Massage for stress, anxiety and depression

Massage is one of the oldest healing techniques used to help us overcome psychological and physical health problems.  It has been used since the dawn of human evolution in countries all over the world.  In the early part of this century, massage was still used in hospitals and clinics, but fell out of favor when high-tech medicine began to dominate our health care system.


:: The therapeutic effect of massage

Massage causes the body to release many therapeutic mood and health enhancing chemicals.  It increases dopamine and serotonin and reduces the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.   It increases the relaxation alpha brain waves and also increases pain relieving levels of endorphins. Massage lowers noradrenaline and lowers the stress hormone ACTH (Adrenocorticotrophic).

Massage boosts the immune system, stabilizes blood sugar levels, improves lung function and peak air flow. And it can generally reduce the number of visits to the doctor while increasing work productivity. 


:: Massage and Anxiety

Regular massage can help to reduce our anxiety levels. Research by Tiffany Fields, at the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine looked into the therapeutic value of massage in reducing anxiety and depression. The data from this study indicated that massage produced marked reductions in anxiety and depression in people who were massaged. Mood and sleep patterns also improved.   Sleep was found to be more sound and for longer periods of time.

Adults with chronic anxiety problems, people with muscle tension, aches and pains etc, who did not improve after being given anti-anxiety medication/antidepressants, muscle relaxants and relaxation training, were given a course of massage. Afterwards most reported less tension, pain and need for medication. 


:: Massage and Depression

Andrew Vickers, a researcher formerly with the Research Council for Complementary Medicine who carried out research into the value of complementary medicines in psychological health problems (published in the journal “Psychiatry in Practice”), said ” it’s far too simplistic to say massage can cure depression or other diseases, but it can help us to cope better and improve the quality of life.”


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or for information about managing stress with massage