After a chair massage — even a short one — people feel happier, more relaxed, and more focused. Breathing returns to normal, muscles loosen up and the mind becomes more clear.
Technically what’s happening is that after a few minutes of relaxation, the body will start to release the feel-good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. These hormones counteract stress hormones like cortisol.
While a little stress is actually good for us, too much is harmful. Too much cortisol in the body on a long-term basis causes cardiovascular problems down the line – including heart attacks and strokes.
When a massage therapist is working on a muscle knot, they’re applying pressure to an area of muscle fibers that have become jumbled up and stagnant.
Physical Effects of Stress
- Elevated blood pressure
- Elevated stress hormones such as cortisol
- Creates shallow, rapid breathing
- Poor posture creates tight muscles
- Muscle knots created from tension
- Low back and hip pain from sitting long hours of the day
- Decreased sleep quality
- Decreased proper circulation
Mental Effects of Stress
- Rapid, disorganized thinking
- Emotionally “on-edge”
- Difficulty being present
- Increased forgetfulness
- Poor memory recall