Integrative Health Blog

Massage and the Mind-Body Connection

Posted by admin on Mon, Apr 02, 2012


Touch is a Basic Human Need

Why does massage feel so good?

When most people consider touch they think of skin and its soft, (or not so soft) supple texture, but touch reaches far deeper than the surface of our skin.  Since touch affects us physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually, our sense of touch reaches into the corners of our memory banks, and can change us.

In the modern day fast-paced culture we live in, balancing our lives so that healthy touch is part of our lives can be difficult. Incorporating massage is a powerful answer to this dilemma.  

Massage and the Body-Mind Connection

How does massage address this basic human need for gentle touch?

Massage educates or re-educates the body-mind connection via the skin. The skin, our largest organ, acts as an outer brain, filtering messages to our nervous system via hundreds of receptor sites. As the nervous system sends out the signals, the tension in the muscles begins to dissipate and the feelings of relaxation begin.  Massage also increases the release of endorphins (the "feel good" chemicals) in the brain, which further helps to reduce pain and ease muscle tension while calming the nervous system. It can be helpful in reducing stress and anxiety as it promotes relaxation and a feeling of well-being.

Benefits of Massage

Massage relaxes muscles, decreases soreness and fatigue, muscle tightness, stiffness and muscle spasms. It increases circulation and has a positive effect on the body's connective tissues, skin, cardiovascular system, lymphatic and endocrine and digestive system. 

Massage can help improve sleep, energy, and mood and reduce headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain and help to balance emotions.

This complex, yet beautifully designed, natural communication system, co-mingles with all the influences in our lives, past and present, and in this way impacts our state of health and wellness.

When we don’t receive enough healthy touch, our body’s need for it expresses itself in other ways, and can lower our general sense of well-being and immunity and vitality.  

Reasons for Massage

According to American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), in 2018-2019:

The primary reason people received massage was for health and wellness reasons.4

  • 70 percent of adult Americans who had a massage between July 2018 and July 2019 received it for medical or health reasons such as pain management, injury rehabilitation, or overall wellness.

  • 42 percent of consumers received a massage during the same time period for soreness, stiffness/spasms. 

  • 49 percent of consumers received a massage during the same time period for pain relief/management. 

  • 87 percent agree that massage can be effective in reducing pain.


How we have experienced touch in our lives orients us or sensitizes us to what feels good, bad, or familiar.   Massage feels good because it’s based on the natural flow of our body - when we’re tight tired or strung out our bodies harden and nothing flows ‘right’. 

Massage changes that, and feels good too.

Massage is a wonderful, safe and healing therapy.



Experience massage at National Integrated Health Associates, NIHA, an integrative medical and dental center serving the Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia metro area. Highly skilled massage therapists offer massage and bodywork, oncology massage and Reiki. Call 202-237-7000 to schedule.

 Updated 2020

Topics: mind-body, massage