Benefits of Massage Therapy for Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression are common disorders but serious. Massage therapy could help.

An estimated 18 percent of adult Americans are suffering from some kind of anxiety disorder and around 10 percent are suffering from some type of depression. These disorders can coexist and often remain untreated. Depression and anxiety can interfere with social functioning and result in increased risk of unemployment, disease and even death. They may play an aggravating role in other health conditions and make an individual more susceptible to illness. While anxiety and depression with medication, psychotherapy , or a combination of both can often be treated successfully, these options are not always sufficient, desirable, or available. Some people may be unable or unwilling to take medication due to health conditions, interactions with drugs, personal beliefs or unpleasant side effects. If you’re looking for more tips, Belden Village Chiropractic & Wellness Center has it for you.

In all communities psychotherapy is not available and may be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. Social stigma may be preventing some people from seeking treatment. Some people just don’t react well to conventional therapies. Clearly, an easily available medication without unpleasant side effects would be helpful.

Research has shown that massage therapy can affect both anxiety and depression in a beneficial way.

Early research at the University of Miami Medical School’s Touch Research Institute demonstrated that 30 minutes of daily massage therapy to hospitalized depressed adolescents over a 5-day period brought about an improvement in mood and behaviour. Since then, many studies have documented that massage therapy can affect depression and anxiety in a beneficial way. In reality, it’s one of the massage results most reliably recorded.

Anxiety can be divided into two general classes: anxiety of the State and anxiety of traits. State anxiety reflects a temporary reaction to a stressful situation. Trait disorder is a persistent, recurrent condition of disorder. There are also common anxiety disorders including panic attack disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and so on. Massage therapy has been shown to have at least a minor benefit for both state and trait anxiety, and even a single massage session can help relieve state anxiety symptoms. A series of massage sessions, however, have been found to offer the most benefit and appear to be especially helpful for trait anxiety disorders.

How does it work with massage therapy?

We don’t know exactly how massage works for relieving depression and anxiety. Massage has been thought to reduce the stress hormone cortisol for many years and this has brought about the improvement. However, more recent research has shown that the way we thought about massage does not reduce cortisol. Nobody’s exactly sure how the effects of massage change. There are some hypotheses but there aren’t enough data to support them. Specific effects are still under investigation on the nervous system, hormones, neurotransmitters, etc .. We know human beings are wired biologically to respond to the touch. Maybe it’s the combined effect of focused, caring attention and tactile stimulation, or maybe the muscle relaxation is signaling the brain to move to a calmer state. Fortunately, to benefit from this, we don’t need to understand precisely how this change comes about. As we learn more over time, it can help us understand how to optimize the effects of massage therapy, and help massage gain acceptance as an anxiety and depression treatment.