Mary K. Francis, LMT

Massage and Mental Health

Our knowledge of the human body is ever-growing and the effects of massage along with it. Let’s look a little deeper at what a massage does for our mental state. 

Our bodies produce chemicals called hormones and neurotransmitters. These chemicals send messages to our bodies that regulate, sleep, appetite, and concentration as examples. When these chemicals are lacking or are out of proportion, it can cause chaos in our bodies. 

Massage increases Serotonin which regulates sleep and hunger and puts you in a good mood. It’s one of the reasons you may fall asleep on the massage table. It promotes a sense of well-being and contentment. 

Oxytocin is also increased. It is the body’s “love” chemical and is responsible for the warm, fuzzy feelings towards our children and our other loved ones. Interestingly, oxytocin is released in greater quantities when massage is gentler as opposed to deeper and more vigorous work. 

On the opposite note, some chemicals are decreased. Cortisol for example is a stress hormone. It constricts blood vessels, raising blood pressure. It lowers our immune system, slows down wound healing and decreases our immune system. It is also responsible for increasing appetite and stress-eating. A decrease in this hormone lowers stress, blood pressure, enhances wound healing and increases our immune system. 

In short, massage puts us in a good mood.