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Can massage be anti-aging?

by Jane McClurg 15th February 2017

If I said to you “Relaxation Massage” what are your first thoughts? I’ve been asking around and most people say...Light and fluffy, a treat or luxury, or a gift for someone else or even some even said pointless! I’d like to change your perception of a relaxation massage if I may!

Let’s start by changing its name to restorative massage because this is actually what it is.

A restorative massage should be seen as part of your well-being, an on-going maintenance of:

  • muscles and fascia
  • joints
  • nervous system
  • emotional well-being
  •  and even your brain!

When you think about it the body is always replacing cells, and according to Dr Jonas Frisen, he believes the average age of all the cells in an adult's body may turn out to be as young as 7 to 10 years, but because of degrading DNA, our cells are reproduced in less than perfect ways, hence the aging process. So all the more reason to look after the cells we’ve got right? And one of the major accelerants of aging is stress.

How does stress age you?

Yes we are going back to prehistoric times when tigers would jump out at you and try and eat you for dinner and so the body responds to this threat with pumping you full of adrenalin and cortisol (and other hormones in a cascade effect) which takes away blood from “non-essential” processes such as digestion and re-directs it to the areas that are going to save your butt...that is the muscles in your legs and arms so you can run away, and the heart beats faster to help with the circulation, the pupils in the eyes dilate so you can see the best escape route, and the release of metabolic energy stores such as glycogen, ready for use by the muscles.

So now jump ahead 50,000 years where the tiger is now 100 emails a day, 4 deadlines, 1 child’s school play, another child’s soccer uniforms to wash before tomorrow, dinner, gym...gasp, gasp, gasp!!
Adrenalin and cortisol are through the roof...so your tummy feels like it’s in knots and your panting like a dog instead of nice deep diaphragmatic breathing and you’ve got a constant headache and your shoulders are up around your ears and that niggly hip pain just won’t go away and you can’t sleep through the night....arrrgggg!

You need a restorative massage

Having a bit of time-out scheduled in just for you where you don’t have to do anything. You may not completely relax in the first massage because you’ve been wired for action for so long, but it will come if you make them regular.

How does massage help?

  • By switching on the parasympathetic nervous system which is the “rest and digest” reflex...so next time your tummy gurgles in the middles of your massage, be proud! You’re relaxing...yay!!
  • Releasing tight muscles and fascia/connective tissues which ease tension headaches and return your shoulders to their rightful place
  • Also enabling you to have a good night’s rest which is your main time of muscle repair.
  • The enjoyment of nurturing touch (that some people just don’t seem to receive these days and is so important for our healthy psyche),
  • Returning your breathing to a better rhythm (although you will have to work at maintaining this)
  • Better digestion which can lead to a world of better energy throughout your day (provided you fuelling it with nutrient dense veges, fruit, protein and good fats like olive oil and avocados).

The research

Some research has been done that proves massage can reduce anxiety but also enhances EEG pattern of alertness and math calculation as reported in the International Journal of Neuroscience, 86. There have been studies also to show that a slightly firm massage can be more relaxing than a light fluffy one but each massage is always individually tailored to your needs on the day here at Balance.

A regular restorative massage can do wonders for you (and those around you!) and by reducing your stress you can fight the signs of aging and not just on the outside but on the inside too.

Don’t view it as a treat because your body deserves it, and don’t leave it up to the scientists to tell you that it works, come and experience it for yourself!

 

http://www6.miami.edu/touch-research/AdultMassage.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/02/science/02cell.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

 

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