Menopause, Hormones and Massage

 

As a women transits through her menopausal years, the bodies hormones begin to fluctuate and take on a life of their own ! 

 

It is well documented that massage has a very positive effect on our hormones. Studies show that massage can help balance mood levels and increase the availability of all hormones affecting brain chemistry.  Some of the hormones that are affected by massage include ... 

 

Dopamine ... the happy hormone !

Massage tends to elevate the levels of dopamine, which influences fine motor activities like painting or playing a musical instrument. It affects our intuition, inspiration and joy,  however when dopamine levels drop we become clumsy and easily distracted.

 

Serotonin ... the level headed hormone !

Massage helps to raise the availability of serotonin, a hormone that regulates behaviour in terms of emotions, stemming irritability and cravings for food, alcohol and sex etc.  When levels of serotonin are low we might find it difficult to sleep, suffer from depression, suffer a loss of libido and be generally irritable.

 

Adrenaline ... the hormonal equivalent of an espresso !

The job of adrenaline is to prepare the body for the ‘fight or flight’ response in times of stress.  It has been found that a short 15 minute seated massage can elevate adrenaline levels by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system  which in turn  helps to increase a person’s state of alertness.  A slower massage on the other hand might reduce adrenaline helping us to relax and achieve a deeper sleep.

 

Endorphins ... applied aspirin ?

When pressure is applied to tender muscle tissue to relieve pain, endorphins are created ... these hormones are known to reduce pain and produce a sense of euphoria.

 

Oxytocin ... a hormone with a hug !

Another hormone, Oxytocin supports feelings of attachment and can help during pregnancy and giving birth. 

In actual fact, oxytocin generally increases in most people through touch  ... this could be from greeting friends with a hug, stroking your dog or cat and more obviously via a massage! 

 

Cortisol ... the hormone of hair loss ?

Massage therapy has also been shown to reduce levels of Cortisol ... the stress related neurohormone. Benefits of reduction in cortisol are increased healing, decreased stress and the ability to relax. 

 

Growth Hormones ... hormonal hospital !

Massage generally encourages sleep which can increase the availability of growth hormones promoting cell division, tissue repair, regeneration, and healing.

 

Some of the many symptoms of the menopause that can be helped by massage are as follows: 

 

Dry skin and headaches ...

Apart from the benefit of lovely oils being massaged into the skin, headaches would benefit from a therapeutic head, shoulders and back massage, releasing tension and increasing endorphins.

 

Insomnia and other sleep disturbances ...

A slow, relaxing massage can reduce adrenaline and cortisol, helping the body relax, reduce stress and aid sleep.

 

Changes in appearance ...

Regular massages would benefit a menopausal women by helping to make her more aware of her body.  A gentle relaxing massage releasing oxytocin and dopamine would definitely help and encourage a women to love and accept her changing appearance.

 

Emotional and cognitive changes including mood swings, depression and forgetfulness ...

Reduced cortisol and increased serotonin and dopamine in your body will hopefully mean less stress, anxiety, and depression. It is known that the right hand side of the frontal lobe of the brain is more active when we're sad, and the left side's activated when we're happy, studies have observed that massage decreases activity in the right lobe and increases functioning in the left.  This makes massage an absolute must for menopausal women !

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