How does one combat all of the struggles and stressors of modern living and stay healthy? The answer lies in ancient techniques with modern applications. Massage has been utilized as a technique for centuries. With more advanced understanding of the human body in this era, the gifts of massage to assist in decreasing anxiety and depression are beginning to become better understood.
Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health disorders reported in the United States. Both disorders affect the mind-body connection. Physical symptoms and psychological perceptions can become interwoven. Many people report physical symptoms of lack of energy, sometimes being “keyed up” or feeling tension in the body. People report a host of negative thoughts about themselves and the world. Chronic depression and anxiety have been shown to lead to stress-related illnesses, causing a breakdown in the immune system.
Massage can be an effective adjunct therapy: a natural way to get some positive relief from muscle tension, an immune system put in overdrive, and mood dysregulation that is often associated with depression and anxiety.
Here are five benefits of massage that can help you with a depressed and anxious mood:
Massage relaxes muscle tension
Depression and anxiety are both felt in the body as tension or an imbalance of energy. Massage helps by decreasing this tension so that you can feel relaxation in the body, resulting in a more peaceful mind, and uplifted spirit.
Massage can reduce anxiety and improve mood
When we are stressed, the sympathetic nervous system is activated releasing the fight-or-flight response in the body. Massage can help to calm the sympathetic nervous system by lowering blood pressure and heart rate, reducing feelings of anxiety in the body.
Massage can help to increase “feel good” chemicals in the brain
A study at the University of Miami School of Medicine found that there was a 30% increase in the “feel good” chemicals in the brain: serotonin and dopamine, while utilizing massage for participants in their study.
Massage is a great way to increase self-care
Most people who are anxious or depressed have a difficult time focusing on ways to take care of themselves. Massage offers a way to book an appointment where you can concentrate on receiving care while taking an important step in making your a priority.
Massage can help boost the immune system
Depression and anxiety cause stress in the mind and body which can increase the likelihood of illness due to taxing the immune system. Many studies have shown the importance of touch in helping to improve immune system function.
Massage can be an important part of a treatment plan to increase your health and well-being.
If you are looking to learn more about the health benefits of massage, or would like to book an appointment, please contact me, Jean Provenzano, LMT, BCTMB. I am a Licensed Massage Therapist with National Certification in Massage and Bodywork.