Massage as a Form of Help for Anxiety
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You might be considering massage for anxiety. Massage has been suggested as a form of help for
anxiety attacks. However, since it’s useful to always look at the research, I want to begin by
looking at some studies.
A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, indicated that
researchers found that a 30-minute back massage given daily for five days reduced anxiety of hospitalized,
depressed and adjustment disorder children and adolescents.
Another study published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, indicated that researchers found that
significant reductions in anxiety levels were found in employees receiving on-site chair massage.
Additionally, I was able to glean some more interesting information from the Registered Massage Therapists’
Association of Ontario.
For instance, massage has been documented as one of the oldest healing arts in the world. Records documenting its
use date back over 3000 years.
There are hundreds of different kinds of massage and bodywork techniques.
Here are all the great things that can accompany a massage:
The metabolic rate of the body slows down.
Breathing becomes more regular and the heart rate comes down to normal range.
The blood lactate level also falls significantly. Lactate is responsible for the muscular fatigue.
Blood pressure decreases.
Brain waves are altered in a beneficial way
The body secretes protective mood altering neurotransmitters. One of these, known as serotonin, is a powerful
hormone associated with feelings of happiness, contentment and relaxation.
It is easy to see that the relaxation induced through massage can be a form of help for anxiety.
Additional benefits that have been suggested are:
Enhanced quality of sleep
Reduced or eliminated pain
Improved joint mobility
Improved immune system functioning
Increased lymphatic drainage
Reduced tension within muscles
Reduced fatigue and increased energy
Ultimately it has been said that massage helps relieve the stresses and tensions of everyday living that can
eventually lead to disease and illness. The negative effects of many illnesses can be exacerbated by stress.
Also massage is a great alternative to the unhealthy feel-good mechanisms that many people use in their life as a
means of escape.
Going to a registered massage therapist is the way to receive a massage for your anxiety from a professional, but
massage is something that a friend or partner can provide.
My take on massage as a form of help form of anxiety:
As outlined, there is research showing that massage can be helpful for anxiety. And there are a number of
potential benefits. It’s a pleasurable way to treat yourself from time to time while receiving the health
benefits. I would not consider massage to be a primary treatment for anxiety but it can be included as part
of an overall approach for anxiety and panic attacks. Many health plans through private insurers provide
coverage for massage therapy.
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