Insomnia, Serotonin and Massage Part 1

Published on 28th June 2021

Insomnia, Serotonin and Massage

Insomnia is associated with a lack of serotonin. Massage increases serotonin levels.

Chronic insomnia is poor sleep every night or most nights for more than six months. This endless cycle can cause extreme fatigue, problems with concentration and can adversely affect a person's mood and well-being. Recurring insomnia should be evaluated by a healthcare professional or a sleep disorder specialist.

Methods of treating insomnia cover a wide span of lifestyle adjustments, psychological services, Western medical treatments and complementary/alternative medical choices. Under that last category, complementary/alternative medical choices, be certain to include massage therapy as a viable option to help the sleep deprived. While it may not be the first appointment that an insomniac thinks to make, looking at the neurochemistry of sleep, and the effect massage has on that neurochemistry, may provide a solid link between massage and insomnia treatment.

A study on back pain, conducted in January 2000 by the Touch Research Institute in conjunction with the University of Miami School of Medicine and Iris Burman of Miami?s Educating Hands School of Massage demonstrated that in addition to a decrease in long-term pain, subjects receiving massage experienced improved sleep and an increase in serotonin levels.(3)

This massage study employed twice-weekly, 30 minute massages for five weeks. 

In addition to other assessments, a sleep scale to measure quality of sleep and urine samples to measure levels of serotonin were used. The results of this study were originally published in the International Journal of Neuroscience in 2001.

Massage is an intelligent, healthy and substance free choice to help the scores of people that have insomnia. Because serotonin plays a role in sleep in multiple areas of the brain, it is logical to seek ways to increase serotonin levels for people that are sleep deprived. In addition, serotonin is needed for our bodies to produce melatonin. As melatonin influences the sleep stage of our circadian rhythm, a natural way of boosting serotonin is a positive sleep inducing option. This connection calls for further research showing the direct affects massage therapy has on serotonin and sleep. In the meantime, the existing evidence is certainly enough to condone regular massages for sleepless clients.

 

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