“Sleep affects almost every tissue in our bodies,” says Dr. Michael Twery, a sleep expert at National Institutes of Health (NIH). “It affects growth and stress hormones, our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular health."
Research has proven massage therapy a safe and effective way to relieve pain, reduce fatigue, and improve sleep for a wide range of conditions, including insomnia in children and adolescents, cancer, and even those recovering heart surgery.
In addition to the physical relief of pain and tension that massage provides, “Massage helps people spend more time in deep sleep, the restorative stage in which the body barely moves, which reduces the neurotransmitters associated with pain.” says Anne Williams, director of education, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals.
Research has also shown that massage therapy reduces levels of the "stress-hormone" cortisol, while at the same time increasing levels of dopamine, the "feel-good" hormone. Massage therapy also directly influences the body’s production of serotonin, which is essential for the production of melatonin, a hormone critical for healthy sleep cycles.