Rumble. Groan. Glub glub glub. Snort. Do any of these noises sound like something your body decides to let loose when you are relaxing right in the middle of a massage? I would be willing to bet that, at least once in your history of receiving bodywork, you've probably had this happen to you. What did you feel at the time? Embarrassed? Ashamed that your body was interrupting the session with its uncouth racket? Worried that your therapist thought you were disgusting? It's true that these are sounds massage therapists hear every day, sometimes multiple times a day. But you would be hard pressed to find one who is offended or disgusted by any of it. Why? Because these noises just signal natural bodily processes at work!
Youmay be disconcerted to hear your stomach growling in the middle of your massage like a lion calling for lunch, but to a massage therapist, it's actually a compliment. Whenever your body makes noises like that, whether it be a nice, loud snore or a quiet gurgle as your digestive system goes to work, it means that we are truly relaxing you with our work and helping you get rid of stress. And if you fall asleep in the middle of your session, that's an even bigger compliment! It shows that you are trusting us with your bodies and are completely willing to let go.
When our bodies are relaxed, the parasympathetic nervous system (or "rest and digest" system) is activated. This means that we are able to digest our food more effectively, enjoy lower blood pressure and reduced heart rate, and benefit from slower breathing. When we perceive ourselves to be in some sort of danger or under some sort of stress, the sympathetic nervous system kicks in and causes the opposite physical response (i.e. "fight or flight" mode). The blood supply to the digestive system is reduced (and much of digestion is temporarily slowed), our blood pressure and heart rate both increase, and our breathing becomes faster. All of these are useful responses if you are running from something dangerous or focusing intensely on an important task, but the response becomes unhealthy when it is constantly maintained.
Despite the fact that it is unhealthy to remain in a state of constant tension, people nowadays find that they are having a harder time letting go of stress, or getting out of that "fight or flight" mode, than perhaps at any other time in history. That's difficult to definitively measure, of course, but you may have experienced this in your own life. With all the pressures placed on us, it can seem nearly impossible to just sit down and take a breather, so our sympathetic nervous system is on almost constantly. When you come in for a massage and allow yourself to relax, your parasympathetic nervous system is finally able to take over again and allow your body a well-deserved rest. So don't worry the next time your stomach bubbles like a cauldron or you snore like a thunderstorm in the middle of your massage. To us, it's just your body getting back into a healthy, natural cycle; and we are more than happy to help facilitate it.