Massage is the ideal complementary therapy for symptoms of allergies. Many people suffer from some form of allergies, and massage therapy is a good way to alleviate your clients' symptoms, and their body benefits in other ways, too!
This blog was posted on Natural Therapy Pages titled Massage for Allergies. The article was published on June 11, 2010, and can be found here.
What are Allergies?
The term allergy may be used to describe the reaction produced by the body when it encounters something foreign. When an allergic reaction occurs, the body responds by producing antibodies and/or releasing specific chemicals called histamines. When released into the system, these histamines trigger an inflammatory response otherwise known as an allergic reaction. Common allergens include certain drugs, dust, molds, insect bites, plants, and foods.
Benefits of Massage for Allergies
Massage therapy may relieve many symptoms of allergies, as well as create feelings of relaxation and good health in the allergic individual via massage’s healing power of touch.
Through touch, massage pushes down on nerve cell receptors under the skin, activating the nervous system and stimulating the release of mood-enhancing chemicals such as dopamine or serotonin. Massage also generates a calming effect through the stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system, reducing the body’s level of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) that are often found responsible for an allergic response.
Massage works by stimulating the release of natural endorphins, creating a natural high that may help relieve a person from their allergic symptoms. Brain activity is also altered with massage, with the alpha brain waves being increased producing a state of relaxation.
The reduced level of stress hormones and state of relaxation combined also strengthen the immune system which is then able to react less to certain allergens. Allergic individuals are likely to also experience a stabilization of blood sugar, increased immunity and improved lung function from massage therapy which all combined help reduce the severity and rate of allergic reactions.
Massage Reduces Stress That May Trigger Allergies
Massage induces the body into a state of relaxation, inciting a biological mechanism that inhibits the brain from releasing chemicals that trigger a physical allergic reaction. Massage also reduces stress levels and therefore keeps your client's allergies in check by lowering their heart rate, regulating blood pressure and by improving blood circulation.
Massage offers muscle relief
Chances are, you client is in seeing you because seasonal allergies are making them miserable. Every sneeze or cough is similar to a mini whiplash, causing tension, even pain, in their neck, shoulders, and upper back. By relieving this muscle tension and helping him/her relax, sinuses will relax and encourage drainage.
Relaxation also helps to slow reactions to allergens. In a study done in 1992 by the Touch Research Institute showed "Massage, by reducing stress and anxiety in a person, allows the immune system to function normally due to a decrease in blood cortisol (a stress hormone) levels. This can aid in reprogramming the body’s response to allergens and thereby easing related symptoms."1
Massage alleviates symptoms of allergies
Mucous resulting in the nose and throat from an allergic reaction may be cleared with massage. Phlegm is loosened with a gentle tapping on the area above the chest, and with long slow strokes from the chest to the throat that encourages mucous expulsion.
Sinus allergy symptoms may also be relieved with a good sinus/facial massage. This works to clear any allergy sinus congestion by using acupressure techniques upon the head and face, and by using finger pressure to stimulate mucous expulsion via the mouth and nostrils.
Reflexology is a great way to calm down the nervous system and coerce your mind to go into a state of rest, repose, and relaxation. This can be done by activating the reflexology points for allergies found on your face, ears and feet and hands. After one invigorating session, you will feel you needed this! 2
- The balls of the toes or the sinuses can open up blocked sinus cavities.
- The center of the big toe or where the master gland is located helps stimulate and balance hormones of all other glands.
- The thymus gland which is located in the upper inner edge of the ball of foot help strengthen your fledgling immune system.
- You lungs, chest, and bronchial which are located in the center of the ball of the foot can let go off congestion.
- The point known as the solar plexus/diaphragm is located under the ball of the foot at center as it helps reduce stress and helps initiate relaxed breathing.
Massage should be seen only as a complementary therapy for symptoms of allergies and is in no way a replacement for required medications. If you are interested in trying a massage to help relieve you of your allergy symptoms, please speak to a massage professional for more information.
1. Fahrenbruch, Elaine. “Massage Therapy for Allergies?” Massage Therapy for Allergies?, Park Community Journal, pccjournal.com/articles/Massage_therapy_for_Allergies.html.
2. Mukherjee, Bipasha, et al. “Reflexology points for Seasonal Allergies- Explore these 9 points.” Modern Reflexology, 30 Nov. 2017, www.modernreflexology.com/reflex-points-for-seasonal-allergies/.