Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Are you constantly tossing and turning, or waking up feeling exhausted? If so, massage therapy may be the solution for you! Massage has been shown to be an effective treatment for insomnia and can help you get the restful sleep you need. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of touch for a good night’s sleep, and how massage can help you achieve that elusive slumber. So read on to learn more!
Can massage help you sleep?
Adequate sleep is required for optimal functioning, and good sleep is critical to one’s health and wellbeing. Sleep problems, on the other hand, affect up to 50 million Americans every year, leading to poor job performance, slower reaction time, obesity, increased risk of long-term illness, and substance abuse.
Chronic insomnia is exhausting and impairs one’s concentration, causing a variety of problems in terms of mood and well-being. Healthcare professionals assisting patients in overcoming sleep difficulties are critical for promoting overall health and wellness. According to Ralph Pascual, MD, medical director of the Swedish Sleep Medicine Institute (SSMI) in Seattle, an individual’s quantity and quality of sleep have a direct impact on their health.
Although nutrition and exercise are frequently advised as the basis of healthy living, research shows that good sleep should also be included in any holistic therapy. People who sleep less than 8 hours each night accumulate “sleep debt,” which cannot be erased by sleeping longer on weekends.
Massage has been found in numerous studies to help with stress and sleeplessness caused by insomnia, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Digestive disorders
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Paresthesias and nerve pain
- Soft tissue strains or injuries
- Sports injuries
- Temporomandibular joint pain
If you don’t have insomnia, don’t worry. Massage has also been found to help with a number of other sleep problems and other problems that interfere with sleep.
Restless leg syndrome
According to the Mayo Clinic, soaking in a hot bath and massaging your legs before bed can help to relax muscles that cause bothersome tingling sensations associated with RLS. This may assist you in falling asleep more quickly, according to the article. You could feel less anxious and sleep better if you combine techniques like stretching starting and ending your day.
According to a study conducted in Taiwan, traditional Chinese therapeutic massage (Tui na), also known as Tui na, is a feasible and safe treatment for persons with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Patients who received the therapy demonstrated improved quality of life, sleep, snoring volume, and excessive daytime drowsiness, according to the research.
According to Toronto research, massage might help you fall asleep faster, have better sleep quality, and be more alert while awake for people suffering from Narcolepsy. She stated that all recorded sleep metrics had improved by over 100% after observing a patient receiving weekly 45-minute treatments for five weeks. While the treatment isn’t likely to cure narcolepsy, the benefits may be worth trying.
What Types of Massage Are Available?
There are several types of massage, each using distinct techniques and objectives. The following are some examples of massage techniques:
- Swedish Massage: A Swedish massage is a type of massage in which the practitioner uses his or her hands, elbows, and knees to knead, rub, and tap affected regions in order to relax muscles and enhance circulation.
- Manipulation: A forceful approach to massage entails not only rubbing, but also stretching and moving collagen, tendons, and muscles to enhance range of motion.
- Deep Tissue Massage: Deep tissue massage is painful at times because the muscles are massaged with strong pressure, with the goal of eliminating tension.
- Trigger Point Therapy: This type of massage focuses on trigger points, tiny muscles tightness.
A medical or professional massage therapist can assist you in determining the best massage therapy technique for your specific needs.
Pressure points to help you fall asleep
Acupressure is a relatively new scientific study topic. However, several studies suggest that it may be useful in increasing or improving sleep quality.
To use a pressure point, apply gentle but firm pressure with the hand, fingers, fist, or a massager. Some people incorporate acupressure into a soothing massage.
In acupressure and acupuncture, Mian is traditional to point for the treatment of insomnia. Some practitioners also use these points to reduce anxiety, dizziness, and headaches.
- The Mian points are on both sides of the neck. To find them, place your finger behind each earlobe and move your fingers just behind the bone protrusion. Light pressure is enough.
- Although some studies have found that using these points in combination with others can help in the treatment of insomnia caused by depression, further study is needed.
