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Oxytocin and Massage Therapy

 

There are a number of reasons why getting a massage feels so great, both during and after the treatment. One of these reasons is completely chemical, and it all comes down to something commonly known as ‘the love hormone’ – oxytocin. Read on to find out more about this hormone, how it affects us, and how it’s linked to massage.

What is oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a hormone that’s produced in the brain and secreted by the pituitary gland. Its primary roles are related to reproduction, childbirth, and breastfeeding. A number of things can trigger the release of oxytocin. For example, when uterine contractions begin during childbirth, oxytocin is released to increase or maintain contractions to assist with labor.

How does it affect us?

Other than the above examples, oxytocin is thought to affect us when it comes to love, bonding, and social interaction. Whether with friends, romantic partners, or your children, the release of oxytocin when we hug or cuddle has been found to increase bonding and trust. It also helps you feel more relaxed, can reduce stress and anxiety, and can increase tolerance to pain, essentially acting as a form of pain relief.

Oxytocin is particularly important in establishing the strong emotional bond between a mother and her newborn child. It also plays an important role in strengthening the bond between romantic partners and is released during sexual activity.

Massage and oxytocin

One of the reasons why oxytocin is released when we cuddle is due to the skin-on-skin contact. But can other forms of touch have the same effect? Yes, the touch of massage has also been found to increase the production and release of oxytocin in the brain, of the person giving the massage as well as the one receiving it.

This increase in oxytocin can explain some of the good feelings associated with massage, including:

  • Relaxation
  • Stress and anxiety relief
  • Decreased pain sensation
  • Elevated mood

If you’re feeling low, then a massage could be exactly what you need to improve your mood. It can even help to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. From our understanding of oxytocin, we can see that these beneficial effects of massage are at least partly due to chemical changes in our bodies. It’s one of the reasons why getting a couple’s massage is so great for strengthening your relationship.

If you want to book a massage appointment for yourself or a loved one around Winston Salem, Pfafftown, Lewisville, and Clemmons, then contact Moonstone Massage or use our online booking portal to schedule your appointment.

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Can Massage Provide Relief for Arthritis?

 

Arthritis is a joint condition that can seriously impede mobility and range of movement, while also being extremely painful. There are lots of different types of arthritis, and they don’t just affect the elderly like is commonly thought. There is currently no way to cure arthritis, but it can be treated to help manage the pain and stiffness, and to help slow down the progression of the condition.

In addition to any treatment or medication prescribed by your doctor, massage can be effective in helping to manage the pain and stiffness associated with many types of arthritis. Regular massage therapy can even allow patients to rely less on medication, offering a natural form of pain relief.

Why is massage good for arthritis?

Many of the benefits of massage are thanks to the increase in circulation caused by massage treatment. This increase in blood flow can aid healing in the affected areas. It also helps to reduce inflammation, which is often a contributing factor to the pain and stiffness around arthritic joints.

Massage is also good for flexibility. Massaging the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around a joint helps to relieve tension and generally loosen things up. This can result in greater mobility and also less pain as the stiffness and lack of flexibility are addressed.

The best types of massage for arthritis

Before receiving a massage, make sure to inform your massage therapist of your condition and which joints are affected. As well as adjusting their pressure or technique to accommodate any pain or discomfort, they may also be able to recommend the best type of massage to suit your needs. As with any massage, let your massage therapist know if the pressure is too much so they can adjust for you.

These are some of the best types of massage that can help arthritis sufferers:

  • Swedish massage – The long, kneading strokes help to reduce tension in the muscles and joints.
  • Deep tissue massage – A deeper, firmer massage that’s ideal for targeting specific joints that are affected by your condition.
  • Shiatsu massage – Targeting pressure points around the affected joints can help to improve flexibility and range of motion.
  • Lymphatic massage – Helps to drain excess lymphatic fluid that can cause inflammation

If you suffer from arthritis, then talk to your doctor for advice on whether massage can be a beneficial complementary therapy for your condition. Contact Moonstone Massage for more information about our different massage services or book a treatment via our online portal.