Why Massage Therapists Love to Hear your Stomach Growl
Why Massage Therapist love to hear your stomach growl?
It happens at least once every day, a client tenses up just a little and apologizes for the rumbling coming from their abdomen. With any luck I quietly reassure them it is alright and help them relax enough to forget about it. For some, it is a passing thought and for others the embarrassment doesn’t give up as quickly. The truth is that in the massage room, aside from sighs of relief, snores, or beautiful music, a rumbling tummy is one of our favorite sounds!
Why? Well our bodies have two nervous system responses. You may have heard of the terms flight or fight and rest and digest. These are the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system responses our bodies have to our surroundings and they have a huge impact on our health. Unfortunately we spend more time in our sympathetic (fight or flight) response than ever before. Some of the physical changes that occur to the body while in this state include: Vasodilation of your eyes and the arteries supplying blood to your lungs and muscles, your heart can go into a bit of overdrive and your glands will produce a particular formula of hormones all so that you can have a better chance of outrunning that saber tooth tiger or survive a physical attack. While this response is great for our survival, we are not supposed to spend elongated periods like this. This stress overload can wreak havoc on our bodies.
When you come in for a session to manage your stress, one of the main goals your massage therapist has is to help you into your parasympathetic response. This is where your body can start to make the healing changes it needs within yourself. Again, a massage therapist is merely a facilitator for those changes and our job is to support you, and your body in this process. One of the first signs that you are shifting into your rest and digest system is that tummy growling. In this response your immune systems gets a refresh, blood heads to areas of your body like your stomach, intestines and your reproductive organs. The cortisol hormone responsible for stress is lowered and your body and emotional state can function at its healthiest. Getting massage and doing things like meditation, yoga, or other activities that help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system is great for your overall health.
When we hear those growling noises it is a pretty direct sign that we are doing our job, and that makes us feel awesome! So the next time your stomach makes crazy noises on the table, don’t be embarrassed, be amazed that your body always knows just what you need.