How Massage Can Help You Get a Restful Night’s Sleep

Tulsa Massage has a calming effect on the nervous system, which helps reduce stress. It also stimulates the parasympathetic response, which slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure, thereby promoting relaxation and restful sleep.


Most massage therapists will ask you about any health conditions or medications you are taking before the session begins. You must be honest so they can treat you safely.

Stress can have a negative impact on almost every aspect of your life, causing health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, digestive issues and even sexual dysfunction. Thankfully, there are many ways to lower your stress levels. Some people find that yoga, a nice cup of tea or time spent outdoors are great ways to reduce their stress levels, while others find that massage works well.

Massage has been found to increase the production of positive hormones such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine which encourage relaxation and a sense of well-being. These hormones are neurotransmitters that stimulate the autonomic nervous system. The body requires these hormones in order to regulate the emotions and maintain a healthy immune system. When these hormones are low, a person is more likely to experience anxiety, stress and mood swings. Massage has been found to decrease the production of cortisol which is a harmful stress hormone that causes the body to tighten and tense muscles. Tense muscles restrict movement, increase pain and cause stress. Massage aims to relieve tension by stretching and spreading muscle fibres and tissue, increasing flexibility and elasticity. The friction created between the skin and fingers during a massage also increases blood flow to the muscles, thereby decreasing cortisol and reducing stress.

In addition, the vagus nerve is activated during a massage, encouraging your body to slow down and release more of the feel good hormones mentioned above. Studies have shown that when the brain is triggered into this response, activity in the right frontal cortex, which is associated with negative emotion, drops, making you more able to cope with stressful situations. This makes it easier to manage your emotions and prevent stress from turning into a mental illness.

Relieves Pain

When your body is stressed or in pain it releases chemicals that inhibit blood flow to the area. These toxins build up and hinder oxygen rich blood from reaching the cells that need it most. Massage improves circulation and flushes out these toxins, helping your muscles move better and relieving pain.

In addition to increasing your blood flow massage increases the number of ‘feel good’ hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin in your brain, which also increase relaxation and decrease stress levels. These natural chemicals act as an effective pain reliever without the side effects of many pharmaceutical medications.

The ‘gate control theory’ suggests that in order for pain to be felt, it must pass through a number of gates within your nervous system before it arrives at the brain. The hypothesis is that massage stimulates larger nerve fibers that compete with the pain signals and thus block them (closing the ‘gate’), altering your perception of pain.

Several studies report that massage reduces pain and improves quality of life. These positive outcomes are supported by a variety of methods including before-and-after measurements using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS), survey data and nursing comments. Nevertheless, the number of available studies is small and there is a need for further research to strengthen the evidence base and support clinical translation. Additionally, the majority of studies did not successfully describe allocation concealment and intention-to-treat processes making it difficult to accurately evaluate the impact of the therapy. Overall, however, the evidence indicates that massage is a useful intervention in pain management and should be considered as part of an integrated approach to care. The findings of this descriptive review are particularly encouraging given that pain is the most common reason why people seek medical attention and is associated with many adverse health outcomes.

Relaxes Muscles

The kneading and rubbing motions of massage help stretch and relax your muscles, increasing their flexibility. Tight muscles often become tense and rigid through repetitive movements or prolonged sitting or standing in one position. This stiffness reduces the efficiency of your movement and can cause pain. In addition, tight muscles can restrict the movement of surrounding muscles around a joint, leading to pain from conditions such as sciatica or pinched nerves. Massage improves the elasticity of muscle tissue to prevent it from becoming too tight and helps the joints move more freely.

Tight muscles can also be caused by poor posture and emotional stress, which leads to the body holding itself in unnatural positions that tighten the muscle tissue over time. During a massage, the friction created by the hands of your massage therapist helps to loosen these tight muscle fibers by increasing the temperature of soft tissues and helping break down adhesions.

Massage can also stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to slow your heart rate and breathing, promoting deep relaxation. This, in turn, can help lower your blood pressure and release feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin.

During and after a vigorous workout, massage can speed up the recovery process by improving the supply of oxygen and nutrients to your muscle cells. Researchers have found that massage decreases inflammation in the muscle and helps your muscles regenerate faster, by suppressing pathways that lead to excess inflammation and increasing the formation of mitochondria – the tiny powerhouses inside your cells that convert glucose into energy.

If you’re a dedicated athlete, regular massage can keep your muscles from getting too tight between training sessions and help you get back into the gym quicker after injury. Scientists have found that massage decreases muscle soreness by reducing inflammation and breaking down muscle cell adhesions.

Relieves Tension

The stroking, kneading and manipulation of muscles and tissues in massage decreases tension by increasing muscle flexibility and improving the flow of blood throughout the body. This flow reduces swelling and inflammatory responses that can exacerbate pain and increase tension. Massage also stimulates the lymphatic system to flush away metabolic waste products and increases tissue elasticity which decreases muscle tightness.

Massages encourage the body’s parasympathetic nervous system to activate which causes a decrease in the “fight or flight” response that is commonly associated with stress and anxiety. This results in a natural state of calmness and relaxation. Additionally, massage lowers cortisol levels and increases serotonin and dopamine levels which are neurotransmitters that stabilize the mood and boost feelings of well being and happiness.

A therapeutic massage is a deep tissue treatment that targets the deeper layers of muscle and fascia in the body to decrease tension and increase relaxation. Fascia is a fibrous layer that wraps around all of our muscles and organs. A therapeutic massage uses techniques such as deep kneading, skin rolling and trigger point therapy to decrease tension within the muscles. These techniques increase the temperature of the muscles to loosen the muscle fibres and decrease pain and tension.

Remedial massage is a deep tissue treatment that is specifically targeted at decreasing tension and relieving injuries caused by overuse or traumatic injury. It uses techniques such as deep kneading, soft tissue manipulation and trigger point therapy to decrease tension in the muscle fibres and tendons. It also utilizes muscle stretching which increases flexibility and decreases tightness in the injured area. It also helps to break down adhesions which are knotted clumps of muscle fibres that restrict movement and cause pain.

Improves Sleep

People who do not get enough sleep are at increased risk of a wide range of health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. It is therefore important for everyone to do everything they can to ensure a good night’s sleep every day. Getting a regular massage is one way to do this.

During a massage, the brain triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to slow down the body and relax, which can help you get to sleep at night. In addition, a number of studies have shown that massage improves the quality of sleep by increasing the production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that helps to calm the brain. Serotonin also signals the brain to produce melatonin, which is necessary for a good night’s sleep.

Other benefits of massage for sleep include lowering cortisol levels and decreasing the body’s adrenaline and norepinephrine, which can cause a restless night’s sleep. Massage also helps increase the production of melatonin and human growth hormone, which promote healthy cell growth.

There are many types of massage therapy, from Swedish, which uses long strokes, kneading and deep circular movements to relax and energize, to sports and deep tissue massage that targets deeper layers of muscle. Acupressure and trigger point massage, which focus on specific areas of tight muscle fibers, are also effective. A number of studies have shown that all of these types of massage are beneficial for sleep.

Adding a massage to your bed time routine is a great idea. Just be sure to get the right type of massage for your sleep needs. If you are not sure, talk to a licensed massage therapist to determine what types of massage will benefit your sleep.