Patients may benefit from massage for hormone imbalances.
Types of Hormone Problems
There are many types of hormone imbalances for both men and women. Men may suffer from low testosterone. Women might have conditions such as PMS (premenstrual syndrome), menopause, perimenopause, or PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), for example. Women with PCOS could have symptoms starting with their first menstruation. Weight gain, menstrual problems (irregular, heavy or few to no periods), hair loss on the head and hair growth (on the face, back chest, thumbs, toes, or stomach), oily skin/acne, fertility troubles, insulin resistance, depression, and sleep apnea are all
potential PCOS symptoms.1 Menopause marks the end of menstruation, with the average age of onset as 51. Prior to that, perimenopause symptoms may occur, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, irregular periods, sleep problems, mood changes, weight gain, dry skin, and thinning hair.2 PMS has physical and emotional signs, such as fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain, weight gain, bloating, acne, digestive problems, mood swings, depression, appetite changes, insomnia, and poor concentration.3 For men, low testosterone includes many symptoms as well, including erectile dysfunction (ED), low sex drive, fatigue, and depression. Sometimes it is the thyroid gland instead of the testosterone levels causing the problems.4
Massage for Hormone Imbalances
Patients with decreased libido, fatigue, migraines, infertility, PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, insomnia, mood changes, irregular periods, hot flashes, and poor focus can all benefit from balancing hormones.5 Massage therapy could help to regulate neurohormones, which are produced by the nervous system. Research has shown that massage has mood-enhancing benefits. Massage elevates dopamine, which not only influences the fine motor activities, but it also impacts “intuition, inspiration, joy, and enthusiasm”. Massage also improves serotonin levels, which impacts sleeping, sex, and emotions. Even a “15 minute seated massage can elevate epinephrine (adrenaline) levels”. A longer massage can “reduce epinephrine levels”, improving relaxation and sleep. Trigger point therapy and acupressure create endorphins, which “reduce pain and produce a sense of euphoria”. Massage can also produce oxytocin, which “supports feeling of attachment” during lactation, birthing, and pregnancy. Further, cortisol (stress hormone) can be reduced with massage.6 In a recent UCLA study, massage patients received “15 minutes of moderate-pressure massage of the upper back”. They had their blood drawn prior to and after the massage. Massage was found to increase oxytocin (OT) levels and decrease “adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH), nitric oxide (NO), and beta-endorphin (BE)” significantly, compared to the control group.7
Find out about chiropractic care for menopause.