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Massage benefits for relationships

Oxytocin—the hormone-like chemical produced in the brain when we feel safe, connected, and receive caring touch—regulates the arousal level of our nervous system, and it produces a sense of safety and openness in our relationships.

Whenever we feel stressed, volatile, or are escalating into an argument, the stress hormones that are coursing through our body have revved up our nervous system out of our window of tolerance. And whenever we shut down and withdraw, disconnecting and isolating for safety, our nervous system has become too constricted, and we are unable to engage and repair relationships.

At these times, therapeutic massage is especially valuable since oxytocin is one of the most effective tools we have for regulating the physiological arousal or dampening down of our nervous system. Because oxytocin is also the neurochemical basis for the felt sense of safety and trust, it is the hormone of relational repair. It instantly antidotes the fight-flight-freeze response to any perceived threat or danger. Stress hormone levels are reduced, blood pressure is lowered, and we become less emotionally reactive.

This emotional calming can facilitate greater flexibility and openness, and restore a sense of connection that enables more collaboration and creativity. And when we feel safe and relaxed, we are able to be more generous and loving to everyone around us.

Safety. Openness. Massage.

Massage Therapy Palo Alto



Self-care is important. Remember, tending to our self-care is just as important as outer activities and responsibilities because it is essential for maintaining balance, staying healthy, and feeling good. Nurturing ourselves is rooted in self-love, and it requires healthy boundaries, so that we can say ‘yes’ more often to what supports our well-being, and ‘no’ to what isn’t in our best interest.

Do what nourishes you. Make a list of all the things that you feel deeply nurtured and rejuvenated by. It might be doing yoga, creating art, curling up with a great book, walking in the woods, relaxing with friends, soaking in the tub, sitting in silence. Set aside time during the day, week, and month to tend to what helps you stay peaceful and renewed. Especially through the busy holidays, this is essential self-care.

Get weekly massage. There’s nothing like aware touch to bring you back into your body. Too much overdoing can truly make you feel ‘out of touch’ with yourself, as well as disconnected from those around you. Slowing down, bringing attention to the breath and your sensate world is grounding and calming, transforming stress and moving you back towards balance. Massage is a delicious way to help you relax, so you can better enjoy this holiday season!

Massage Therapy Palo Alto

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