Most people realise that Perth massage relaxes the muscles and mobilises the joints, but many are unaware of its neurological effects. Your nervous system produces hormones appropriately called neurohormones, which affect your behaviour and overall sense of well being. Although anecdotal evidence exists for the mood enhancing benefits of massage, scientific evidence now supports these assumptions.
The results of a number of research studies performed at the TOUCH Research Institute at the University of Miami, and published in October, 2005 in the International Journal of Neuroscience indicate that massage therapy increases the availability of all of the neurohormones that influence your brain chemistry. The researchers used subjects diagnosed with clinical depression, eating disorders, autoimmune conditions, chronic fatigue, and stress related to job loss, aging, pregnancy, cancer and HIV.
Massage and Dopamine
Apparently, a massage session elevates your levels of dopamine. Your hypothalamus releases this important neurohormone. Dopamine plays an important role in fine motor activities like painting or playing a musical instrument. It also affects emotions such as joy, inspiration, intuition and enthusiasm. A lack of dopamine in your brain chemistry causes uncoordinated movement, clumsiness, inability to focus and a tendency toward distraction.
Massage and Serotonin
The research team also discovered that massage also has the potential to raise the availability of serotonin, a mood-elevating neurohormone responsible for behavior regulation. Serotonin helps you control irritability, as well as your cravings for sex and food. Lack of sufficient serotonin causes insomnia, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorders. regulates behavior in terms of emotions, acting to quell irritability and cravings for sex and food.
The Epinephrine Paradox
The researchers discovered that massage had some interesting effects om epinephrine, also called adrenaline. A 15 minute chair massage might stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, elevating adrenaline levels and increasing alertness. In contrast, a long, slow deep massage decreases adrenaline and promotes restful sleep. The researchers explained that massage increases delta waves, the brain waves associated with deeper sleep. No wonder you might fall asleep on the massage table! The deeper sleep, in turn, increases your availability of growth hormones, which stimulate cell division processes and assist in tissue repair, new tissue regeneration, and healing of injuries.
Say Goodbye to Cortisol
Whilst your massage therapist’s hands are busy triggering your feel-good hormones, they are also warding off the bad guy known as cortisol. This stress-inducing neurohormone increases your susceptibility to pain and chronic illness. The researchers in the Miami University study noted a 31 percent decrease in cortisol following a massage therapy session. You simply can’t beat that!
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