Can Massage Help With Sleep Disorders? A Few Tips to Remember Update 10/2022

Massage therapy has been recognized as a viable treatment option for a wide range of diseases, including anxiety, depression, chronic pain, exhaustion, and sleep disorders, over the past few decades. When we’re just a few days old, we begin to use touch as a way to communicate, anchor ourselves in the environment, and connect with other people.

As a result, the treatment’s positive effects on relaxation and wellness are not surprising. For those who are curious, we’ve done the study and can tell you if evening massage is the secret to a good night’s sleep or a sham. The good news is that there is a good probability that treatment can help you better whether you battle with insomnia, depression or any variety of sleep-related difficulties.

What is Massage Therapy?

A therapeutic massage is likely to be something you’ve heard of from someone who has had one. It’s impossible to say exactly what happens in a normal appointment because it’s so subjective. According to Northwestern Health Sciences University, the treatment focuses on manipulating soft tissues for an overall improvement in one’s well-being, but that improvement can occur in a variety of ways. Additionally, people seek out therapy for a variety of reasons, including as pain relief and relaxation as well as treatment for mental problems and behavioral concerns. Everything from resting on an inclined massage table to having a masseuse drop hot pebbles directly on your skin fits under the umbrella of massage therapy. Having a license is generally required for therapists in most jurisdictions, although this is not always the case. There are therapists all over the world who have been practicing for decades and some who have only recently started.

How Does it Work to Relax You?

So how can it be shown to relax you with all of the discrepancies and variations in treatment? According to massage specialist Beata Maciejewska in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, the treatment may have something to do with how it encourages the creation of serotonin, which can later be converted to Melatonin. It has been shown that the stress hormone cortisol is reduced by 30% when receiving massage, according to this researcher. Studies have indicated that massage therapy can affect the body’s production of serotonin and melatonin, which are both involved in sleep chemistry. In the words of Beata Maciejewska: – Studies at Berkeley’s School of Medicine reveal that touch is the primary language of human compassion, and humans are surprisingly skilled at identifying emotions conveyed through touch. Touch helps Alzheimer’s patients relax, alleviate symptoms of despair, and connect emotionally with others. A massage isn’t a substitute for human relationships, and we don’t think it’s appropriate to have your emotional needs met at their offices. The point is that massage treatment and other forms of touch-based therapy have been shown in scientific studies to have anxiety-reducing and calming benefits that are not necessarily explicable.

Can Massage Help You Sleep?

There are two main ways that massage might help you sleep better. Relaxation can be accomplished in two ways: A lack of sleep can be caused by stress. By reducing cortiso (a stress hormone) and raising serotonin and dopamine, massage helps to alleviate stress (neurotransmitters that help to stabilize mood). Massage can help you sleep better by reducing stress and promoting relaxation.

Managing pain and tension from stress or injury may also help people get a good night’s sleep with massage. There might be a vicious loop created by chronic pain and little sleep. There is a direct correlation between a lack of sleep and an increased likelihood of experiencing pain. Treatment of pain can lead to better sleep. Many types of pain, including headaches, neck and back pain, arthritis and post-surgical pain can be alleviated by massage therapy.

A medical specialist can help you determine if massage therapy is right for you, as well as whether other elements, such as your mattress and pillows may be improved to help you get a better night’s sleep.

Can Massage Help With Sleep Disorders?

Some sleep disorders, such as insomnia, may benefit from massage therapy, but there is little evidence on how it affects other sleep disorders.

Insomnia

Having trouble sleeping or staying asleep is known as insomnia. There are acute and chronic forms of it, which can last from a few days to several months. Primary insomnia is a type of insomnia that does not have a known etiology. Secondary insomnia, in which the inability to sleep is linked to a specific ailment or illness, is a more common occurrence.

There is little evidence to support the use of massage therapy in the treatment of primary insomnia. People with secondary insomnia, such as menopause, cancer caring, and congestive heart failure have discovered that massage therapy can help them sleep better.

Other Sleep Disorders

Massage has been utilized in persons with sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless legs syndrome, despite the lack of evidence supporting its benefit for other sleep disorders. Consult with your doctor if you have a sleep disturbance and are considering massage therapy as a treatment option.

