using them to treat various conditions. These can range from skin disorders to digestive issues and, yes, even alleviating stress. The principal route by which essential oils emit their effect is via the olfactory (smelling) organs, primarily the nostril. The nostril has connections to the part of the brain that controls emotions called the limbic system. The limbic system also influences hormone levels and the nervous system. By adding essential oils to massage oil or lotion, the scent particles work to directly influence the effects of stress by causing the limbic system to send out relaxation signals to the body. The massage therapy becomes an even more powerful way to destress with this added component. The essential oils mostly commonly used to cause this calming effect are lavender, chamomile, and geranium.
A good way to relieve stress is by having your cranium massaged. Scalp muscles tend to harbor a great deal of tension. Massaging out the tension in this area increases blood flow and can help release stressful emotions while also loosening up areas that may be causing headaches or neck pain. A specific type of head massage called Champissage, or Indian Head massage, has proven to be highly effective when it comes to relieving stress. This is because it uses essential oil, combining the effects of the oil with a therapeutic massage of the scalp muscles. Head massages can be added to any type of massage session for additional benefits from therapy.
“Auricular” refers to the auricle or external part of the ear. This area is considered to be a microsystem for the entire body,containing several hundred pressure points corresponding to different parts of the body. Massaging the ear in the area corresponding to the central nervous system encourages the release of the body’s stress-relieving hormones that are collectively known as endorphins. This can be a quick technique that you can learn to do in times of stress to help calm you down. Or, until you get to your next massage appointment.
It is no Secret that Massages Relieve Stress
Licensed massage therapists are trained in each of these modalities. They are also trained to assess which modality can best help their client achieve their massage therapy goals. Make sure to talk to your massage therapist when narrowing down which option is best for you. Whatever modality you choose, know that all will be highly effective at melting your stress away and making you feel renewed.