So, in the midst of all that sensory stimulation, like a heavy foot on a car accelerator, your sympathetic nervous system becomes highly activated and creates a whole host of unpleasant physical symptoms and sensation in your body—there really is no separating mind and body, mental health and physical health. In order to relieve some of the unpleasant sensations of anxiety and stress, you need to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which acts sort of like the brakes, slowing things down to a comfortable pace. There are many techniques that can activate your parasympathetic nervous system, including most mindfulness techniques such as meditation, chanting, yoga, deep breathing—and yes, massage!
Of course, if you don’t like being touched, or getting naked, a traditional massage is probably not going to put you into a parasympathetic state! But there are a couple of alternatives:
First of all, traditional table massage:
Sometimes known as Swedish massage, what you expect to get in a spa, is normally performed with the client undressed to their comfort level—but rest assured, the client is always fully draped with a sheet and/or blanket, and the massage therapist will make sure you never feel uncomfortably exposed.
Second of all, you don’t have to take your clothes off!
There are some massage techniques that the therapist won’t be able to do if you are clothed, but there are plenty of techniques that feel good and can help induce a parasympathetic state with all your clothes on. These techniques include compression and slow, broad pressure that can feel sort of like a weighted blanket.