Neck pain can be simply unbearable at times. It makes it difficult to sleep, walk, sit and do just about anything comfortably. I know this because I had dealt with it for nearly two years before I found any relief. It was not until I began going to a chiropractor that I found that life did not have to be so painful. The chiropractor made regular adjustments each week and helped me learn what I could do to make myself more comfortable. I have included everything that my chiropractor taught me on my website to help others going through the same struggles as I did.
Massage therapy has relaxing effects and can directly reduce pain as the therapist applies various types of pressure to ease muscle strain and tightness. This therapy has additional benefits as well. It boosts levels of brain chemicals that make you feel good and decreases chemicals related to stress.
A study published in 2005 found that massage appears to increase levels of dopamine and serotonin. Another study, released in 2010, found that massage appears to lift oxytocin levels. Both studies found decreases in stress-related chemicals after massage. All these substances are hormones that function as neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers in the brain.
Dopamine & Serotonin
Proper levels of these neurotransmitters are important for sleep, memory, mood, normal appetite, attention and learning. Dopamine is necessary for the ability to feel pleasure, and sufficient serotonin generates a sense of well-being. Low levels of these hormones are associated with depression, along with lack of energy and motivation. Many antidepressant medications are intended to increase levels of these chemicals in the brain.
Dopamine levels tend to rise when people feel rewarded. That may explain why the enjoyable sensations of massage therapy boost levels of this neurotransmitter. Serotonin levels tend to rise with ample daylight, physical activity and relaxation. That relaxation effect may be directly related to the increase in serotonin after a massage.
The body releases the hormone oxytocin when people show physical signs of friendship, trust and affection. You might experience positive feelings from this neurotransmitter when you hug, kiss, shake hands or hold hands with someone you like. Even petting a dog or cat can boost oxytocin levels. Oxytocin appears to be important for emotionally bonding with others.
Since oxytocin is associated with pleasant touch, it's natural that therapeutic massage would increase levels of this hormone.
High cortisol levels that last longer than a brief period have negative effects. The body always has a certain amount of cortisol circulating, but more is released in response to stress. This can result in elevated blood pressure and heart rate, immune system suppression and elevated blood sugar. That's normal when a person faces a real threat. However, when these reactions continue due to chronic stress, there are negative implications for health.
The research on massage found not only reduced cortisol levels, but reduced arginine vasopressin and adrenal corticotropin. Increased levels of those two hormones can lead to elevated cortisol.
When you make an appointment for a massage at a business like Excellence In Health Chiropractic & Rehab Clinic, you'll know about additional benefits and underlying reasons for some of the positive results. With research backing the use of massage for advantageous changes in brain chemicals, you can include those effects in your reasons for choosing this helpful therapy.