ELLE magazine Is Massage The Key To Better Sleep?
How to help balance your sleep hormones with self-massage.Can massage manipulate your sleep hormones?
by Bridget March
So how does this link to massage? Well, 'Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques can be prescribed to address NRS,' Maciejewska explains. 'Plus research has shown that the chemistry of sleep is relevant to massage therapy because massage can directly influence the body's production of serotonin and the creation of melatonin'. Beata Aleksandrowicz, a massage expert and the creator of the Pure Massage Spa Training Method, says that these two hormones, plus cortisol, play a vital role in our sleep patterns.
'Levels of the hormone cortisol are often elevated in people who are stressed (yes – that's most of us) which can lead to insomnia,' she explains. 'Massage helps to balance the hormonal system and it's proven that massage can reduce the level of cortisol by an average of 30 per cent.' We'll take that.
When it comes to serotonin – our happy hormone which influences our wellbeing, appetite, memory, sexual drive and sleep – Aleksandrowicz explains that, 'Whilst it needs light and exercise to thrive, studies have also shown that massage can help to boost serotonin levels up to up 28 per cent.'
In addition, melatonin, 'the sleep-inducing hormone which increases with the darkness of the night,' as Aleksandrowicz puts it, can be triggered by the pressure applied during a massage.
"One hour of massage provides the body with benefits that are equivalent to a power nap"
If you wanted another excuse to book in a massage, let Beata provide one. 'While improving the sleep experience, simply one hour of massage provides the body with benefits that are equivalent to a power nap,' she says.