Can Massage Therapy Change the Way You Sleep?

Is Massage the Key to Consistent and Restful Sleep?

Nearly one third of American adults report suffering from occasional bouts of insomnia. For some, this statistic may come as a surprise but for most, either you or someone you know deals with sleeplessness on a regular basis. The reasons for insomnia are manifold, often the inability to fall and stay asleep is connected to a series of healthcare problems. However, treating insomnia as a symptom of a more complex holistic healthcare issue may open up the possibility for natural health and wellness solutions to emerge.

You can identify chronic insomnia by noticing you are experiencing cycles of extreme fatigue and poor concentration, followed by adverse affects on mood and overall well-being. This type of recurring insomnia should be discussed with a healthcare professional. Before giving up, surrendering yourself to the fate that you will never have a proper sleep schedule or regular energy levels, please consider the wide range of lifestyle alterations and holistic treatments available. While insomnia is treatable with psychological services and biomedical treatments, there are also many complementary and alternative methods for solving your sleep problem. Massage therapy is often used as a complementary treatment for sleeplessness. Neurochemistry suggests that serotonin, a neurotransmitter which plays a large role in regulating mood, behaviour, body, temperature, physical coordination, appetite and sleep, can also be converted by the brain into melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone released by the brain’s pineal gland to quiet and reset the part of the brain that regulate circadian cycles to prepare for sleep.


All of this is relevant to the relationship between massage and sleep because massage can directly influence the body’s production of serotonin. Studies indicate that integrating massage into one’s lifestyle simultaneously decreased long-term pain and improved sleep with an increase in serotonin levels. Using massage for 30 minutes twice-weekly is said to improve the quality of sleep and increase serotonin the the body. Recognizing the power of massage, a substance-free, natural and healthy solution to sleeplessness, could help millions of sleep deprived people restore a balanced circadian rhythm and boost serotonin for a happier, healthier life.

Shepherd, Gordon M., MD, D.Phil., Neurobiology, Oxford University Press, 1988. (pp 517-528).
  • Lambert, Craig, PhD. “Deep into Sleep,” Harvard Magazine, July/August 2005.
  • “Research: Massage Eases Lower Back Pain, Increases Range of Motion,” Massage Magazine, January/February 2002.