Benefits of a Massage When It Comes to Anxiety
Everyone will experience anxiety at some point in their life—it is a natural response to potential threats and is meant to keep you out of harm’s way. But when it starts to interfere with your daily life without reasonable stressors, you could be dealing with an anxiety disorder.
As the most common mental illness, about 18% of American adults suffer from some form of anxiety. There are various treatment options, ranging from cognitive behavioral therapy to medication, but for those looking to add a more natural remedy (Always talk to your doctor about your anxiety medical plan), to their anxiety management, massage therapy has been shown to reduce stress. But that leaves the question: Do massages help anxiety?
Anxiety affects everyone differently, but common symptoms include:
- Problems sleeping (insomnia, restlessness, etc.)
- Muscle tension
- Excessive worry
- Panic attacks
According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), “an average of 19% of adult Americans received at least one massage a year. From that group, 50% cited physical reasons for the treatment (pain management, soreness/stiffness, injury rehabilitation, etc.), and 28% cited psychological reasons (stress reduction, relaxation, etc.).
We have compiled 5 reasons why clients feel massages play a role in managing their anxiety.
- You feel connected
In the same way that physical touch helps strengthen marriages, it also helps connect strangers. When you’re receiving a massage, you feel connected and secure with your massage therapist, which helps release endorphins and is especially beneficial for those dealing with isolating thoughts.
- Promotes better sleep
By reducing cortisol and lowering your heart rate, massages help people not only fall asleep easier but also experience longer periods of deep sleep, which “reduces the neurotransmitter associated with pain.”
- Improved immune system
Massages can help keep you healthy by “increas[ing] the activity level of the body’s white blood cells that work to combat viruses.” This is especially pertinent to those who suffer from anxiety since increased amounts of cortisol have a damaging effect on the immune system.
- Decreased heart rate and blood pressure
Because massage therapy helps relax both the body and the mind, blood pressure and heart rate slow down during treatment. Remembering that both of these are classic symptoms of an anxiety disorder, decreasing these will help you relax and stay relaxed.
- Releases endorphins and hormones
While receiving a massage, your body is releasing a slew of helpful neurohormones (hormones produced by the nervous system). From dopamine to serotonin to oxytocin, these helpful hormones can dramatically help reduce the symptoms of anxiety and leave you feeling balanced and centered.So, do massages help anxiety? In short, yes; however, getting regular massages will not cure an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is a serious medical condition that cannot be cured, but rather, is managed through various methods of treatments that are specific to your unique condition.Fortunately, massage therapy is a natural remedy that poses very little risk to anxiety sufferers; however, we recommend discussing treatment options with your doctor before scheduling an appointment.