How to sleep better thanks to massage therapy.

Massage therapy truly reduces your insomnia issues.

A woman sleeping peacefully outdoors, wrapped in a blanket with the moonlit city skyline in the background.

Massage therapy, as a relaxation practice, covers various application fields. Among these areas, we find sleep. How can therapeutic massage influence sleep? To better understand the link between massage therapy and sleep, we propose a presentation on sleep and its related disorders initially; and secondly, the impact of therapeutic massage on it.

Sleep is a fundamental element for maintaining well-being, whether physical, psychological, or social. Health professionals establish a daily sleep requirement for a normal individual, between 7 to 8 hours. When a person sleeps less than this range, it is generally referred to as insomnia. In Canada, the rate of insomnia increased by 42% between 2007 and 2015. Indeed, 24% of Canadians suffer from insomnia (Jean Hamann, 2019).

Insomnia can be considered on three levels. Firstly, as difficulty falling asleep at bedtime (initial insomnia); then when experiencing frequent or prolonged nocturnal awakenings; and finally, when waking up prematurely in the morning with an inability to fall back asleep. In this regard, insomnia can be transient, medium-term, or chronic. Several factors can influence sleep, including age, gender, family history, repression, anxiety, mental hyperactivity, medications, and chronic illnesses. Given its importance, lack of sleep can lead to serious consequences, such as decreased attention, irritability, and eventually depression. To prevent this, what can be done to fall asleep and stay asleep?

Let’s say from the start, not being a disease, insomnia cannot be cured. However, several solutions have been provided to regain sleep. On one side, there are medical solutions, which can sometimes cause undesirable side effects. On the other hand, and complementarily to the first, there are massage therapy interventions. Indeed, massage therapy proposes an intervention on the causes of sleep disorders with specific massage techniques for each type and level of disorder.

Several studies show that massage therapy can help all categories of people regain sleep: menopausal women, those suffering from cancer, migraines, arthritis, and lower back pain, etc. Indeed, • According to the AQTN (2013), massaging newborns promotes weight gain, improves wake and sleep periods, neuromotor development, and emotional balance.

• Researchers wanted to assess the impact of massage on seven postmenopausal women suffering from insomnia. At the end of the study, researchers observed a marked improvement in sleep and a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression among the participants (Oliveira, D. S. et al., 2011).

• A study was conducted among fifty families with a child suffering from cancer who received massage. Parents reported that massage therapy offers comfort and relaxation to these children. Notably, an improvement in the degree of relaxation and sleep quality was reported.

• In Iran, researchers wanted to know if adding massage therapy to medical treatment could impact sleep quality in 57 women living with breast cancer. After observations, they concluded that massage brought relaxation to the individual, allowing them to sleep better (Kashani, F., and Kashani, P. 2014).

From this, we can say that massage therapy can play a fundamental role in sleep if performed by individuals qualified for this task. A well-massaged person is someone renewed, who sees life with a better outlook. For, by eliminating their anxiety and stress, the person will be much more disposed to sleep. Thus, massage, far from being just an instrument of therapy, is especially a well-trodden path leading to well-being.

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