If you find yourself in a bit of a funk you may want to give massage a go. It will help give the brain a bit of a boost – enhancing, not just brain health, but also its cognitive capabilities.
Because, when pressure is applied to the body’s muscles and tissue network during a massage, it helps stimulate the flow and production of neurotransmitters from 3 main systems that improve our overall health, as well as enhance our brain function.
1. Endocrine System:
The endocrine system affects almost every organ and cell in the body, from bones and tissue for growth, body energy levels through metabolism, healing and reproductive systems and our internal body systems for homeostasis. It’s largely a network of glands in the body that secrete hormones into the bloodstream.
2. Nervous System:
This is a complex network of nerves and cells in the body that works synergistically with the brain to monitor the proper function and balance of internal organs.
Both of these work together to flow information from the body’s extremities and organs to the brain, which then responds to stimulate the organs that regulate such functions as motor reflexes, heart rate, emotional feedback (fight or flight), and automatic and sensory responses (thinking, learning, taste, smell, sound, pain and memory)
3. Immune System:
Massage helps support the body’s defences by increasing the effect of the immune system’s “killer cells” to fight stress, infections and encourage cellular nourishment from improved circulation. Regular massage helps keep your immune system performing at its peak.
Other benefits of massage that help to boost brain health and enhance our cognitive capabilities.
A big part of enhancing our cognitive capabilities involves reducing stress hormones. A study in the journal Psycho-Oncology identifies “massage in patients undergoing intensive chemotherapy reduces serum cortisol and prolactin”.
Massage helps reduce stress including the different massage techniques used to alleviate stress, such as deep tissue massage, trigger pointing and lymphatic drainage.
As massage helps with serotonin production, it also helps to improve sleep as serotonin is a precursor to the body producing melatonin which helps us to get to sleep faster and stay asleep for longer. Improved sleep can lead to better cognitive function and brain recovery over time.
Activation of brain regions
A 2018 study showed that foot massage induces oxytocin release and activates brain regions associated with cognition (orbitofrontal and superior temporal lobe portions) for recipients with social dysfunctions such as Autism. This discovery is exciting to see, as science is confirming massage’s effect on brain health.
Psychosomatic Massage Therapy
This therapy is an advanced massage style that complements a holistic approach to prevention and management of human disease based on the relationship between the mind (psyche) and body (soma).
It’s based on the premise that everything that happens to us throughout our life gets stored in our memory both psyche and soma. When we don’t pay enough attention to the impacts negative and traumatic experiences have, they will accumulate in our bodies and minds cumulatively, wearing down our resilience.
The therapist assesses all aspects of the physiology including biomechanical function, quality of muscular tissue, muscle to fat ratio, weight distribution, structural symmetry and facial features. These factors are determined by our individual genetics, environment and emotional experiences.
How does Psychosomatic Therapy work?
The aim of the therapist is to restore mental, emotional and physical balance based on the results of the holistic assessment. The techniques used are also holistic involving more than just touch: emotional-release bodywork, counselling, postural alignment, breathing techniques and detailed body-mind analysis and reporting. The session can include narrative instructions and commentary from the therapist in combination with the physical bodywork. The therapist includes detailed assessments so the participant can participate in their own healing process.
This therapeutic massage and energy work is a deep mind body and energetic experience to help your body work holistically and is complementary to floatation therapy both offered at Gravity.
Time for your massage?
It’s quite clear as more studies emerge to demonstrate how effective the brain can be in perceiving and integrating sensory information.
Positive sensory stimuli – through massage – can create neurological effects within the brain, affecting brain chemistry that reduces stress, improves sleep and activates specific regions of the brain that govern cognitive function.