Can Massage Improve Sleep?


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CHARLOTTE – Three times this week I’ve had two clients actually fall asleep on my table. As a therapist, I take that as a compliment. If you can sleep during a massage there might be all sorts of reasons. Maybe you’re exhausted. Maybe it’s the late part of the day when a lot of us seem to have an energy lull (around 3 pm). I like to say that you feel safe in my office and you’ve decided to sink down into the moment and relax into a lovely absence of wakefulness.

Scientifically though,  I found a study showing that your falling asleep as a result of a massage is no accident.



Pubmed.gov addressed the decrease in cortisol (your stress hormone) after a massage as well as an increase in serotonin (your sleep hormone) and dopamine (your feelgood hormone) Cortisol, although it has a positive effect in limited quantities, is not good to constantly have in your bloodstream. In fact, it can be downright harmful. The decrease of cortisol was on average around 31%. It’s also significant to see the serotonin increase was about 28% and the increase in dopamine was around 31%! This is significant.

Can massage improve sleep? It appears that it can and I’ve had clients to go home and say they’ve had the best sleep in a while. Maybe it’s reducing the stress hormone, or maybe it’s the increase in the sleep and positive feeling hormones, but whatever the reasons schedule your relaxation massage and see if it can benefit you!

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Lisa Lane
Lisa Lane is owner and lead therapist at Massage Sanctuary in Mint Hill. She specializes in pain management and is certified in neuromuscular techniques. Lisa lives in Mint Hill and is currently President of the local chapter of the Kiwanis Club. She is an active member of the community and enjoys travel, family time and trying to be the best photographer ever with her camera phone.