If you often feel anxious or suffer from depression, you are not alone. The CDC estimates 1 in 6 adults in the United States suffer from depression at some point in their life. Can massage help anxiety and depression? Well it probably won’t cure it but it certainly can help. Many clients come in because they know massage is a good way to feel better.
In fact, experts say regularly seeking massage to relieve anxiety can help improve your overall health and aid in stress management. This is because massage helps relax your body, which, in turn, relaxes your mind.
Are you depressed, or just having a bad day? In either case, a massage to feel better is a great idea. However, the severity, frequency and duration of symptoms of both general anxiety and depression vary from person to person, and even from day to day. Sometimes clients don’t even realize how anxious they were until after the massage, when they are feeling relaxed and content.
According to the CDC: “Depression can adversely affect the course and outcome of common chronic conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Depression also can result in increased work absenteeism, short-term disability, and decreased productivity.” Massage therapy for stress and anxiety is one thing that can reduce those negative effects.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, symptoms that massage for stress and anxiety can address may include:
Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
Fatigue and decreased energy
Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
Overeating, or appetite loss
Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
Research About Massage for Anxiety and Depression:
According to several research studies at The University Of Miami School of Medicine, Touch Research Institute massage therapy provides the increases serotonin levels, decreases circulating stress hormones, decreases levels of substance P (basically a pain messenger), improves sleep patterns, and improves an overall sense of well-being. In short, massage therapy, in conjunction with the treatment plan prescribed by a mental health professionals, can help you feel better.
The AMTA has also collected a body of research on how massage for anxiety and massage for depression improves mood and reduces depression. It is a good compliment to any treatment your mental health provider prescribes. If you are suffering from depression and anxiety, and have not yet contacted a mental health professional for help, please do.