The endocrine system is the body’s complex system of glands producing hormones to help regulate all body processes. There are around 50 known hormones the endocrine glands produce. More and more hormones, as well as their functions and interactions with other hormones, are continually being discovered. Massage has been shown to lower epinephrine and norepinephrine (commonly known as the adrenaline hormones), as well as cortisol (commonly known as the stress hormone). These three hormones put the body in what is called the “fight or flight” response. When in fight or flight, senses are sharpened, blood pressure rises, and breathing becomes faster and deeper. Digestion virtually stops as blood is directed away from digestive organs and sent to muscles to prepare them for maximal exertion. Cortisol also encourages the body to break down protein to form glucose as a fast energy source. Fight or flight is an amazingly powerful mechanism allowing escape to safety in cases of extreme danger. However, living in a constant state of fight or flight can have obvious negative effects on the body. Unfortunately, the body doesn’t know the difference between being chased by a bear or having an overwhelming day of work. Fortunately, getting a massage, breathing correctly, and stretching mindfully can help put the body back into a state where it can rest, digest, and build protein stores (muscles!) back up. Massage has also been shown to raise dopamine and serotonin levels. Dopamine and serotonin are the hormones responsible for controlling the brain's pleasure centers, regulating mood, reducing anxiety, helping with sleep, and more. Beck, A. (2005). Theory and practice of therapeutic massage. Place of publication not identified: Delmar.