Did you know massage therapy is proven to lower the stress hormone cortisol? Many studies have shown this. Cortisol is the main stress hormone in your body and is released by your adrenal glands during times of stress. An increase in cortisol can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to elevate and generally boosts your energy levels. That’s a great reaction if you are fleeing from danger or have to fight off a vicious mongoose; but what happens if your cortisol levels stay elevated? The answer is it can cause numerous unwanted side effects including the following per Web MD:
- Anxiety and depression
- Heart disease
- Memory and concentration problems
- Problems with digestion
- Trouble sleeping
- Weight gain
According to an article published in The International Journal of Neuroscience massage therapy was shown to provide “significant decreases…in cortisol levels (averaging decreases 31%).” The Mayo Clinic Website indicates that massage reduces stress and has a positive effect on depression and anxiety.
So when you think about getting your next massage, remember you are doing it for your health. It is not an indulgence but a necessity!