There's a reason why people love getting massages- and there's more to it than climbing into a warm table, escaping the world for a minute and getting a relaxing massage.
In fact- massage releases several chemicals called neurohormones that affect the nervous system. Most people are familiar with the chemical serotonin which helps the body feel calm (one of the main benefits of massage). But let's dig into this a little deeper to find out other hidden benefits of the massage mood cocktail!
If there was one neurohormone to emulate my mama, it would be serotonin. This handy chemical helps us to balance our emotions as it creates feelings of well-being and happiness. In addition, it helps to reduce irritability and assists in sleeping, eating, and digestion- basically, it helps with all of the good stuff- thank you, mama serotonin!
You may want to pour a little more of this happy juice into your drink to get more happy vibes going. Dopamine is like a good coach that helps to increase mental clarity and work to promote better concentration, focus and motivation- especially when doing something creative. In addition, Dopamine has your back when it comes to helping with coordination, blood flow and processing pain. Those that have a hard time paying attention or feel that they are a little more clumsy than they like, may also benefit from the dopamine-release from massage.
These chemicals are known to create feelings of euphoria and to help people feel better by lowering pain levels. Interestingly enough, these chemicals can stay in the body up to two days after a massage- which is very helpful, especially if you just received a deep tissue massage and worked out a lot of knots!
This neurohormone is a good one to activate in order to be present for occasions that call for mental alertness and physical speed. Shorter massages ( 15-20 min) help to activate this chemical and would be helpful for someone that's wanting to just have an extra boost to start a demanding day.
Oh the love hormone- the comforting feel good hormone that helps us to feel bonded with one another. This hormone is released during breastfeeding to create a stronger bond through infant and mother. It can also be released during hugging and touching- as it as known as the cuddle hormone. Oxytocin helps to create all the warm fuzzies we crave awhile creating feelings of care, empathy, and trust.
This lil' buddy is known as the stress hormone and can help us during difficult times. However, too much of a good thing can lead to undesired results. Too much cortisol can actually cause weight gain, digestion issues, depression, anxiety, memory and concentration problems and insomnia. Getting massages can help to reduce stress and therefore lower cortisol levels so that you can have the perfect blend of a good thing!
So whether you are coming in to rid a headache, back pain, shoulder pain, etc or you want to just simply relax and enjoy a Swedish massage, you will also be getting more than you bargained for in your massage mood cocktail!