“Oh it’s my hormones” …….“I’m sorry I’m so hormonal at the moment” We’ve all said or heard these comments at some time or other, and as a society we generally seem to just put up with hormonal imbalance, almost as though it’s a normal state to be in, especially for women. But this really shouldn’t be the case. It’s not normal to be in a state of imbalance, and taking some gentle steps to work with your body’s endocrine (hormone) system can help bring back a state of hormonal balance.
Of course, there are many ways of doing this, and I certainly can’t address them all here, there just isn’t the time! There are so many pieces to the jigsaw. The endocrine system controls almost every function, cell and organs. But what I can address is how massage can help with hormonal imbalance.
One of the hormones we hear a lot of about is Cortisol or the “stress hormone”. Our bodies move between two main states of being – the sympathetic state and a parasympathetic state. The sympathetic state is what’s called fight-or-flight mode. This is when the body triggers the autonomic nervous system’s stress hormones and starts our adrenal response. Sometimes the body perceives a threat to be so intense that it triggers a freeze response This is thought to have evolved in humans and animals as a way of keeping us still, so we didn’t end up as something’s lunch. But what this means for us today, is that our muscles remain tensed and ready for action….action that is never initiated, which in turn leads to the tension and knots that we feel in our backs and necks.
Did you know that most of us are in some level of sympathetic state pretty much all the time, just dealing with day-to-day stress? That in itself is enough to get you stressed! But fear not, studies have shown that massage can assist the body in shifting into the parasympathetic state, or the Rest and Digest state. Massage achieves this by lowering cortisol and excitatory hormones such as norepinephrine and epinephrine levels and increasing dopamine and serotonin “the happy hormone” brining about a state of relaxation and wellbeing.
It’s also good to be aware that although some hormonal changes can occur immediately after a massage, it will take more than one treatment to achieve sustainable long term changes in the body. There is no one-time fix when it comes to the body, it takes a long time for the muscles to get stressed, and it’s going to take a while to reverse that stress. When working with the body, patience and kindness to yourself is key.
So start being kind to yourself today, and take some positive action in getting out of fight and flight merry go round. Book yourself in for a hormone balancing, serotonin boosting massage!
See you on the table.