Nerve Relaxation Mechanisms Activate Even After Stroking – Research

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The relaxing effect of the massage is not a surprise to most readers. However, there is very little scientific evidence on the physiological effects of massage. German scientists first described in detail one of the effects of a 10-minute massage on the body. The authors described their discoveries in Scientific Reports.

Scientists from the University of Constance in Germany focused on the effects of massage on the parasympathetic nervous system. It is part of the autonomic nervous system that is responsible for many of the body’s functions when the body is at rest. It also helps us relax after stress. The study authors were primarily interested in the response of the vagus nerve, the largest parasympathetic nerve.

The study involved 63 women who were divided into three groups. Participants in the first group received a ten-minute neck and head massage, the purpose of which was to actively stimulate the vagus nerve. For the second group, the massage was carried out more gently, it was closer to stroking. The third group did not undergo any intervention, the women just sat quietly for 10 minutes.

Physiological parameters of relaxation were collected by scientists by measuring the pulse and determining the heart rate variability. These indicators may indicate that relaxation has begun and the parasympathetic nervous system has entered the process. Also, the authors of the study surveyed the participants, how relaxed they feel.

Stress relief – psychological and physiological – was experienced by women in all three groups. The participants who received the massage showed much more expressive signs of effective work of the parasympathetic nervous system. It didn’t matter how intense the massage was.

“You don’t need professional help to relax. You just need someone who can stroke your shoulders for 10 minutes: this will be an effective way to start your physiological relaxation machine. ” told Maria Meier, lead author of the study.

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