It can’t be stressed enough how important sleep is to your overall health. Countless studies show that lack of sleep in adults can lead to an onslaught of health issues, including increased cortisol levels, cardiovascular disease, disruption of the body’s production and regulation of hormones and neurotransmitters, and more.
Despite this, experts report over 50 to 70 million are currently experiencing sleep issues, such as persistent insomnia, sleep apnea, Restless Legs Syndrome, and other sleep disorders. On the other hand, you may simply be experiencing temporary trouble falling asleep, or poor sleep quality.
No matter the root cause, quality sleep is essential to your overall health and wellness. But, can massage help you sleep?
Regardless of whether your sleep problems are ongoing or have recently begun, it is likely that regular massages can have many benefits, and lead to positive results when it comes to sleep quality.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, it’s important that you start by pinpointing the possible cause of your poor sleep quality. Sleep disorders can manifest in many forms, both mental and physical. The most common sleep disorder, insomnia, tends to act as a catch-all term, meaning you lack the ability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep.
Quite a number of things can lead to insomnia. You can experience insomnia during a period of high stress. You could experience insomnia as a side effect of medication, or you may have an underlying condition such as arthritis. It’s important to consult your doctor first and foremost, then move on to your own personal body and lifestyle assessments.
While it can be difficult to identify the root cause of your sleep disorder, many of them can be improved upon with massage.
While there is not always a clear cause for insomnia, research published in the 2017 Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics that chronic pain can be a huge contributing source. Massage can help by aiding in pain management, assisting with overall muscle relaxation, and improving circulation.
Stress is another contributor to insomnia. Massage can help by promoting relaxation, and reducing stress hormones.
If you’ve ever experienced a tingling, achy, or creepy-crawly sensation in your legs when attempting to fall asleep, it could be Restless Legs Syndrome. Oftentimes, this can be a side effect of medication, muscle tightness, or brought on by stress. Massage can help by forcing those muscles to relax, leading to less pain and better sleep.
According to studies on holistic treatments performed by the Mayo Clinic, additional sleep disorders that can be improved by massage include:
Massage therapy is considered to be a part of integrative medicine. The act of massage consists of a certified professional, i.e. a massage therapist, manipulating your body tissue using movement and pressure.
More and more, massage therapy is being recommended by medical professionals to accompany standard medical treatment, and aid in overall good health. Studies show that regular massages not only improve sleep, but increase serotonin production, relieve stress, reduce cortisol, relieve muscle tension, improve immune function, and much more.
Time and time again, studies show that therapeutic massage can improve quality of life by promoting less stress, less pain, and better sleep. Here’s how massage helps benefit your sleep:
When you improve your sleep quality through massage therapy, it quickly benefits your overall health. Here are some ways massage therapy benefits your health:
There are many types of massages that help improve sleep. When you’re exploring the benefits of massage, make sure to consult a professional massage therapist on which type of massage might be best for you.
If you’re one of the 50 to 70 million Americans experiencing sleep issues or insomnia, massage therapy can help. Start by consulting your doctor, and try to identify the root cause of your insomnia. In many cases, you’ll find there is no obvious reason you are experiencing insomnia. Assess your body for pain or other issues, then consult a massage therapist to see what type of massage can help you fall asleep.
Research conducted by the Mayo Clinic suggests massage therapy can be used to aid in the treatment of numerous medical conditions, one being sleep disorders. If you notice you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep, it’s possible you have a sleep disorder. Reach out to your family doctor, as well as a licensed massage therapist, to see if massage therapy is the right option for you.
While there are endless benefits to getting regular therapeutic massages, there are some risks involved. Some of these risks may become apparent if you have any of the following issues:
It is important to consult your doctor before pursuing massage therapy as a means to improve your quality of sleep.
There are many benefits to seeking professional massage therapy from a certified massage specialist, but there are countless options available if you’re seeking to get your massages at home.
If you’re seeking a licensed massage therapist, you’ll most likely take a few factors into account. First, consider what type of massage you’ll reap the most benefits from. You may want to try different types of massage therapy before settling on one. If persistent back pain is keeping you from falling asleep, seeking a professional may be your best option, as it can be difficult to treat these hard-to-reach areas with at-home options.
It’s important to remember that massage can much more effectively help with sleep disorders, if you stay consistent. If you’re going for professional massages weekly, or even monthly, it could cost you. Consider at-home options to keep up with maintenance in between massages.
Some options for in-home massage therapy include massage chairs and pads. Depending on your budget, a one-time purchase of a full-body massage chair may do the trick. If you’re looking to save money, moveable electric pads are available for placing on problem areas, such as your upper or lower back.
If you struggle with Restless Legs Syndrome, foot and calf massagers are available in a number of different price ranges. Massage guns have recently increased in popularity, and you can easily use them on yourself or a partner.
Massage therapy can be an immediate and enjoyable solution to achieving your best quality of sleep, but not without consistency. When you choose massage therapy to help you sleep, it’s important to remember these tips and tricks.