04 Feb Massage tips from the pros: Loving pain and the chemical emoji
So you’ve decided to give massage your partner a for Valentine’s Day. Good idea! It turns out that about 15 minutes of massage cause the body to release some serious feel-good hormones. So find a comfortable spot for your partner and remember take your time! Here is this year’s pro massage tip:
Sometimes you have to love pain away.
I was given this advice years ago in my advanced Rolf Structural Integration training. Nothing to date has proven more effective for an area of pain than treating it with love.
Massaging with long smooth strokes for at least 15 minutes can result in feelings of love and attachment in your partner. Your loved one‘s central nervous system will stimulate the neuroendrocine system to produce a Valentine’s bouquet of neurohormones.
Just a quick note about neurohormones and the neuroendocrine system. Your endrocrine system is a hormone communication system – basically it sends emojis to the body-wide social network. NEUROendocrine cells are just hormone creation cells that have a nerve plugged into one side and squeeze out a hormone on the other side.
It turns out massage is really good at switching on the feel-good neurohormones. Although several are affected, there are three in particular that we are really interested in –
Each of these neurohormones does something different and nuanced and special in our bodies.
Dopamine affects joy and inspiration and motivation – the runner‘s high is a dopamine dump – as well as the fine motor control used for actions like music playing. Without enough dopamine, life loses some of its luster.
Seratonin is an emotional regulator that helps to reduce anxiety and depression, heal wounds (see the Natural Killer blog post), regulate sleep, and also plays some role in digestion.
Finally, oxytocin supports feelings of attachment during pregnancy, birthing, and lactation – this is the cuddle hormone. It also counteracts the effects of cortisol found in high levels during periods of stress. So when you go into a massage to de-stress, that is happening on a chemical level.
So give a little love! And if you’d rather let the pros to do it for you, you know where to send them.