Do you ever wonder why your body physically hurts so much when you are feeling emotionally drained, stressed or anxious? Recent studies have shown that emotional pain affects the same parts of the body as physical pain. This is important to note when it comes to massage therapy as many people most commonly use massage therapy to help heal sore muscles and for physical pain relief. So, why isn't it as commonly known to get a massage to just help with different emotions or daily stress in life?
The article "Where Does Emotion Hurt in the Body?" by Alan Fogel discusses why people feel pain in the same areas as when they feel physical pain."When people feel emotional pain, the same areas of the brain get activated as when people feel physical pain: the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex. In one study, these regions were activated when people experienced an experimental social rejection from peers. In another more real-life study, the same regions were activated when people who had recently broken up with romantic partners viewed pictures of the former partner." -Alan Fogel Ph.D.
Massages not only help relax muscles, relieve pain and aid a sore body, but also help with emotions. In the article Therapeutic Massage for Anxiety: How Touch Therapy Improves Mental Health, the author Lecia Bushak discusses how touch therapy improves mental health specifically deep tissue massage therapy. "Swedish massage therapy — which involves the more traditional, deep-tissue massaging you’re used to — appeared to be the most effective in reducing anxiety and depressive symptoms, the researchers found. Light touch therapy — the practice of gently placing hands on different parts of someone’s body to “release energy” — meanwhile, didn’t show as much of an effect on the participants anxiety levels."
In the article The Power of Touch by Maria Konnikova, the author talks about how touch is one of the first senses humans develop and remains a need throughout our entire lives. Touch is not only important as in child development but imperative in adulthood well. Physical touch is proven to increase levels of dopamine and serotonin which help regulate mood, relieve stress and anxiety.
"Touch is the first of the senses to develop in the human infant, and it remains perhaps the most emotionally central throughout our lives."
So, if you are feeling pain in your body and aren't sure what it stems from it could be anxiety or stress. Why not try out massage therapy as a way of relief? Based on extensive research it's shown that it not only helps physically but emotionally as well.