MASSAGE - using massage as a complimentary therapy for stress relief
23rd November 2010
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The word ‘stress’ comes from the Latin word that means ‘to draw tight’.     We are all aware of the pressures around us – at work, at home, in our relationships with family, friends and colleagues.

A certain amount of pressure is good for us – the stimulation of something new, excitement of a new relationship, or a new challenge keeps life interesting.  Too little stress can make life dull. But too much stress over a long period of time can be damaging to our health, relationships and performance. Our reaction to stress is a primitive one, from the days when survival needed us to be able to fight or run quickly! 

Our bodies produce the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline which:

  • increase our heart rate and blood pressure, 
  • ‘shunt’ blood away from our digestive systems and skin and increase the supply to our muscles,
  • increase perspiration.

In an emergency this prepares our bodies for action and helps us think and react fast.  When you are stuck in a traffic jam, waiting for an important meeting or the children are shouting, it is less useful and the adrenalin is not used up, leaving you feeling ‘wound up’

After a while, when stress becomes ‘chronic’, another hormone cortisol is produced which:

  • releases fat and sugar into the system;
  • reduces the efficiency of the immune system so that we are less able to fight infections.

Staying on ‘red alert’ for a prolonged period of time can affect both our physical and emotional health, leading to symptoms such as:

  • Frequent headaches;
  • jaw clenching;
  • Neck or back ache,
  • Frequent colds or infections;
  • Anxiety, irritability, mood swings;
  • Insomnia, forgetfulness;
  • Weight gain or loss without diet change;
  • Constant tiredness or fatigue.

Recognising you are stressed is the first step to taking action to reduce it.



Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, wrote that there were only three things essential for health: exercise, good diet and massage.

Massage is about the best researched of all the complementary therapies, and there is a huge amount of studies showing the positive benefits of massage, especially when taken regularly.

A study published in Psychological Bulletin 2004, Vol 130, pp3-18, was itself a study of 37 other studies.  In total 795 participants received massage while 1007 received a comparison, non massage, treatment.    

All the studies showed significant reductions in:

  • anxiety,
  • blood pressure,
  • heart rate,
  • depression,
  • and pain levels in the massage group.

In one of the studies just 15minutes of massage was given each week for 6 weeks in the workplace.  Before the study both the control and massage groups showed well above average stress levels but after the study the control group remained the same, while the massage group showed well below average levels of stress.

We are now in an age that is rediscovering the enormous therapeutic power of touch.

If you would like to find out more about the power of massage to relieve stress then contact us today at Essentials Beauty & Health Clinic - telephone 01455 268 696.

Alternatively, you could simply take some time out for yourself now and book one of our massage therapies.  We have a wide range to choose from:

  • Standard body massage;
  • Aromatherapy;
  • No Hands massage;
  • Indian head massage;
  • Hot stone massage;
  • Body Reviver;
  • Seated chair massage (can be carried out in the workplace as in the study cited above).

Contact us to discuss the most appropriate massage for you.

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