Indulging in a massage at the end of a tough week isn’t just a nice way to wind down. It’s also been shown to improve sleep according to numerous studies.
How does massage help you get better sleep at night?
Massage helps you relax
If you’re up at nights worrying about financial pressures, troublesome relationships, or other stressful issues, a massage might just be the key to falling asleep with ease and staying asleep for longer.
Regular massage sessions have been found to decrease depression and anxiety levels and improve sleep quality. This is because they trigger the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can help induce feelings of calm and well being. Serotonin is also a precursor for the body to secrete melatonin, critical in regulating your body clock and inducing sleep.
Massage reduces pain
Massages help to ease pain. Whilst the applied pressure may cause some initial friction, it’s this friction that stimulates blood flow to the area which relieves muscles tightness and tension.
The increased blood flow also ensures that waste products are moved more efficiently from the body due to the stimulation of the lymphatic system, thus reducing the pain the body is experiencing.
A study on back pain, published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, demonstrated that in addition to a decrease in long-term pain, subjects receiving massage experienced improved sleep and an increase in serotonin levels. Results were based on twice-weekly, 30-minute massages for 5 weeks.
Self Massage at Home
In today’s digitally driven world we seldom feel rested. An astonishing number of people report that their sleep is ‘normal’ but still wake up feeling sleepy, dull and unfocused – unable to concentrate and generally feel sub-optimal.
If we are unable to get a regular massage, we can also do our bit to boost our sleep making a home massage part of our evening or sleep routine. It has shown that self touch can be as powerful as having someone else massage you.
- Take a bath. Add some soothing essential oils or Epsom salts to help calm and relax your body. The warmth of the bath will also help boost melatonin.
- Massage your hands. You can sit on the edge of the bed or in bed supporting your back with pillows.
- Using lotion or oils, massage the top of your hand, then turn your palm up and using the thumb, circle your palm along different points and stretch your palm slightly at the same time.
- Stretch out the joints of each of the fingers slowly. Make sure you’re breathing and taking your time.
- Repeat with the other hand.
- Massage your feet. Sit on the edge of the bed and rest your left foot on your right knee. Use foot cream or body lotion.
- Slowly massage with special attention on the soles of your feet.
- Take your time. Breathe.
- Repeat with the other foot.
- Massage your neck: Sitting comfortably in bed supporting your back with pillows,
- Massage the back of your neck along the line of your skill, starting from the middle out towards the back of your ears.
- Breathe with every stroke. Feel the tension releasing.
- Do this purposefully focusing on each breath.
- Go to bed: switch off the lights, close your eyes and breathe deeply visualising a place that is close to your heart. Let the visuals soothe and gently lull you into sleep.
Professional Massage Therapy
Getting a regular massage is a smart, healthy and drug-free option that has helped many people overcome sleep difficulties.
Massage therapy is a core component of a multidisciplinary approach that, instead of simply treating the symptoms, goes to the root cause of the sleep issues. Massage therapy is aimed at treating the whole person – body, mind and spirit – for the best outcome possible.
Types of massage techniques that help promote the chemistry of better sleep:
- Long strokes, kneading and circular motions, like those used in Swedish massages.
- Deep tissue massages that work down into layers of muscle
- Trigger point massages that focus on releasing muscles on specific sore spots
At Gravity our massage offerings utilise a combination of these techniques to induce deep rest and relaxation, targeting mind, body and energy for a much more comprehensive approach to your wellness needs.
- Restorative Bodywork: a full body massage that is specifically designed to release deep layers of stress
- Emotional Release Bodywork: a deeply healing therapeutic massage and energy work to release emotional stress trapped in the body
More than just your regular massage, check out our body and energy work therapies here.