As many of you will already know, quality sleep is vital for our health and general wellbeing. I often hear clients saying they ‘get their 8 hours’ but still wake up lethargic, foggy and lacking motivation. This is because when it comes to sleep, it is all about quality rather than quantity.
So, how can massage therapy help?
Research has shown that the chemistry of sleep is relevant to massage therapy because massage can directly influence the body's production of serotonin (the happy hormone) and the creation of melatonin (the sleep hormone). These two hormones, plus cortisol (the stress hormone), play a vital role in our sleep patterns.
The levels of the hormone cortisol are often elevated in people who are stressed which CAN lead to insomnia. Massage helps to balance the hormonal system and it is proven that massage can reduce the level of cortisol be an average of 30%.
When it comes to our happy hormone Serotonin, studies have shown that massage can help to boost serotonin levels up to 28%. In addition to this, melatonin, which increases with the darkness of the night can be effectively triggered by the pressure applied during a massage.
The other way that massage may help with sleep is by managing pain and tension caused by stress or injury. Pain and sleep loss can exacerbate one another, leading to a vicious cycle. A lack of sleep can worsen pain, while pain itself can make it difficult to find a comfortable enough position to fall asleep.
Therefore, a successful treatment of pain using massage therapy is likely to improve sleep dramatically.