At least 16 million adults in the UK are affected by insomnia, and it could be fuelling a rise in physical and mental health problems. Research shows that massage can be part of the solution – and thanks to The Massage Company’s monthly subscription model, it’s becoming accessible to more people than ever.
The UK has a sleep problem. Over 36% of adults struggle to sleep regularly, with almost 1 in 5 struggling to fall asleep every night. While everyone may have the odd period of sleeplessness, consistent insomnia at this scale can wreak havoc on mental and physical health, contributing to serious problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, low immunity, depression and anxiety.
So what’s fuelling this crisis, and how can massage therapy help us to solve it?
Sleeplessness has been a growing problem in the UK for years, yet the issue has escalated since March 2020, with some experts dubbing the phenomenon ‘coronasomnia’: a combination of stress, anxiety, increased screen time, decreased down-time and lack of routine that has disrupted sleep patterns since the start of the pandemic. The University of Southampton found that, by August 2020, the number of people experiencing sleep problems had risen from one in six to one in four.
However, lifestyle and environmental factors are only part of the puzzle. Physical complaints, like pain and discomfort, are also contributors, as are mental health concerns like depression and general anxiety disorder (GAD).
As such, when it comes to treating insomnia, medication can usually only offer a short-term solution to a complex, long-term problem. For persistent sleeplessness that doesn’t have a direct physical cause, doctors recommend behavioural changes that redress our natural sleep routines and help us to relax.
This can be a frustratingly lengthy process, but one tool to overcoming insomnia – that’s often overlooked in the UK – is massage therapy. Aside from the anecdotal evidence that massage makes us feel sleepy, scientific research has long suggested that massage is a powerful sleep aid.
A study by the Touch Research Institute found that massage lowers anxiety, and in turn promotes better sleep, by reducing levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and boosting levels of serotonin and dopamine – the body’s so called ‘happy’ chemicals. Research by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) discovered a correlation between massage and a reduction in people’s insomnia severity index (ISI) (2). Massage has even been found to replace the need for heavy sedatives in some cases of insomnia (1), and improve sleep disturbances in migraine sufferers (3).
Perhaps one reason that massage has been overlooked as an insomnia treatment by so many people in the UK is lack of access to the therapy, as well as out-dated perceptions. This is now starting to change, as massage therapy becomes more widely available thanks to the Massage Company.
With four centres (and a fifth opening in Putney this July), The Massage Company is bringing massage therapy to those who need it: including those suffering from lack of sleep. As a monthly subscription model, The Massage Company is making massage convenient and accessible for all genders and all ages, with a focus on removing barriers and changing negative preconceptions around massage to make it part of monthly wellbeing routines. Open seven days a week – until 9pm on weekdays – with plenty of availability and compact hour-long appointments, The Massage Company makes it easy to fit massage into a busy schedule.
The Massage Company’s founder, Charlie Thompson, comments: “by building a team of over 70 consistently high-quality massage therapists in our centres, we’ve become the ‘go to’ location for customers struggling with insomnia and looking for a non-medical solution. The UK is, quite literally, waking up to the knowledge that massage therapy can drive productivity at home and in the workplace. The Massage Company sees nearly 20% of our customers for relaxation and ‘de-stressing’ reasons, up over 5% since 2019, so it’s clear that the movement is already underway”.
About The Massage Company
Since its inception in 2016, The Massage Company has continued to challenge common pre-conceptions of massage and the stereotype of the industry. Their vision is simple: to bring high-quality massage to the wellbeing mainstream. They want people to see massage as accessible to everyone and good value for money, so it can become a vital and routine part of a better and balanced quality of life. Their centres in Camberley, Tunbridge Wells, High Wycombe and Sutton Coldfield are in highly convenient locations, with franchise opportunities available and plans to expand on a national scale.