Massage Can Help Sleep

It’s normal to almost fall asleep during your massage. And quite a few people do, especially people who are super tired and overdue for some relaxation. However, massage helps not just relax at the time but once you get back home to sleep in your bed! We have seen people who come into our office and told us they hadn’t slept better once they started receiving massages or even after one 90 min treatment, they noticed a difference.

Adequate sleep is necessary for healthy functioning, and quality sleep is vital to health and wellness. But an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans experience sleep issues that affect their health, often leading to low work performance, slowed reaction time, obesity, higher risk of long-term disease, and substance abuse.

Chronic insomnia causes extreme fatigue and problems with concentration and can adversely affect a person’s mood and well-being. For healthcare professionals, helping patients overcome insomnia is critical for fostering overall health and wellness.

The good news is getting a regular massage might be the answer — and an enjoyable one. For example, one study conducted in China found that 76% of people regularly treated with massage therapy no longer experienced insomnia symptoms.

A holistic treatment should emphasize nutrition, exercise, and a quality sleep routine. Those who sleep less than 8 hours per night are experiencing “sleep debt.” Even though it’s helpful to sleep in on the weekend, you cannot entirely reverse the lack of sleep by sleeping more on the weekend.

Benefits of Massage Therapy for Sleep

The National Institutes of Health has advised that massage therapy can reduce fatigue and improve sleep based on research gathered by the American Massage Therapy Association. Studies show that massage can help infants, children, adults, and the elderly rest better, including those with psychiatric disorders, cancer, heart disease, low back pain, cerebral palsy, and breast cancer.

The chemistry of sleep is relevant concerning massage because it directly influences the body’s production of serotonin, which is essential for melatonin production. A study on back pain, published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, demonstrated that subjects receiving massage experienced improved sleep and increased serotonin levels and decreased long-term pain.3 Results were based on twice-weekly, 30-minute massages for five weeks, using these techniques:

  • Kneading and pressing the back muscles
  • Massaging both sides of the spine and hips
  • Gliding rubs to the legs
  • Kneading and pressing the thighs

In the supine position, participants received:

  • Gliding strokes to the neck and abdomen
  • Kneading of the rectus and oblique muscles that help bend the trunk of the body forward
  • Rubbing of the legs
  • Kneading of the anterior thighs
  • Flexing of the thighs and knees
  • Gentle pulling on both legs

In addition to other assessments, the researcher used the asleep scale to measure the quality of sleep and urine samples to measure serotonin levels in the study.


Massage is an innovative, healthy, and drug-free option that has helped many people overcome insomnia. Because melatonin influences the sleep stage of an individual’s circadian rhythm, a natural way of boosting serotonin is a favorable sleep-inducing option. This connection calls for further research showing massage therapy’s direct effects on serotonin and sleep. In the meantime, the existing evidence is enough to recommend regular massages for sleepless patients.3

A growing number of healthcare professionals recognize the benefits of taking a multidisciplinary approach to patients to identify better the source of illness4—rather than simply treating the symptoms. At the same time, sleeping pills and painkillers should take a back seat to complementary and alternative forms of medicine, including massage therapy, for treating the whole person and improving outcomes.

You can also consider adding Aromatherapy like Levander or Organic Oil to promote sleep or CBD to your Massage as an add-on, which is known to help with anxiety and overall wellbeing and aids other ailments.

Brilliant Massage & Skin,

35 King St, #9

Burlington, VT