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4 Ways Massage Relieves Stress

April Heath


Four Ways Massage Relieves Stress

Image Credit: MB Consulting

While different types of massage (ie Swedish, Deep Tissue, Lomi Lomi, Balinese, Rolfing, Connective Tissue, Neuromuscular etc.) have different benefits, one of the most common is to relieve physical stress.

Swedish massage is application of light to moderate pressure aimed at the superficial layer of muscle. It’s considered safe for most people, although there are some contraindications. 

What makes Swedish massage Swedish are the techniques: Effleurage, petrissage, and compression.


Long, gliding strokes known as effleurage promote a sense of well-being. The strokes on the limbs are aimed toward the heart, which boosts blood and lymphatic circulation.


Kneading the muscle belly in a rhythmic motion, just like kneading bread dough. This motion also boosts blood circulation and relieves muscle spasm.


The therapist applies pressure on an area and holds it for a beat or two. This squeezes fluid out of the muscle tissue, sort of like a sponge. When the muscle is released, blood flow resumes and flushes the tissue.

  1. Improved blood flow is one of the most significant yet overlooked benefits of massage. Boosted blood circulation has an energizing effect and can lift a person’s outlook on the day.
  1. Massage also stimulates the release of endorphins from the brain. Endorphins are hormones that block pain signals, elevate mood, and promote relaxation.
  1. The Relaxation Response is a physiological process when the body switches from sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight), to parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). It can take roughly 15 minutes for the body and mind to make the transition from SNS to PNS. This is a big reason why massage therapists ask clients to put their digital devices on silent during a session. One interruption can ruin the effects.
  2. Decreased cortisol levels. Cortisol is a major stress hormone that primes the body for fight or flight when a stressor is perceived as a threat. Massage lowers cortisol levels, providing an immediate sense of relief.

Swedish massage is generally safe for most people. I’ll be starting a series of Client Education posts. There are certain precautions that therapists have to take in case a client has certain medical conditions.

Woman lying down with white flower in her hair
Bounce back from stress and feel your dazzling best!

Be well,



All comments are welcome and will be responded to. Is massage part of your stress relief regimen?



Social media: Follow me on Facebook @AprilHeathLMT 


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