Massage Therapy Can Help You Sleep Better

scarlson By scarlson, 23rd May 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Health Clubs & Spas>Massage

Sleep disorders are very common. Most people don't realize that massage therapy can actually help improve your sleep. A natural sleep disorder remedy that requires nothing more than a gentle touch.

Massage therapy is a known method to reduce stress and tension, but can it really help you sleep better? The research shows that massage therapy can help you sleep.

How Can Massage Help Me Sleep?

If your child couldn't sleep, what would you do? You would probably stroke their hair or rub their back because massage is a natural and instinctive way to soothe and relax.

Massage Therapy Promotes Relaxation

All of us have an autonomic nervous system comprised of two parts: the parasympathetic and sympathetic. The parasympathetic balances the sympathetic. When you have a massage, the parasympathetic is activated and thus allows your body to relax. When you are stressed, the sympathetic is activated and you will feel the urge to fight or flight. So if stress and tension are the reasons why you are not sleeping very well, you might be relieved to know that one of the benefits of massage therapy is improved sleep patterns. It is not uncommon for some people to even fall asleep while having a professional massage.

Common Sleep Disorders

A sleep disorder can seriously affect your quality of life, whether you have sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, or the more common sleep disorder, insomnia.


Insomnia is very common. Statistics Canada reports that an estimated 3.3 million Canadians over the age of 15 have trouble falling or staying asleep. That's one in every seven Canadian who has some type of sleep problem. Sometimes insomnia can be a symptom of a physical problem (i.e. asthma, arthritis, back problems, heart disease), but it can also be the result of anxiety and stress.

Some of the Common Causes of Insomnia include:

- Stress
- Anxiety
- Depression
- Pain
- Aging and changes in sleep patterns
- Caffeine
- Irregular Schedule

Research on Massage Therapy and Sleep

Several studies have shown how massage therapy not only lessened lower back pain and headaches, but also helped patients sleep better and lessened their anxiety and depression (Hernandez-Reif et al, 2001; Sunshine et al, 1996; Field et al, 2002; Hernandez-Reif et al, 1998). Another interesting massage study shows how critically ill patients reported having improved sleep patterns, both in the quality and quantity of sleep, compared to those who received only relaxation exercises (Culpepper-Richards, 1998).

Many people report that they have much deeper and more restful sleep after receiving a massage or reflexology session.

What the research confirms is this: if we are stressed or sleep deprived, our health becomes seriously compromised. Sleep promotes our own innate ability to heal. Massage therapy can benefit those with sleep disorders.

© Copyright, Sylvia Carlson, 2006. Reproduction without permission prohibited. Previously published by


Massage, Massage Therapy, Relax, Relaxation, Sleep Better, Sleep Deprived, Sleep Disorder Remedy, Sleep Disorders, Sleep Problems, Stress, Tension

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author avatar Denise O
24th Sep 2012 (#)

Oh for sure but, as an insomniac (have been one for at least 3 decades) even a good massage does not do the trick but, it sure does help in so many ways also. Thank you for sharing.:)

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