How Does Massage Therapy Help Detox?

in Addiction
Published Jan 15, 2021
how does massage therapy help detox

Gallus’ Massage Therapy services are currently suspended, they will resume after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Detoxification, or detox, is the process of removing drugs and alcohol from the body. During detox, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms may occur, which are typically managed in medical professionals’ presence. Massage therapy is a holistic form of treatment used to heal the mind, body, and spirit. It is also useful for managing any sore muscles or tension in the body during the detox process.

What Is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is used to manage health conditions or to enhance wellness. It involves manipulating the soft tissues of the body. Massage has been practiced in most cultures throughout human history and was one of the earliest tools people used to relieve pain. It is now used to help patients with cancer, fibromyalgia, HIV or AIDS, pregnancy, and addiction recovery.

A single massage therapy session can help improve anxiety related to a particular situation, blood pressure, and heart rate. Multiple sessions can improve general anxiety, depression, and pain.

There are several different types of massage therapy. The most common form of massage in Western countries is Swedish or classical massage, which is the core of most massage training programs. Other styles include sports massage, clinical massage, Shiatsu, and Tuina.

Promoting Detoxification

The squeezing and pulling motions associated with massage therapy help flush lactic acid from the muscles and boost blood flow to the limbs. This improvement in vascular function continues for several days after the massage. Since massage therapy helps improve circulation, it can help flush out toxins in the body associated with the detox process. The stimulation of blood and lymphatic fluid also helps promote the utilization of oxygen-rich nutrients into various body organs and tissues.

During the detox process, dopamine levels drop drastically, creating uncomfortable sensations. Massage therapy focuses on the body’s pressure points linked to the brain’s vagus nerve. Through regular massage therapy, dopamine levels will rise, easing the uncomfortable feelings of withdrawal.

Releasing Endorphins

Substance abuse prevents the release of natural endorphins and an individual who has just entered recovery may need a little extra help with convincing the body to manufacture these chemicals. Research has shown that massage therapy increases the number of beta-endorphins in the blood. Beta-endorphins are manufactured in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland and offer a substance-free way for individuals in recovery to start to feel more like themselves again.

Reducing Chronic Pain

For an individual who turned to substances to relieve pain, such as prescription opioids, massage therapy is an alternative pain reliever. Regular massage can lower pain levels and promote restful sleep, improving mood and energy throughout the day.

Going back to prescription medication to treat pain may cause a risk of relapse. Fortunately, massage therapy, especially when combined with other treatment methods such as acupuncture and yoga, can naturally increase the body’s serotonin levels and relieve pain.

Reducing Stress

Massage therapy helps those in recovery feel more relaxed by lowering cortisol levels. Chronic stress can weaken the immune system and create mood disturbances. Cortisol is the body’s primary stress hormone. It increases glucose in the bloodstream and increases hormones to promote tissue repair. An excess of cortisol can lead to stress-related problems such as weight gain, digestive issues, headaches, sleep disturbances, and difficulty concentrating.

Enhancing Self-Awareness

An essential part of addiction recovery involves learning to manage personal addiction triggers. Regular massage helps build awareness of the body, including where tension exists and patterns that can increase negative emotions. This can make it easier to develop productive coping strategies for controlling cravings and avoiding relapse.

Addressing Co-Occurring Disorders

If an individual suffers from co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), massage therapy can help by activating the body’s relaxation response. While it should be combined with talk therapy, massage therapy can help you feel more open and comfortable expressing your emotions. Massage therapy can help enhance overall treatment and recovery effectiveness, reducing the urge to use substances to escape mental health symptoms.

The Benefits of Touch

Massage therapy helps the brain associate physical contact with positive sensations. Five of the most basic human needs include safety, trust, control over one’s life, feeling of value, and experiencing closeness with others. The intimacy of massage therapy provides a safe and therapeutic way to meet these needs and offers a healing foundation. Other benefits of touch during massage therapy sessions include:

  • Releasing “feel-good” hormones such as serotonin and dopamine and decreases cortisol levels
  • Reducing agitation and anxiety
  • Helping ease sleep problems
  • Providing a natural, alternative healing method without substances
  • Helping with the removal of metabolic waste
  • Providing a connection to the body and increases body awareness
  • Building trust

Massage therapy is an effective treatment in helping the detox process. It is used all over the world to manage health conditions and enhance wellness. Massage therapy can promote the removal of toxins from the body, release endorphins, reduce chronic pain, reduce stress, improve self-awareness, and help treat co-occurring disorders. Through touch in massage therapy, an individual can also learn to build trust. Massage therapy is a holistic form of treatment that should be used in conjunction with IV therapy to relieve withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal can be frightening, uncomfortable, and even life-threatening.  At Gallus Medical Detox Centers, we use proprietary, evidence-based medical protocols along with massage therapy that prioritizes our patients’ comfort and safety to guide them through the detox process. Our personalized treatment is delivered in a safe and peaceful environment. For more information on massage therapy and how to start the detox process, call Gallus Medical Detox Centers at (866) 296-5242.