Massage – the healing power of touch



Ten Health & Fitness Guest Blog

In the UK, we’re not exactly known for being a touch nation. Especially after Covid when even the most enthusiastic hugs and hugs among us found themselves more uncertain or reluctant to lean physically. Still, the benefits of touch are significant and given the impact of the past two years, it is more beneficial and necessary than ever.

Our experts on the massage team at Ten Health and Fitness know that these benefits can be even more meaningful and valuable when that contact is delivered in the entrained, focused and meaningful way that a massage provides.

Too often, massage is seen as a luxury or a “nice to have” service, or to relieve sore, tight muscles and help heal sprains and strains. But for the expert massage therapists at Ten Health and Fitness, it’s also a highly effective, scientifically proven way to help relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression.

The science of touch

We all know how good it can be to have a hug from a loved one or to receive a pat on the back for a job well done. It’s because of the signals these contacts send to our brains, triggering the release of oxytocin – commonly known as the love drug – as well as the other two happiness hormones, serotonin and dopamine.

But according to Ruth McKinnon, Head of Massage at Ten, the intentional, informed hand touch of massage therapy goes even further. In addition to boosting “happiness hormones,” it has been shown to lower levels of the hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is a key part of our stress response, essential for quick reactions in an emergency. But when present long term, even in small amounts, it is harmful to the overall health of the body.

Increasingly, as Ruth explains, massage is beginning to be seen as a valuable part of healthcare to help relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress and sleep disturbances. And with a better understanding of massage’s ability to improve both physique and well-being, it’s also increasingly being used in cancer units and palliative care wards.

Even when there are fewer physical symptoms to deal with (aches, muscle aches, twinges, etc.), much of the emotional benefit we receive from a massage is due to the positive effects of the touch itself.

In 2013, a study was conducted to measure the effects of massage on job stress for experienced nurses in intensive care units. One group received massage twice a week for four weeks, while the second group received no massage. The results showed a significant decrease in job stress scores for the first group, compared to the group that received no massage – showing the benefits of regular massage in combating the daily stress that affects so many of us. .

How many massages do you need?

Ruth advises that, with the exception of injury recovery, one hour of massage every 4-6 weeks is enough for most of us, whether it’s a sports massage for regular athletes to to maintain aligned posture, to help with mobility and to manage annoyances and twinges, or therapeutic massage to help maintain general physical and mental well-being. But that said, if you can get treatments more regularly, there’s no reason not to. (Unlike exercise, massage isn’t something you can easily overdo.)

Find the right therapist for you

To learn how to find a suitable therapist, Ruth recommends doing some research.

First, find out their qualifications or experience, but also be sure to read their bio or any “About Me” page, which will give you a better idea of ​​their interests and passions in their chosen field. (For example, someone who only works with sports teams may not initially seem like someone who works with the mental side of massage, but reading where their interests lie may indicate otherwise.)

Ten Health and Fitness have been part of the Chiswick community since 2008, with their welcoming and friendly studio located opposite the Post Office in Barley Mow Passage, just off Chiswick High Road.

The award-winning fitness and wellness provider offers massage, physiotherapy, personal training and clinical exercises alongside Dynamic Reformer Pilates branded classes that have empowered its loyal clientele to grow stronger and stronger. tone up.

Ten Health & Fitness is a member of the Club Card program of the Chiswick Calendar. To see their current offers to Club Card members, go here: Offer of ten Health & Fitness Club cards.

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