Neurohormones are generally the specialized hormones secreted in the hypothalamus region of the brain by neurosecretory cells. They are essentially chemical messenger molecules that propagate to different parts of the body in order to pass on information.
Massages initially started as a way of relaxation or to reduce the stress in muscles. Soon, numerous benefits of massage therapy started getting revealed. Modern science reveals that massage therapy is not only good for our body but also for our mind and the nervous system. Massage therapy directly or indirectly induces secretion of hormones that make us happy, relaxed and more focused. Some of these neurohormonal effects have been listed in this blog post.
Increase in dopamine levels
Massage therapy induces dopamine secretion. Dopamine acts as a neurotransmitter. Its primary job is to transmit information between the nerve cells. Dopamine levels generally regulate the emotions, focus and mood.
Higher serotonin levels
Massage therapy indirectly helps increase serotonin levels. Serotonin secretion is generally induced by the dopamine hormone. As a result of the surge in dopamine secretion, serotonin is also released. Serotonin controls cravings for food, sex etc.
Reduces adrenaline and norepinephrine levels
Massage therapy calms down the massage receiver by reducing the adrenaline and norepinephrine levels. Adrenaline and norepinephrine levels are increased by the emotions fear or anger. These were originally associated with the primitive instincts of ‘flight or fight.’ Though most interactions by human beings in the modern society don’t need these instincts, these instincts generally kick in automatically.
Reduces cortisol levels
Cortisol, commonly known as the ‘stress hormone,’ is produced in the adrenal gland. It is a steroid hormone. It works with other hormones to regulate mood, motivation and fear. Massage therapy helps in reduction of cortisol level. The reduction capability of cortisol by massage therapy is the also one of the main reasons that massage therapy has a calming effect on the receiver.
Increase in oxytocin levels
Oxytocin is a binding hormone that promotes the feelings of care and attachment. The release of oxytocin levels in the brain effects emotional, cognitive and social behaviors. Oxytocin is also associated with childbirth and lactation. Massage therapy regulates and increases the oxytocin level.
One must be careful and get massage therapy from professionals only. As it can be noted from above, massage therapy certainly helps in secretion, regulation and balancing of multiple hormones. It is helpful in inducing the parasympathetic state. In the parasympathetic state, the body and the nervous system calm down. This phase is required by our body to re-energize and rejuvenate itself.