Yes! Massage can help not just relieve overworked and ‘stressed’ muscles but it can also help with psychological stress too.
You may feel pain in your muscles when your feeling emotionally or psychologically stressed, as your mind and body are connected and this is when it’s time to slow down and make time to relax because you may have been over doing it.
Massage can help relax your mind and body as a massage is often a very enjoyable and relaxing experience and can also help get the muscles return back to their original relaxed state by lengthening them or simply by releasing the toxins and getting the blood flowing again.
The reason why your muscles tense up during stress is because your muscles get into a ‘flight or flight’ state and prepare themselves for action as if they are preparing themselves for a flight. You muscles contract and they can shorten and can therefore become painful when you are overtly stressed as they are in this unnatural level of tension for too long.
I treated one of my regular clients in the Practice Rooms in Clifton today who suffers from anxiety and low mood and his muscles tense up in the middle of his back when he’s feeling stressed. The main aim of the massage session was therefore to help him to relax and I had some relaxing music playing in the background as well.
He said he felt much more relaxed after the session and because he was psychologically relaxed during the massage, his muscles were more able to relax and therefore as well as me applying pressure to loosen the muscles his relaxed state also helped to relax them.
The muscles in his upper back (upper Trapezius and Levator Scapula) were also tight due to his ‘slumped’ (forward head posture) posture due to feeling down and anxious a lot of the time and his Pectoral Major and Minor muscles were also tight due to this. His Rhomboids and middle Trapezius muscles were knotty due to being inactive and weak. This is an interesting example of the overuse and underuse of various muscles.