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Massage Therapy for High Risk Occupations


It is true that everyone can benefit from a massage. However, the calming effects of massage therapy are especially beneficial for those who train and risk their life in combat situations. Such occupations include military soldiers, police officers, and firefighters.

These professionals are exposed to psychologically stressful work environments filled with danger, high demands, and tremendous amount of ambiguity in situational encounters, human misery, and exposure to death. As a by-product, the physiological response of their body is heightened to extreme levels of cortisol in attempts to regulate the body’s stress response.

Combatting Cortisol

Normally the function of the cortisol is supposed to be short-lived, just long enough to deal with the offending stressor. Given the nature of these occupations, the cortisol level can stay at extreme levels due to the work environments of the job. Prolonged exposure of high levels of cortisol is not good on the body long term.

Effects of Chronic High Levels of Cortisol

  • In response to perceived or real threats, cortisol shuts down unnecessary functions like the reproduction and immune system so that the body can direct all energies toward dealing with the stress at hand. If he body stays overwhelmed to long the immune system is compromised. It is not too uncommon for illness to follow long exposures to stressful events due to the reduced efficiency of the immune system.
  • Bones and muscles are affected. Cortisol inhibits the update of amino acids into the muscle cells, making it difficult to fuel muscle cells. It also inhibits bone formation and decreases calcium absorption in the intestine.
  • Blood pressure goes up in the presence of elevated cortisol levels. This is due the several mechanisms. Cortisol makes the body more sensitive to the effects of epinephrine and norepinephrine, causing vasoconstriction, or reduced blood flow in many parts of the body.
  • Cortisol causes an increase in gastric acid production. When chronic, this leads to reflux and other problems in the intestine.
  • Cortisol disrupts the reproductive system, causing infertility or even miscarriage when cortisol levels are too high or chronically elevated.

Cortisol Should Not Become a Way of Life

Elevated cortisol level indicates the the presence of stress. Because the human body has an amazing ability to adapt,  this can lead to people living with unchecked stress. This maladaption can lead to a whole host of conditions that undermine the quality of life. Some signs and symptoms of unmanaged stress include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Pounding heart
  • Digestive upsets
  • Teeth grinding
  • Backache
  • Muscle aches
  • Light headedness
  • Lowered sex drive
  • Irritability
  • Short-tempered
  • Over-eating
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle tics
  • Rashes
  • Increased consumption of alcohol

Massage Therapy Reduces Stress

It is important to recognize the symptoms of unchecked and reach out for help. Do not wait until stress becomes a pain that you learn to live with and cope. Bren Smith, LMT, Well Balanced Massage encourages the men and women serving in high risk occupations to include massage as a part of their self-care, healthcare practice. “The powerful touch from a well-trained massage therapist does wonders for the mind, body and soul and has innumerable benefits”, says Bren.

Benefits of Massage

  • Decreased anxiety
  • Enhanced sleep quality
  • Improved concentration
  • Increased circulation
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Alleviation of low-back pain
  • Improved range of motion
  • Enhanced immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system
  • Expedite strenuous workout recovery
  • Increased joint flexibility
  • Reduced post-surgery adhesions and swelling
  • Reduced spasms and cramping
  • Relaxed and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles
  • Endorphin release—amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller

Support is Available

There are many business who dedicate time and resources to appreciate theses men and women to who daily and unselfishly risk their own lives for others.

To encourage massage therapy as a lifestyle practice, Well Balanced Massage in Oklahoma City, OK offers to all active military, police officers, and firefighters a 10% discount off session rates. Learn more about the services offered and the MPF booking discount on the  services and rates page.

Well Balanced Massage is dedicated to inspiring hope, health, and peace through restorative touch.