Adrenal fatigue is a commonly experienced syndrome in today’s world of stress and high energy.  The adrenal glands are located near your kidneys, and their job is to make the main hormones that control our response to stress: cortisol, norepinephrine, and epinephrine (adrenaline).  If your cortisol level is either too low or too high, it sends messages throughout the body which affect your digestion, immune system, nervous system, and all your other hormones.

A little stress is completely normal, and good for us–this is something everyone has. The important thing is your body’s ability to recover from stress. If you’re not sleeping or eating well and continue in stress mode for years, you’re headed for overall burnout because your body doesn’t have the chance to recuperate from the damage caused by the stress.  If we don’t give the adrenal glands a chance to rest and recover by giving them a break from the stressful situations that stimulate them, we are highly likely to start feeling not so well.  Symptoms of over-worked adrenal glands include everything from fatigue and low energy, to insomnia, dizziness, blood sugar irregularities, muscle weakness, frequent infections, and mood changes.

So what can be done to restore the delicate balance provided by healthy adrenal glands?  Be kind to yourself. This might seem simple, but is very hard for most people. Lighten the expectations that you have of yourself and take time out of each day for some “me time.”  While we cannot live a life completely free of potentially stressful situations, we can certainly change our capacity to cope with those challenges we do face.  Massage can be an extremely helpful part of maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle, and in lowering your stress levels.  Here are just a few ways that massage can help your adrenal system:

  • Massage therapy can reduce stress hormone levels and stress related symptoms.
  • Massage increases circulation, helps to relax the nervous system, improves sleep patterns, and improves your overall sense of well being.
  • Massage lowers cortisol levels, and increases serotonin and dopamine – perfect for defusing that adrenally fatigued brain on high alert so that your hormones can come back to a more normal balance.
  • A single massage reduces temporary anxiety that results from a stressful situation. Multiple massage treatments reduce general feelings of anxiety and depression.

Of course, massage alone won’t fix all stress issues and restore adrenal health in a single session.  It’s part of a bigger picture for a more mindful lifestyle that takes care of your needs and helps support your body in the healing process. Talk to your massage therapist about why you are seeking massage therapy — this will help your therapist choose the best style and approach to your massage. Use massage therapy for relaxation, not as an alternative to medical treatment.