Massage can improve all kinds of health conditions. Of course, many health problems are deeply tied to poor sleep as well. Acute and chronic pain can disturb regular sleep patterns, cause fitful sleep, or even extend into conditions like increased anxiety and insomnia.
For that reason, the increased levels of oxytocin from massage can help improve sleep levels indirectly. Several studies have shown that people suffering from painful and even serious conditions saw better sleep after a regular massage routine. For example, one study found that back massage was both a safe and cost-effective way to improve sleep among patients with congestive heart failure.
Another study found that massage therapy reduced fatigue and improved sleep patterns of people recovering from heart bypass surgery. Participants found that not only did they sleep better, but pain in their back, chest, and shoulders decreased significantly in only a matter of days with regular massage.
And yet another study conducted in Brazil found that massage therapy helped insomnia symptoms in postmenopausal women. Researchers found that massage had the potential to work well in conjunction with hormonal therapy, and may even have the potential to act as a stand-in to prescription medications.
What’s more, a different independent study conducted in Iran found that the link between sleep disorders and breast cancer in women significantly reduced with regular massage. As with women managing symptoms of menopause, researchers suggested this could be a viable alternative to taking medications.
The studies send quite a clear message: if massage can improve sleep for people with such serious conditions as breast cancer and congenital heart failure, it only makes sense it could help people with less serious illnesses as well.
Massage is an age-old technique that can make a deeply positive impact on your sleep, health, and overall well-being. At the end of the day, it’s about finding which modality is the right fit for you.
Credits: Kayla Johnson and her team from Tuck Sleep.
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