Massage Your Way to a Good Night's Sleep

When was the last time you had a full night (as in 8 consistent hours) of sleep? As we are probably all aware, chronic insomnia causes extreme fatigue and problems with concentration, and can negatively impact our mood and well-being.

Ralph Pascualy, MD, medical director of the Swedish Sleep Medicine Institute (SSMI) in Seattle, states that both the quantity and the quality of one's sleep directly affects his or her health. No matter what's causing your insomnia, massage can help. Read on to find out how!

Massage and Serotonin Levels

It comes down to one simple fact: Insomnia is associated with a lack of serotonin, while massage increases serotonin levels.

Serotonin is a highly important neurotransmitter that is essential to our survival. Aside from sleep, serotonin affects our mood, behavior, body temperature, physical coordination, and appetite. Serotonin can also be converted by the brain into melatonin, a hormone that quiets and resets the part of the brain that prepares our bodies for sleep.

A January 2000 study on back pain demonstrated that in addition to a decrease in long-term pain, subjects receiving massage experienced improved sleep and increased serotonin levels.

Massage for Pain and Other Chronic Issues

In addition to insomnia-related stress, according to the Mayo Clinic, studies have found massage to be beneficial to those who suffer from:

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Paresthesias and nerve pain
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain

Research gathered by the American Massage Therapy Association has also been shown to improve sleep in individuals with psychiatric disorders, fibromyalgia, cancer, heart disease, lower back pain, cerebral palsy, and breast disease.

According to Ann Williams, director of education, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, and author of Spa Bodywork and teaching massage, "Massage helps people spend more time in deep sleep, the restorative stage in which the body barely moves, which reduces the neurotransmitter associated with pain."

Types of Massage to Improve Sleep

Four of the most common massage styles can help improve sleep:

  • Swedish Massage: Gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration, and tapping to help relax and energize
  • Deep Tissue Massage: Uses slower, stronger strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, often to help with muscle damage from injuries
  • Sports Massage: Similar to Swedish massage, but geared toward those involved in sport activities to help prevent or treat injuries
  • Trigger Point Massage: Focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in muscles after injuries or overuse

Many high-end massage chairs include a combination of these massage styles to deliver the most customizable massage possible. When you enjoy your own customized massage daily, you will experience less pain, which in turn will help you sleep more soundly.

A decrease in stress, tension, and pain and improved sleep work hand-in-hand, so experience heightened overall well-being with your very own Infinity Massage Chair. Call us at 603-347-6006 to learn more today!

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