New Study Shows Massage Measurably Reduces Stress

  • Massage Therapy
  • March 11, 2024
  • 3 min read
Massage reduces Stress

Most massage therapists will be able to tell you in detail about how effective massage therapy is at reducing stress. While the science might have lagged behind the practitioners a little, scientists from the University of Konstanz in Germany have provided measurable proof that massage triggers the body’s parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS).

What Is the Parasympathetic Nervous System?

The parasympathetic nervous system is one of three parts of the human autonomic nervous system. Often referred to as the ‘rest and digest system,’ the PSNS controls many of the subconscious processes they body undergoes when it is at rest. 

The PSNS works in concert with the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the fight and flight reaction. The two systems work together to allow the body to react and recover from periods of stress. 

The Study

The University of Konstanz’s study used three different groups. The first group received 10-minute head-and-neck massages designed to stimulate the PSNS. The second group received a less targeted massage. The third group received no massage. 

The scientist measured each group’s heart rate variability (HRV) to determine PSNS activation and how relaxed the participants were. 

While experiencing periods of stress, the sympathetic nervous system causes the heart to beat rapidly and steadily. When relaxed, the heart beat is slower and less regular, increasing the HRV. The higher the HRV, the more relaxed the participants reported feeling.

The Results

The study found that just 10 minutes of massage activated the body’s parasympathetic nervous system and increased the heart rate variability, leading to a greater feeling of relaxation. Psychologically, all participants who were given massages reported feeling less stressed and more relaxed after the tests.

This study is proof that massage therapy is an essential tool in activating the PSNS and combatting the adverse side effects of stress and its related medical conditions. 

Join One Of The Best Massage Therapy Schools In Las Vegas Today!

At Northwest Career College, we operate one of the best Massage Therapy Schools in Las Vegas, and our Massage Therapy Course will teach you the skills you’ll need to apply the benefits of sports massage. The benefits of massage therapy are widely recognized, with employment for massage therapists expected to increase by 22% between 2014-2024, with an average massage therapist earning $39,360 a year. Additionally, many massage therapists maintain active, private practices, increasing both their flexibility and earnings. 

Our massage student clinic is open seven days a week, for both your and your client’s convenience, and we offer day and night classes to accommodate your work and family schedules. Our instructors are experienced professionals who will prepare you to sit for either the NCBTMB (National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage) or the MBLEX (Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards) exams, and we are proud of our 100% board pass rate. Call us at (702) 403-1592 to speak to one of our enrollment specialists today!

Ivy Adams
Massage Therapy Program Chair

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Ivy is a proud graduate of Northwest Career College, class of 1999, and has been a Licensed Massage Therapist ever since. Her eighteen years of experience has taken her through an eclectic array of…Read Full Bio