What Types of Massage Are Available?

Each form of massage has its own unique set of practices and goals. Some massage methods are shown here:

  • Swedish massage, also known as traditional massage, uses kneading, rubbing, and tapping to relieve tension in the muscles and increase blood flow to the afflicted areas.
  • Manipulation: This type of massage involves stretching and manipulating the ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the body to increase mobility.
  • In order to relieve stress, a deep tissue massage uses a lot of force on the muscles, which can cause some discomfort.
  • In this style of massage, tense areas of the muscles are the focus of attention.

Having a doctor or professional massage therapist evaluate your circumstances might help you decide the most appropriate massage therapy method.

You may want to consider massage therapy if you’re having trouble sleeping. Pre-bedtime massage is a natural and non-invasive technique to ease your mind and body into sleep.

Types of Massage

Swedish

A lighter strategy focusing on the muscle’s surface layers rather than deeper tissue is the most common in the United States. Relaxing because it isn’t as intense and uses only the hands for massaging instead of other equipment, this method is more common. Using this method, according to the Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, you should experience an increase in joint range of motion as well as a decrease in stress.

Shiatsu

Shiatsu, which literally translates as “finger pressure,” is a form of alternative medicine that includes applying pressure to certain places on the body known as “meridians.”. As acupressure, it has been shown to help the lymphatic system work more efficiently by enhancing drainage and increasing circulation.

According to VeryWellHealth, an alternative method involves applying pressure to the meridians with the thumbs, fingers, elbows, and even knees to remove blockages that prevent the passage of “chi,” or vital energy, throughout the body.

Hot Rock

It’s a 2,000-year-old technique in which heated rocks are strategically placed on the patient’s body. Stones may be kept on to induce relaxation or used in the hands of the masseur to loosen up the muscles.

Typically, basalt, a polished volcanic rock, is used because of its ability to retain heat. According to an article in Medical News Today, these pebbles of varied sizes and weights can be placed on the back, stomach, face, hands, or even feet. Some therapists may even use cold stones to reduce enlarged blood vessels and relax the skin after using hot stones, according to the report.

Sports Massage

However, the benefits of this practice are just as well-documented as those of other relaxation techniques. Athletic trainers, chiropractors, masseuses, physical therapists, and others in the medical field can all perform sports massages.

People’s responses to this treatment may vary since it targets injured or fatigued areas, but it can also be used to avoid injury by physically warming and stretching muscles before to performance. Athletes’ ability to concentrate and improve their mental state may be enhanced by the calming effects of this technique.

Pregnancy Massage

There is some evidence that prenatal massage, not to be mistaken with perineal massage, which involves stretching the birth canal prior to labor, can reduce depression symptoms, relieve joint pain, and even improve the health of both the mother and the baby throughout labor and delivery. According to the American Pregnancy Association, stress hormone production, heart and circulation health, and mood modulation all have a role in alleviating the physical impacts of pregnancy and delivery.

Side-lying therapy for pregnant patients is recommended by APA experts since resting on one’s stomach while the stomach is hung below the table can put undue stress on the ligaments in the belly.

Can it Treat Insomnia?

We’re always happy to share good news with you, especially if it helps you get a better night’s sleep. If you’ve ever tried massage as a cure for insomnia and it didn’t work out, you can rest certain that we’ve done the study to back it up. Patients over the age of 60 benefit the most from this approach. This may be due to the calming effect of touch, which may assist patients with insomnia relax and sleep, according to a number of German research. Massage may be able to substitute powerful sedatives in some situations, which is good news for insomniacs. The combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with sedative-hypnotic medications has been shown to enhance serotonin levels in a similar fashion, reducing the chance of relapse. When hormonal imbalances, such as those associated with menopause, are the root cause of insomnia, some research suggests that treating the condition may be an effective way to alleviate symptoms while also enhancing one’s overall well-being.

If you’re having trouble sleeping because your infant won’t go to sleep, some research suggests that massage could help. The Mayo Clinic recommends using baby oil to massage an infant’s limbs and body to help them fall asleep. Gentle muscular manipulation by a mother can even assist sync an infant’s circadian cycle when conducted before night, according to certain research.

How About Other Sleep Disorders?

