As a hands-on treatment that requires the manipulation of your body’s muscles and tissues along with an application of pressure and friction, massage is practiced as a healing therapy for both your physical and mental health and wellbeing. Addressing particular parts of your body like the musculoskeletal, central nervous system, lymph, and circulatory systems, massage is an excellent tool for relieving muscle tension and reducing stress and anxiety.
With a rich history dating back to nearly 4,0000 years ago when it first made an appearance in Chinese medical literature, contemporary massage practice today has grown to include over 100 different types of massage modalities and bodywork techniques that can help individuals achieve a wide range of goals.
One of the ways massage can help you feel your best is by lending a boost to your body’s production of endorphins. The human body naturally produces three major types of endorphins:
- Beta-endorphins (pituitary gland)
- Enkephalins (central nervous system)
- Dynorphin (central nervous system)
As your body’s natural pain-killers, when endorphins are produced, they attach to opiate receptor neurons in your body and naturally block or reduce the pain signals produced by your nervous system. Therefore, you experience less severe pain symptoms! Additional health benefits of endorphins include enhanced immune system function, lower stress levels, slower aging processes, and the ability to achieve deeper relaxation. There is also information that connects the production of endorphins to other important physiological processes like appetite and mood.
When it comes to massage, the power of human touch aids in your body’s release of endorphins and encourages your normal body chemicals to regulate properly. Consider the last time you received a massage, if you felt lightheaded, groggy, or a bit sleepy afterwards, this is due in part to the large amount of endorphins the act of receiving a massage released into your bloodstream!
Other ways besides massage than can help boost your body’s endorphin production are through reminiscing about fond memories, new activities and rigorous exercise, laughing, and performing new (although sometimes dangerous) tasks!