Massages can make you feel happy because they relax the muscles while easing pain. According to the University of Minnesota, massages cause physiological changes in the body, which produce a relaxation response, resulting in a slowed heart rate and lower blood pressure.
By lowering the blood pressure and heart rate, the body responds by reducing the production of stress hormones. This naturally results in a general feeling of wellness and enables both the mind and body to fully relax. Additionally, the manipulation of muscle tissue results in increased blood circulation, which enhances oxygen flow to the body and improves physical health. Research conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests massages may also increase serotonin and dopamine production, two brain chemicals which are responsible for stabilizing mood. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for regulating mood, while dopamine helps regulate emotional responses. Many pharmaceuticals are designed to increase dopamine and serotonin production in the brain as a way of mitigating feelings of depression and other mental illness. Because massages create mental relaxation coupled with increased serotonin and dopamine production, it produces a temporary and natural high in the mind and body, creating a feeling of increased calmness and happiness.