Massage Therapy: Why is it good for Stress and Pain?

Massage therapy provides a ton of health benefits, but possibly none more life-changing than the effect it has on stress and pain. This powerful tool is a great way to take control of your own health and avoid self-medicating with prescription drugs, alcohol, or other substances. There are tons of different types of massages and a wide variety of places that now offer this therapy as an alternative form of treatment, but all will provide similar health benefits – while reducing your stress and relieving your pain.

Stress relief

Stress is an important part of life – it keeps you motivated and on task, and keeps your reflexes sharp. The fight-or-flight response created by the adrenaline stimulating your heart rate and the boost to your blood sugar from increased cortisol plays an important role – but too much stress can cause your body to react in a very negative way. This can manifest through physical symptoms like upset stomach, chest pain, headaches, insomnia, and even elevated blood pressure. Increased stress can also worsen symptoms associated with certain conditions or diseases.

However, massage has the power to help your body deal with stress in a positive, healthy way. Just one session can be enough to make a significant impact on your heart rate, cortisol levels, and insulin levels – lowering them enough to take your body out of fight-or-flight mode and promote relaxation. While loosening your tense muscles, massage increases your body’s “feel good” chemicals – endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine – creating an all-over calming effect that can make any stress seem a much less pressing issue.
Pain relief

More than a quarter of Americans over the age of 20 have dealt with chronic pain that persists more than 24 hours – which has a huge impact on anyone’s quality of life and productivity at work. Unfortunately, most pain medications come with a host of unwanted and very unpleasant side effects, leading more and more people to turn to massage as a way to deal with ongoing pain issues.

Patients suffering from pain syndromes like arthritis and fibromyalgia have reported positive results from incorporating massage into their treatment program – noting that massage therapy resulted in an increased range of motion and quicker, easier movements. Grip strength and associated pain were diminished, and patients also showed lowered levels of anxiety and elevated moods. This makes sleep much easier, giving chronic pain sufferers more opportunity to heal and fight their pain in a more effective, efficient way.

Massage therapy, and the release of the “feel good” chemicals into the brain, can be a great way to treat pain and stress in a natural, healthy way. Living with chronic pain or ongoing stress is incredibly hard on sufferers, but by introducing the non-invasive, medication-free therapy of massage, patients can see benefits almost immediately.

However, keep in mind that massage is not a replacement for other types of medical care. If your stress or pain can’t be managed through medications or massage, you should see a health care professional to determine the specific cause of your condition and look at other alternative treatments.

Thank you to Jon Reyes who wrote this article. Jon is a guest author for Therapeutic Massage from and is a respected and expert voice in a plethora of health related subjects with over 10 years of writing under his belt.


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