I don’t know about you, but there are few pleasures that really measure up to a truly good massage. From melting away the stress of the day to feeling tense muscles un-knot and relax, no one needs to convince us about the benefits that massage brings to the table.
But did you know that massage may also help boost the quality of your sleep?
While we’ve all probably had times where a killer massage just seemed to make the rest of the day swim by at a higher level, it turns out the science suggests that wasn’t just a feeling – you may very well have been enjoying some serious benefits.
Considering that up to 40% of all U.S. adults don’t get enough sleep,1 it might be time to sing the praises of massage as a way to help combat widespread sleep deprivation.
Who Supports Massage as a Sleep Aid?
AMTA, American Massage Therapy Association, has been vocal about their support of massage as a treatment that can help to improve your sleep.2 If they were the only ones, it would be fair for us to wonder just how unbiased a source that was.
There have been studies by the Mayo Clinic, Harvard,3 and others that have confirmed the same thing. Massage can help you get a better night’s sleep, and there seems to be a wide variety of reasons that this is the case.
Why Does Massage Help Improve Sleep?
There seem to be several different reasons that massage may have such a positive effect when it comes to sleep. Some of these are obvious to any of us who enjoy regular massages. For example, massage is a fantastic way to reduce anxiety, and anxiety can be a major cause of restlessness or insomnia.4
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This means that any practice that has been shown to-help reduce anxiety can, in turn, more than likely help with sleep. See meditation, exercise, and aromatherapy as three more examples that help reinforce that point.
However, that’s not the only benefit. Massage can also help take away pain.5 Whether it’s a therapeutic massage meant to help recovery, sports massage to really help out a specific muscle or muscle group, or just an overall release of tension that helps take away general pain, less pain means more comfort and less getting in the way of a good night’s rest.
There’s a reason that many fibromyalgia patients are recommended massage as part of their treatment – they deal with internal pain most of us have never had to deal with.
Massage Undercuts Insomnia
Even beyond the really good reasons already given, multiple studies have shown that massage can be a direct solution to helping out people with clinical. 6 This means even if the root cause of your sleep deprivation issues comes from an actual sleep disorder, there’s a good chance that massage can at least help out with that problem, if not be an outright solution.
As someone who has suffered from insomnia in the past, let me assure you the pressures and stress really build up over time. When you can find something, anything, that helps deliver on the promise of better rest, you grab it!
Many believe that it is the massive release of the happy hormone serotonin into the body during a massage that helps battle or cancels out many of the common stress or pain chemicals found within the body. Being able to cancel out those negative chemicals inside you clears the path to not only feeling better but getting the good night’s rest that can help prevent them from coming back.
While this won’t cure everyone of insomnia, it is definitely worth a try. Often when it’s not a complete cure, it will still work well to alleviate a number of the nastier symptoms.
How Does Adding Essential Oils Help?
While many of the benefits of massage stand on their own, there’s little question that the proper addition of some aromatherapy or even essential oil can help enhance certain positive properties that a massage treatment brings to the table (pun intended).
The right essential oil can help you relax, enhance the pleasurable feelings from massage, and even help those of us who tend to be wound up a little tightly, de-stress and relax.
Lavender is an incredibly popular choice for many people, but don’t be afraid to ask for a substitute if there is a specific fragrance that does a great job in helping you relax, de-stress, and more fully ease into the moment.
Try Additional Aromatherapy at Night
There’s no question massage has some outstanding effects when it comes to fighting insomnia and sleep loss, but you can further tackle these potential issues by adding essential oil aromatherapy at night. Pick a relaxing scent for the bedroom that is fresh, delicate, and will help you ease into that transition of relaxing and getting rest.
Many people find that sometimes using the same scent for the massage as well as evening aromatherapy can go a long way to anchoring the two together, so you find it easier to relax and get the most out of both experiences.
So What’s The Verdict?
Even without the extra sleep benefits figured into the equation, it’s not difficult to talk people into a good massage, whether for relaxation or therapy. The verdict is actually quite clear at this point: massage is a great way to improve overall health and that includes getting a much better night’s sleep.
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