HT7, also called Shen Men, is located on the underside of the wrist, right under the lower arm.
Bend your arm slightly forward and find the crease. Then apply pressure to the outermost part of this fold, on the side closest to the little finger.
In the fight against sleeplessness, a 2010 research found that HT7 may be beneficial. The study included 50 elderly persons who lived in a long-term care facility with a sleep problem.
- One group received acupressure at the HT7 point on both wrists for 5 weeks. The control group received only a light touch in the same place.
- The group receiving acupressure had significantly better sleep rates not only during the trial but also for 2 weeks after that.
According to recent research, daily acupressure at the HT7 point improves the duration and quality of sleep in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and sleep problems. It also reduces the symptoms of sleep disorders.
The SP6 point, which is also known as San Yin Jiao, may assist with sleeplessness, menstrual discomfort, urination, and other pelvic issues.
The highest point of the ankle on the inside of the leg is where you’ll find it. Measure four finger-widths up the leg starting at the top of the ankle. Apply firm pressure directly behind the bone above the ankle.
A 2016 study examined the effects of acupressure on fatigue and sleep quality in breast cancer survivors.
- Specialists used SP6 as part of a relaxing acupressure procedure.
- Participants applied pressure to each point of the exercise, including SP6, for 3 minutes.
- This procedure improved participants’ sleep and quality of life compared to other acupressure procedures and routine care.
LV3, which practitioners also call Tai Chong, can help with unexplained insomnia, as well as stress and anxiety-related insomnia.
To find the point, find the place where the skin of the thumb and the next finger meet. The pressure should be firm and deep.
- Applying pressure to the LV3 point was part of a relaxation procedure in a previous study on fatigue and sleep quality in breast cancer survivors.
- Researchers have found that applying pressure at each point for 3 minutes improves sleep.
The Yin-Tang point is located in the center of the eyebrows, just above the nose. Applying pressure to this point can help alleviate insomnia and other problems, including:
While this item is a common element of acupuncture and acupressure, few studies have been devoted to its effectiveness.
Studies show that stimulating the KD3 point can help relieve insomnia. This point is located just above the heel on the inside of the foot.
- A 2014 study on the use of KD3 and HT7 showed that massage at these points improved the quality of sleep in middle-aged and older patients with hypertension. It also helped to lower their blood pressure to a healthy level.
In addition, acupressure seemed to be more effective than traditional interventions and wellness training among this group.
Does it work?
In addition to the studies discussed above, other research suggests that acupressure can aid in the treatment of sleep difficulties.
In a 2017 study of 112 individuals who suffer from insomnia, sleeping pills and acupuncture were compared. Although acupuncture employs needles, it is based on the same basic concepts as acupressure.
Following both treatments, sleep improved significantly within one month, however, acupuncture was found to be more effective.
However, the majority of studies on acupressure’s efficacy are limited, and researchers can’t confirm whether it’s more beneficial than other forms of relaxation.
Frequently asked questions
What type of massage is good for insomnia?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best type of massage for insomnia will vary depending on the individual. However, some types of massage that may be beneficial include acupressure, Swedish massage, and reflexology.
Can I do acupressure at home?
Yes! Although it’s best to receive massage therapy from a professional, if you’re interested in trying acupressure at home, there are many instructional videos and tutorials available online.
How long should I massage each point for?
Most studies recommend massaging each point for three minutes. However, if you’re feeling particularly stressed or anxious, you may want to massage each point for a little longer.
What should I do if the points are too sensitive?
If any of the pressure points are too sensitive for you, try lightening up on the pressure or skipping that particular point. You can also try massaging another area until you feel more comfortable with trying the pressure point again.
Although the research on acupressure and insomnia is limited, the studies that have been conducted suggest that massage at certain pressure points may be beneficial in improving sleep quality. If you’re experiencing difficulty sleeping, it may be worth trying acupressure as part of your treatment plan.