Massage – the healing power of touch


Guest blog from Ten Health & Fitness

In the UK, we are not exactly known for being a tactile nation. Especially post-Covid when even the most enthusiastic huggers and cuddlers amongst us have found ourselves more unsure or reluctant to lean in physically. Yet the benefits of touch are significant and given the impact of the past couple of years it’s more beneficial and necessary now than ever.

Our experts in Ten Health and Fitness’ Massage Team know those benefits can be even more significant and valuable when that touch comes in the trained, focused and meaningful way that a massage provides.

All too often Massage is seen as either as a luxury or a ‘nice-to-have’ service, or to ease 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 and scientifically proven way to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression.

The science of touch

We all know how good it can feel to have a hug from someone close to you, or to receive a pat on the back for a job well done. That’s because of the signals these touches send to our brain, triggering the release of Oxytocin– commonly known as the love drug – as well as the two other happy hormones, Serotonin and Dopamine.

But according to Ruth McKinnon, Ten’s Head of Massage, the intentional, informed manual contact of Massage Therapy goes even further. Along with boosting the ‘happy hormones’, it has been proven to lower levels of the hormone Cortisol.

Cortisol is a key component in our stress response, essential for quick reactions in emergencies. But when present long-term, even in lower quantities, it’s harmful for the overall health of the body.

Increasingly, as Ruth explains, Massage is starting to be seen as a valuable element in health care to help relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress, and sleeping disorders. And with a greater understanding of Massage’s ability to improve both physical and wellbeing, it’s also increasingly used in cancer units and palliative care departments.

Even when there are fewer physical symptoms to treat –pain, sore muscles, twinges and niggles etc – much of the emotional benefit we receive from a massage is due to the positive effects of touch itself.

In 2013, a study was conducted that measured the effects of massage in on occupational stress experienced nurses in by Intensive Care Units. One group were given twice weekly massages for four weeks, while the second group received no massage at all. The results showed a significant decrease in occupational stress scores for the first group, compared to the group that received no massage – showing the benefits regular massage can have in combating the everyday stresses that affect so many of us.

How much massage do you need?

Ruth advises that, excluding injury recovery, an hour’s massage every 4-6 weeks is adequate for most of us, whether that’s Sports Massage for regular exercisers to keep the posture aligned, aid mobility and deal with any niggles and twinges, or Therapeutic Massage to help maintain overall physical and mental wellbeing. But having said that, if you can fit in treatments more regularly, there’s no reason not to. (Unlike exercise, Massage is not something you can easily overdo.)

Finding the right therapist for you

In terms of 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 bios or any ‘About Me’ pages, which will give you a better idea of where their interests and passions lie within their chosen field. (For instance, someone who works solely 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 has been part of the Chiswick community since 2008, with its friendly welcoming 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 exercise alongside the trademark Dynamic Reformer Pilates classes that have kept it’s loyal clientele lengthened strengthened and toned.

Ten Health & Fitness is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme. To see their current offers to Club Card members go here: Ten Health & Fitness Club Card offer.

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