Don’t worry if insomnia isn’t a problem for you. There are a number of additional sleep disorders and other conditions that might disrupt sleep that can be properly treated with massage.

Restless Leg Syndrome

RLS sufferers may find relief from their symptoms by taking a warm bath and rubbing their legs before going to bed, according to the Mayo Clinic. As stated in the article, this could make it easier for you to get some shut-eye! You may have less anxiety and better sleep if you combine this technique with other relaxation techniques, such as stretching at the beginning and end of each day.

Sleep Apnea

Researchers in Taiwan found that the traditional Chinese therapeutic massage called as Tui na is safe and effective for treating Occupied Sleep Apnea (OSA) sufferers. Snoring severity and excessive daytime sleepiness were all reduced, as was quality of life, according to the research.

Narcolepsy

According to a study out of Toronto, massage may help people with Narcolepsy sleep better, fall asleep faster, and stay awake while they’re up. During the course of five weeks, researchers tracked the progress of a patient who had been receiving 45-minute treatments on a weekly basis. There may be benefits to trying it, even if it does not cure narcolepsy.

Special Benefits of a Nighttime Massage

In many of these studies, after therapy in the evening, the effects are examined, but this does not necessarily mean that the time of day is the source of the improvement. Although massage in the evening may be particularly beneficial for specific ailments, the short-term effects may be favorable to a restful mood. An hour before going to bed, you can benefit from this treatment by getting it to assist regulate your body temperature, circulation, lessen anxiety, and relax your muscles. People with chronic pain, restless leg syndrome (RLS), mental health disorders, or circulation problems may benefit from this supplement.

Using Massage to Improve Sleep

This is the second part of a three-part series on the topic of sleep. Your objective for better sleep can be achieved by using Natural Body Massage techniques. Our colleagues at Best Mattress Reviews have provided us with some information that you can read about down below.

The fact that massage can improve your sleep is great, but it might be difficult to put this into practice. Here are a few suggestions. You should be able to find one that works.

Get Some Massages

Find a massage therapist or chiropractor in your area and make an appointment. Notably, it does not state, “Receive a Massage.” For this reason, a majority of studies on massage involve more than one massage at a time. Despite the fact that you may benefit from one, your body has a lengthy history of poor sleep. You may need to have massages on a regular basis for some time before you are able to sleep soundly again.

There are a variety of options when it comes to getting a massage. In the Western world, Swedish is the most widely spoken language. Long, smooth strokes, kneading, and circular motions are some of the techniques employed. Sports massage is similar to conventional massage, except it’s geared toward athletes and those who routinely work out. This type of massage is a little tougher and aims to reach deeper layers of muscles that would otherwise go unnoticed by other types of massage. Focusing on specific uncomfortable regions, trigger point massage aims to alleviate pain.

In the end, you’ll feel more calm and sleep better as a result of all of this. Getting massages on a regular basis, on the other hand, can be both costly and inconvenient.

Self-Massage

In the event you are unable or unable to pay for a massage, there are a number of ways you can do at home. These can provide the same benefits as a massage at a fraction of the cost.

Reflexology of the feet. Studies have revealed that massaging the 15,000 nerve endings found on the bottom of the foot can boost health throughout the body. Even though various regions of the foot appear to be linked to specific body parts, massaging the sole of the foot as a whole might be beneficial.

  • Squeeze or push your foot in a way that feels comfortable to you to begin your foot massage. Alternatively, if rolling the bottom of your foot with a lacrosse ball or golf ball feels wonderful, go ahead and do that as well. Give yourself some extra time to work on the area of your foot just below the big toe ball. For 5-10 seconds at a time, press and hold this button.
  • Melatonin production can be boosted by stroking the outside of your big toe. Pressure on the ball of your foot might help you relax your breathing and your neck and shoulders by massaging the ridge of your toes. Massage each foot for 5-10 minutes before going to bed.

Head massage

It may be difficult to massage certain regions of your body yourself, but your head should be easy. A few acupressure points on the top of your head will help you get a good night’s sleep.

