Massage Therapy

Check Out Massage’s Neurological Effects If You Want to Become a Massage Therapist

December 11, 2019

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Most people find massages relaxing, but not many think about why that is. In fact, massage has been shown to affect brain chemistry. This is through neurotransmitters and hormones that are messengers responsible for the nervous system (as opposed to the endocrine system). They have influences over behaviour and mood, and they link sensory experiences to chemical responses.

The nervous system works to transmit signals across the body, between cells. Since it is a highly complex part of humans, treatments like massage can prove beneficial in keeping less visible parts of a person healthy. Read on for the ways that massage can affect and benefit clients through neurological effects!

How Serotonin Relates to Your Massage Therapy Courses

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating emotions, sleep and hunger. Massage has been shown to boost serotonin levels, which is part of the reason why clients experience a lift in mood after receiving massage therapy. Serotonin is also an anti-pain tool for the body. When levels of this neurotransmitter are increased, a client’s ability to fight pain is enhanced. Negative feelings and anxiousness can also be easier for the body to fight when more serotonin is present. This can sometimes help soothe clients who suffer from mental health challenges like depression and anxiety when you become a massage therapist.

When serotonin levels are higher, the body is better at fighting stress and pain
When serotonin levels are higher, the body is better at fighting stress and pain

How You Can Affect Cortisol When You Become a Massage Therapist

Not only does serotonin increase after massage therapy, but cortisol also decreases. While cortisol is a very important hormone (it helps people in stressful or emergency situations), too much of it is harmful. Chronically high levels of cortisol can negatively affect the immune and digestive systems as well as the brain. A person’s mood and motivation are affected by cortisol.

When people are under frequent stress, their bodies perceive these stresses as major threats. This can lead to chronic anxious feelings and a need for treatments like massage therapy to manage the issue. The mental strain from constant stress may cause problems sleeping, depression or anxiety. Lowering cortisol is a way to reduce this discomfort.

The Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems

The sympathetic nervous system activates the “fight or flight” response as a reaction to stressful events. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for “rest and digest”, returning the body to a calm state after threats have gone away. Massage therapy courses give you tools to help clients lower hormones and neurotransmitters associated with the “fight or flight” response, like adrenaline and norepinephrine in addition to cortisol.

Massage has been found to illicit a parasympathetic nervous system response in clients, helping them to access a state of recovery and rest. When people are chronically stressed, they can become too locked into a “fight or flight” state. This causes a host of problems, not just neurologically but also with other systems like the immune or digestive systems. As a massage therapist, you can help clients improve their wellbeing and guard themselves against these negative effects.

Helping clients relax is a rewarding part of a career as a massage therapist
Helping clients relax is a rewarding part of a career as a massage therapist

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