The Physiological and Mental Benefits of Massages

Woman getting a massage


The effect of massage is the release of endorphins and oxytocin in the body. It has been found that taking massage such as a 홈타이 (Home Thai) massage regularly (and preferably a series), has a long-lasting positive effect on the relaxation of the body and mind, the balance of hormone balance, sleep, and physical condition. It ensures the lowering of your muscle and connective tissue tension, improved blood flow, removal of waste products, and improved functioning of your immune system. If you take a massage regularly, e.g. every two weeks, the effect can last for days or even weeks. Processes are set in motion in your body that stimulate the natural restorative capacity of your body.

Various studies have shown that massage has a decreasing effect on tension, depression, and stress hormones. A number of studies also measure an increase in the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin has a positive influence on mood and self-confidence. For example, people with a low serotonin levels often suffer from depressive symptoms. Dopamine plays an important role in experiencing pleasure, happiness, and well-being.

Studies show that the effect of massage shows a possible decrease in heart rhythm and blood pressure. Several studies report a decrease in blood pressure after a single massage treatment.

Chronic stress has pathological consequences and can lead to physiological or psychological dysfunction. in the long term, depression, cardiovascular disease, thyroid problems, diabetes, and high blood pressure can occur.

The physiological and psychological effects of massage

The physiological and psychological effects are inseparable. We function as a unit: our physical condition influences what we think and feel and vice versa. Massage not only relaxes the muscles but also the mind and seems to be a good therapy to reduce stress. For example, the hormone-like substances (oxytocin and endorphins) that are released affect our feeling of bliss, relaxation, healing, and connection with our environment (e.g. oxytocin is in breast milk and supports the attachment of the mother with the child).

Oxytocin stimulates the immune system and has stress-reducing effects such as: lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and circulating cortisol. Cortisol is produced when the body is under stress. In the long term, it can lead to damage to bodily tissues, such as our organs. With an increase in the oxytocin content, the blood flow to the muscles is reduced, and that of the skin and mucous membranes increases. It increases your pain threshold, has an anti-anxiety effect, and stimulates positive social interaction. The hormone also stimulates the growth and repair of tissue; appetite may increase and digestion becomes more effective. If the oxytocin content is repeatedly increased, the mentioned effects are longer-lasting.

Oxytocin is released by various types of harmless sensory stimulation, such as touch and heat. Eating food also activates the release of oxytocin; you could say that by taking food you give yourself an internal massage. In other forms of sensory stimulation, such as by smell, sound, or light, it is also likely to be released.

Purely psychological mechanisms can also cause oxytocin to be secreted. For example, positive interaction that involves touch and psychological support, so with warmth and empathy, is health stimulating.


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Massage firmly or gently? What is effective?

Many people think that a massage only has an effect when it is firm. That the “muscles are tackled hard” and the tension is massaged out, as it were. In case of overload due to a lot of sports or physical work, this can certainly ensure faster recovery of the muscles. However, in our society people usually move too little and chronic muscle tension is often caused by stress. That means the tension comes from within.

By focusing as a masseur only on massaging the muscle, so from the outside by means of manipulation to relax the muscle, the tension and the pain complaint will quickly come back. If stress is (partly) the cause of pain and muscle tension, it is essential to give the person’s system the impulse that it can relax. Alertness (often unconscious) decreases and the autonomic nervous system switches to the state in which it is at rest and the body can recover. This way you, as a client, are stimulated to relax from the inside out. In other words, an impulse is given that will continue to work for a long time and effectively and long-term tension.

In the massages, the muscles are massaged to stimulate the metabolism and to manipulate the muscle, as it were so that it goes back to its original muscle tension. And the body is also stimulated with various techniques and encouraged to release its own tension. By activating the parasympathetic nervous system, all kinds of substances are produced (such as endorphins and oxytocin) which breaks the stress cycle. Also, through the intention in the touch and the movements that are made, the body regulates itself again in a healthy way. This effect lasts a long time. With regular repetition, the body and psyche can recover. The massage techniques are coordinated in such a way that the effect is maximized.