  • The best place to begin is the crown of your head, which you can massage with your fingertips. This point is where two lines drawn from the tops of both ears intersect. 100 ties should be pushed straight down or 100 circles should be rubbed here.
  • In the vicinity of your nose, move your eyes to the end tips of your eyebrows. Again, you have the option of applying direct pressure or making tiny circular motions with your fingers. At least 30 ties or circles should be pushed or made.
  • Finally, use a cotton swab to gently massage the area between your brows and immediately below your eyes. Use long, sweeping motions here, stroking the entire brow in a single sweep. At least 20 repetitions of each eye should be attempted.

Face massage

The muscles in your face may be carrying more stress than you realize. This stress can be relieved by massaging your face, which will allow you to sleep better.

  • This massage can begin anywhere on your face that feels tense. Your jaw muscles are the first place to start. With your fingers, draw little circles in the skin. Massage any tightness you find here to the best of your ability.
  • Take a deep breath and move your focus to your temples. Don’t push yourself too hard here; instead, look for soft spots and gently circle around them. You can press harder as soon as the pressure is released.
  • As a last touch, give yourself a little forehead massage. From the bridge of your nose, you can either move straight up and down, or you can follow the arc of your eyebrows until you’ve covered your entire forehead.

To get the best results, use a self-massage technique that works best for you. The more you know about them, the more equipped you will be to use them on any given day. “You should be getting more sleep in the near future.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get the same benefits at home?

Massage parlors might be more fun if your partner is skilled in the art of massaging. When the parents of patients with autism were taught how to provide massage therapy by therapists, the treatment’s effects were still apparent. With a little guidance, it may not always be necessary to have an expert to get the desired results, especially when it comes to touch, relaxation, and enhanced blood flow. If your spouse isn’t able to administer the treatment in a way that makes them feel comfortable, you may miss out on some of the health benefits that come with the medication’s increased production of serotonin. However, a study from Dr. Sayuri Naruse and Dr. Mark Moss of Northumbria University found that both providing and getting a massage led to reduced stress as well as enhanced well-being in both parties — even if they hadn’t previously had any prior experience in massage.

Do not be alarmed if, after you’ve given them a twenty-minute spa treatment, your partner only offers a two-minute token of appreciation. Your labor of love definitely helped them as well.

Are there any risks?

We appreciate the inquiry. Attempting a massage at home comes with a few risks, but most of them can be avoided if you use common sense. Here are a few general rules to keep in mind when trying to get some shut-eye.

1. Do not pour hot oil directly onto the skin

Warming up a bowl of baby oil in the microwave may sound like a nice idea, but it’s probably best to use your hands to do the job. Avoid scalding your companion by making sure the oil isn’t too hot, and don’t pour it directly onto their skin.

2. Do not use a soft bed as a surface

A mat on the floor, or an otherwise firm surface, may be preferable if you or your spouse suffer from back difficulties, as this will prevent bowing or misalignment of the spine. It’s fine to use a firm bed if you don’t put too much weight on it.

3. Don’t crack their back

It’s best to leave the back cracking to the specialists unless you’re a Chiropractor. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you may inadvertently cause extra pain and tightness in your spine. Even if it initially feels nice.

Even though we’ve focused on the many advantages of massage therapy throughout this post, we think it’s necessary to point out that not everyone should undergo the treatment without first consulting a doctor. A second opinion is highly recommended if you have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood thinners, are recuperating from burns or invasive surgery, suffer from osteoporosis, or have any other major medical concerns, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Which type is best for me?

Whether or not there is a perfect massage technique depends on your goals, however there may be a good one for you if you’re in pain. Deep tissue or sports approaches may be an excellent alternative if you want to reduce muscle stress. If you suffer from insomnia, a Swedish or Shiatsu massage may be the best option. You should consult your doctor, a professional masseuse, and yourself to identify the best technique or procedure for you. This list may help you decide which strategy is best for you.

Conclusion

Massage is a broad and diverse field, but it doesn’t have to be difficult to navigate. An increasing number of people swear by the therapeutic effects of couples massage, and the therapy’s long list of health advantages makes it an appealing option for those seeking a drug-free way to improve sleep or relieve stress and anxiety.

For those of us who are exhausted and ready to give up, there is another reason to hope for a better night’s rest. For those who suffer from chronic insomnia or are having trouble sleeping, this therapy may be the missing piece in their sleep routine.

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