Stress And Evolution – Which Are The Best Stress Relieving Massages?

What makes a massage stress-relieving? We can often come across this marker or name in connection with various massages. However, it is worth knowing that all massages are stress relievers (to a greater or lesser extent), so this is not to be understood as a proper name. There is no type of massage called “Stress Relieving Massage”! So the question sounds right: “What makes THE massage stress-relieving?” And the answer is …

The massage treatment relieves stress by its nature


elégedett ügyfél

The easiest way is to first understand the concept of stress.

Stress is a physiological state-being.

A physical and state of consciousness created by the autonomic nervous system that is not a negative thing at all in terms of its normal function. In fact, something positive. When the body perceives danger, the autonomic nervous system stimulates the production of certain hormones. As a result of these hormones, a significant part of the blood flows from the peripheries (hands, feet) and from the then “unnecessary” secondary internal organs (stomach, kidneys, genitals, etc.) to the brain, skeletal muscles and primary internal organs (heart, lungs). .

This physiological state is what medicine calls: state of stress.

fekvenyomó szív - rajz

And what is positive about this? The fact that more blood (more oxygen) increases the performance of our brain, allows us to concentrate better and more persistently. In the same way, our skeletal muscles, hearts and lungs will also perform better and become stronger. To understand the evolutionary essence of this thing, when our ancestors on the savannah found themselves opposite the sword-toothed tiger (stressful situation), their most important thing was not their digestion or reproduction, but to survive the situation (mostly by fighting or running). They were more likely to do this by “turbocharging” the functioning of their brains and the most important muscles needed to move.

This is why the body creates the state of stress. To provide the best possible chance of survival in a sharp, determinative situation.

maszáj harcos egy oroszlán ellen

Of course, this is not what comes to mind about stress, in present days. Due to the effects of modern civilization, stress as a concept has become a kind of negative meaning. Why? Well, the prehistoric man, after defeating the tiger (or running away from it) and passing the stressful situation, calmed down. In this case, a physiological state opposite to stress is created. Its called relaxation. In this case, most of the blood flows from the brain and skeletal muscles to the internal organs and peripheries to help them function (digestion, excretion, lymphatic circulation, sexuality, etc.). Normally, this is how the alternation of stress and calmness complements and helps each other.

The civilized and comfortabled human, detached from nature, on the other hand, moved away from this balance.

In our rushed, competing lives, we keep ourselves much more stressed, than at rest. Thus, our body does not have time to calm down, compensate, and the increased state of excessive stress suddenly becomes pathological and thus harmful.

stresszelő férfi

We are able to “stress on something” even if the real stress situation has passed or has not yet come, and we should be still/already at rest. No wonder, then, that we see in the statistics that more and more gastric ulcers, kidney failure, impotence, and other internal organ dysfunctions (low blood in the internal organs) are increasing on the one side; and more and more stroke, nervous exhaustion, muscle cramps, chronic musculoskeletal disorders (lots of blood in the brain and muscles) come on the other side.

And that is why massage has as much existence and demand today as applied therapy.

How does massage effect?

Massage affects the skin and muscles directly; and indirectly everything else in the body, from the nervous system to the bones and joints to the internal organs. It stimulates blood circulation, thus metabolism and excretion; relieves muscle cramps and other muscle tension, and also delivers blood to the peripheries. With all this, it helps to get from the above-mentioned, generalized “state of stress of civilization” to rest and relaxation.

Therefore, depending on their concepts, to a different extent, all massages are stress relieving.

lapocka kezelés

Ok, but what is a really good stress relieving massage with an explicit goal of relieving stress?

Many people think of soft, caressing massages as good stress-relieving treatments. However, this is far from the reality. It is undeniable that these massages pamper the human soul and relieve stress to some extent. But, only the mental part of it, which results in a short-term effect. However, from the above-mentioned scientific-evolutionary reasoning; you can see that stress is a kind of complete physiological state-being; which is determined at least as much by the physical state of the body as the mental one, and they in interact.

It follows that for lasting stress relief, we need to treat both parts in depth.

Its true that soft, sensual touches are good for our minds, but muscles also work a lot in sustained stress. When hardened, they block the blood that has entered them; they do not allow it to flow and change at a normal rate; and thus – in the absence of natural relaxation – the muscle fibers become chronically tight and cramps form in them. If its not resolved, this state (stress) can affect the mind again soon after the massage. And tensed, hard muscle fibers cannot be dissolved just by smoothing.

The best stress-relieving massage is which altough include soft movements; but there are many deep, moving, kneading techniques as well. It is best when the masseur to massage from the inside out and follow the lines of the main energy lines (meridians) running in the body.


Recommended kind of massages for stress relief


If anyone asks me, general, classic sports massage is one of the best stress relieving treatment. It works primarily with “kneading” techniques to lift the muscles out of place, rework them intensively, and then “put them back” in place. With such techniques, the primary physical manifestations of stress (chronic muscle tension) can be most effectively resolved. By loosening the tensed fibers of the muscles, kneading also releases the blood trapped in them. The blood that has been stagnant until then is activated and returns to the heart and lungs, from where new oxygen-rich blood comes.

Part of this helps with regeneration and muscle function primarily at the loaded site (where kneading is done); and another part gets back to the peripheries and internal organs. This effect can also be used to increase performance in the short term – this is the classic application of sports massage -; however, when used in the long run or after sports, it is the best and most effective promoter of long-term relaxation. A good sports massage, closed with soft, smoothing movements, is the most perfect stress-relieving massage.


From the Eastern techniques, perhaps Yumeiho proves to be the best stress reliever. In addition to the tiny kneadings applied along the main energy lines of the torso and limbs; moving and “cracking” of the joints is also a priority in this Japanese method. When a knowledgeable person (yumeiho masseur, chiropractor, etc.) properly removes joint surfaces during a movement, tiny gas bubbles are formed between them, which are then distributed in the joint fluid in the sudden drop in pressure.

This is often – though not all time – accompanied by a kind of popping sound like lifting up a wet sheet of glass from a table. Tradition is said: “release the entrapped joint.” In this case, the fresh blood and oxygen circulating in the periosteum can also pass better through the ends of the joints; thus helping to compensate for the secondary effects of stress on the joints. So from the traditional, oriental styles, I recommend Yumeiho to anyone with an explicit goal of stress relief.


In addition to sports massage and Yumeiho, Dynamic Rapid Massage is also a really good stress-relieving massage. In the development times, the goal was to helping the doctors, ambulances and medical staff working on the medical station of the festivals; by a team of masseurs, to try to compensate as much as possible for the increased stress associated with long shifts. An extraordinary job required an extraordinary treatment. I was honored to organize a team as the head of the physio-therapy department; and try to come up with something that will meet this special request in this special situation.

First we put our “experimental subjects” on a massage chair and treated them with a lot of intense, rhythmic kneading tricks – like the ones used in classic sports massage. However, we have tried to apply these kneadings along the energy lines defined by oriental medicine; to further help the development of a meditative state of consciousness in which relaxation and concentration are present at the same time. This is necessary for more efficient work. In the meantime, we asked them for continuous feedback during and after the treatments.

Based on these, later, to further increase the effect, we also stretched and moved the limbs and spine, drawing on oriental techniques (Yumeiho, Thai massage). By the end of the second year, the staff was already very satisfied with the method developed, and this was reflected in their work. So we opened a massage tent for the festivalers as well, and the further things are already history…

Author: Sándor Nagy

Nagy Sándor