Why Massages Really Make You Feel Good

You probably already know that a massage can be overwhelmingly relaxing. A single massage session can relieve tension, improve pain, and promote overall health and well-being. Until recently though, medical experts didn't really understand why massage therapy really helps improve your mood and helps you relax. Many massage clients report having a feeling of euphoria or "brain tingles" while getting a massage. There's a medical reason behind this.

What the Research Reports 

In June of 2018, researchers from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom presented their study on the autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). The term "autonomous sensory meridian response" is a sensation some men and women experience in response to specific sensory triggers, such as touch, sound, or smell. This is why massage therapy includes a combination of sensory triggers. When you get a massage, you might feel a warm, tingling, pleasant sensation. This is your ASMR, although not all men and women experience it.

How You'll Feel

ASMR sensations can be either physical or psychological, and you could experience one or the other -- or both. Generally, physical ASMR responses begin with a tingling sensation that develops throughout your scalp. The sensation gradually moves down into your neck and down your spine, providing a relaxing feeling throughout your entire body. 

If you experience this physical phenomenon, you're likely to have a reduction in your heart rate.  The researchers reported that the reduction in heart rate was similar to what men and women experience if they participate in similar mindful activities, such as meditation or listening to soothing music. 

With the psychological benefits of ASMR, you're likely going to experience a boost in positive emotions, calmness, and relaxation. You may also feel sleepy, and if you do fall asleep, you're typically able to reach a deep, relaxing state of sleep, even during a massage. 

Additional Details

Researchers also noted that men and women experience ASMR sensations during other activities, such as while getting their hair cut. This study was the first of its kind to make a connection between your ASMR and physical and psychological benefits. That relaxing sensation is a real thing that affects many massage therapy clients.

The next time you're feeling stressed, you know that getting a massage can truly help you feel more relaxed. The happy sensations you get from a massage can clear your mind, so you're more productive throughout the rest of your work week.