An article on The Medical News website describes how massage helps bereaved deal with grief and find strength to better deal with the situation.
Receiving soothing massages for eight weeks after the death of a loved one can provide much-needed consolation during an intense, stressful period of grieving.
Touch can be very powerful. We all know how much comfort we can gain from a warm hug or just holding hands. Parents especially become aware of the importance of touch when a child is deeply upset or hurt. A squeeze and a magic kiss works wonders.
“Soft tissue massage is gentle, but firm” explains Dr Cronfalk, who carried out the research with colleagues from the Karolinska Institutet. “This activates touch receptors which then release oxytocin, a hormone known for its positive effects on well-being and relaxation.”
Oxytocin is also the hormone that bonds mother and baby, and is the hormone which ensures that couples stay together after the rush of falling in love has passed. The stronger bond between two people, the more relaxation and trust, which in return allows for more healing during a massage.
So not only does the hormone released help with relaxation and a general well-being, it also allows the recipient to open up to work through and release the intense emotions they go through.
“All the people we spoke to used the word consolation” says Dr Cronfalk.
“The massages provide physical touch and closeness and helped to diminish the feelings of empty space and loneliness that people felt.
“Study participants also told us that the massages helped them to balance the need to grieve and the need to adapt to life after the loss of their relative.”
I think these words speak for themselves.
Consider a massage next time you go through an emotionally stressful time and a feeling of loss. All big changes in our lives bring a sense of loss as we let go of the old and prepare to embrace the new. Massage will most likely aid you in the process and it feels good.