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A Guide to Massage for Insomnia

By Lubna Sheikh on 1st April 2020

baby massage guide
Insomnia is a sleeping disorder where a person has trouble falling asleep. This translates into sleepiness throughout the day and a higher risk for depression, low energy, higher irritability, and nervousness.

This is not merely a case where someone is hot and bothered in the night, or cannot settle due to overthinking about a conversation or event that has happened. Insomnia is a medical condition that leaves those living with it completely unable to drift off for prolonged episodes at a time.

Other consequences of insomnia can include the risk of car accidents and troubles learning and concentrating at work or at school. Insomnia can either occur on its own or it can be a consequence of another underlying issue.

One of the most common risk factors for insomnia is excessive stress, as are conditions such as heart failure, heartburn, menopause, or substance abuse such as alcohol, drugs, coffee, or medications.

There are two types of insomnia in general:

  • Acute insomnia
  • Chronic insomnia

The first type lasts for shorter periods but is more severe in nature. Most often, it’s a result of the current situation in life. Chronic insomnia is a more prolonged condition and can be the result of various factors.

Treating insomnia is possible, sometimes by addressing underlying problems, or with holistic approaches. One of the best is a massage for insomnia. This is where we can help you.

At Bodywork Massage London, our therapists have been trained to perform techniques and holistic approaches on clients that will specifically relax the mind and muscles, enabling them to reach a level of equilibrium intense enough to drift off.

How Does Massage Work to Relax You?


More and more medical centres are employing massage experts to help them combat several disorders, including insomnia. Massage for insomnia is one of the best ways to alleviate the problem, as it has several benefits for you. You might not notice them at first, and you’ll only feel the relaxation when you’re massaged.

But massage can trigger several hormonal changes that can, over time, massively improve your sleep quality. It promotes the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps the brain produce melatonin.

And it is melatonin that promotes you to fall asleep quickly and deeply. Research has also found that massage can trigger the release of delta waves, which are present in your brain when you sleep deeply.

Everyone will tell you how massage can have relaxing effects. But it does take at least three weeks to notice significant changes when it comes to your quality of sleep.

Sleep Can Improve Your Life

Sleep matters, more than some would believe. A recommended dose of daily sleep is from 6-8 hours, although some have adapted to sleep for a shorter amount of time. But a chronic lack of sleep can lead to several mental problems. A lack of concentration, stress, irritability, nervousness, and bad mood.

Good sleep will allow you to live a better life. These are just some of the biggest benefits of good sleep.

  • Higher energy levels
  • Better concentration and a sharper mind
  • Lower risk for insomnia-connected diseases
  • Lower stress levels
  • A boost to the immune system
  • Better academic performance or performance at work
  • Better memory
  • For children, better growth, energy, and IQ levels

What Causes Insomnia?

Sometimes, insomnia can be the result of no particular reason. Most likely, it’s a consequence of an underlying problem. A poor diet and lack of physical activity can increase the chances of insomnia, but there are some other reasons behind it.

1. Stress and anxiety

Anxiety and stress relating to your current life situation can cause insomnia. When going through a tough period, such as a divorce, job loss, loss of a loved one, or other factors, your stress levels will be extremely high. That can cause acute insomnia in the short-term and chronic insomnia in the long-term.

2. Unregulated sleep hormones 

Hormones can also be a problem, and these can be easily addressed with holistic approaches. Massage for insomnia is one of them that’s perhaps among the most effective ones

3. Pain or soreness 

Muscle or postural pain or soreness will cause stress on your body, and you might not be able to fall asleep as a result. Chronic pain is an issue, so it might be worth addressing the pain first.

4. Too much coffee, alcohol, or other substances

Coffee can get your body hooked to it, especially too much of it. Once you cut it off, insomnia starts to kick in. The same goes for other substances

5. Medical problems.

Some of the most common include depression, allergies, high blood pressure, asthma, hyperthyroidism, restless leg syndrome.

A Good Massage Wires Your Body to Sleep


It’s not uncommon to see people fall asleep during a massage. A skilled masseur will be able to relax your body so much that you might fall asleep. That’s because the body enters its healing mode, the so-called parasympathetic phase. [1]

And when it starts healing, the brain receives a signal that it’s time to sleep. So it’s the biological changes in your body and brain happening during the massage that is making you sleepy.

Types of Massage That Help With Sleep

  • Swedish massage is a relatively easy massage that focuses on your muscles
  • Shiatsu is also called the finger massage, and it stimulates your blood flow
  • Hot rock massage or treatment
  • Sports massages
  • Pregnancy massage

Who Can Benefit From the Massage?

Almost anyone suffering from insomnia can benefit from massage for insomnia.

  • Children, teens
  • Adults
  • Infants (also those with dyssomnia)
  • Elderly people
  • People with psychiatric disorders
  • Hospitalized people
  • People suffering from lower back pain, migraines, hand pain
  • People with cancer, cerebral palsy, heart disease, breast disease

The 5 Pressure Points for Sleep


Stimulating these pressure points with massage can massively increase your sleep quality. They can be done by yourself, but preferably, by a professional.

The points include: [2]

  1. The Spirit Gate – located on your wrist below your pinky finger. It’s the hollow space in your wrist. Massage both sides for about 2-3 minutes
  2. Three Yin Intersection – just above your inner ankle (four finger-widths above your inner ankle)
  3. Bubbling Spring – the depression on the sole of your foot when you curl your toes inwards
  4. Inner Frontier Gate – on your inner forearm between the two tendons of your arm
  5. Wind Pool – on the back of your neck, where the neck muscles attach to your skull

Self-Massage for Insomnia

The best thing about massage for insomnia is that it can be done at home, by yourself. There are five pressure points that you need to address: [3]

  • The sole of the foot

Doing this while washing your feet is best. Warm-up your feet in hot water and then use your thumb to massage the centre of the sole of your foot for ninety times

  • The head

First, rub your hands so they are hot, and rub your face with the hands for 10-20 times. Then, with your middle finger, massage the area between your eyebrows for 30 times. Next, massage the ridge along your eyebrows for 30 times

  • The ears

Massage your bilateral auricles with your thumb and index finger. Then, massage your earlobe until it feels warm

  • The neck

First, massage the depression next to the mastoid ridge of your ear. Move to the muscle on the side of your neck and massage it. Then, place your palm onto your middle back of the neck. Hold, and move upwards and downwards

  • The abdomen

The last area to massage is your abdomen. Rub your hands so they are warm, and massage your abdomen clockwise 20 times, and then counterclockwise 20 times. Alternate your palms

Does Massage Work With Other Sleep Disorders?

Yes, massage can also be effective for other sleep disorders that include: restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy.

What Essential Oils Help With the Massage?

You can use a couple of drops of essential oils in your bath to improve your sleep, along with the massage. These are the best essential oils for sleep:

  • Lavender
  • Chamomile roman
  • Benzoin
  • Vetiver
  • Marjoram
  • Nutmeg
  • Clary-sage
  • Valerian

Risks of Massage for Sleep

When performing a massage for sleep at home, there are certain risks that can be avoided with a bit of common sense. Here are some tips to avoid any risks associated with massaging at home:

  • Don’t pour hot oil on the skin directly
  • Refrain from using a soft bed as a surface
  • Don’t go too hard and crack the back of the person you massage

References

[1] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/insomnia-restoring-restful-sleep

[2] https://www.healthline.com/health/pressure-points-for-sleep

[3] https://clarysagecollege.com/news/5-at-home-massage-techniques-to-help-insomnia/

 

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