Massage and Your Autonomic Nervous

By · Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

The effects that massage has on the ANS are primarily reflexive. The ANS is known for it’s regulation of the sympathetic “fight-or-flight” and the parasympathetic “relaxation and restorative” response. When the sympathetic system is activated it puts your body in a state of stress and tension and if this system is activated often enough your body will begin to develop long-term stress, which doesn’t go away when the perceived stressor has gone away. This is where the calming effects of massage therapy can come into play. Applying massage reduces sympathetic arousal. When the parasympathetic system is activated it results in peace and calmness in your body as well as an increase in digestion and elimination. When we become fatigued this system sends the signals to our bodies that it needs to rest. Massage helps activate the parasympathetic system which helps the body transition from a stressed state to a relaxed state.

This is important information for those that constantly find themselves in a stressful state of mind on a consistent basis. If the sympathetic response is constantly being activated and therefore your body is constantly put into survival mode, then even when you want to relax and rest you will be unable to do so. This can lead to insomnia, day time drowsiness, and inability to concentrate on daily task. Without rest your body will not be able to recuperate and repair itself as needed on a daily basis. That is why massage therapy is an important therapeutic tool that is great for treating not only the symptoms of sympathetic over stimulation, but also in helping to subside the over stimulation itself.

Until next time,

Kandace Fields, LMT

Advanced Health Source – Rancho Cucamonga


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