Is massage good for mental health?
Posted by Justine Clarabut on 23 July, 2019
Massage therapy is renowned to help with the relaxation of both the body and mind. In fact, massage dates back thousands of years to ancient cultures around the world. Evidence found in many ancient civilisations shows that natural healing using massage techniques could heal injuries, relieve pain and help to prevent and cure illnesses. Massage was also found to reduce stress and produce deep relaxation. And this is still the case today! But is massage good for mental health issues such as depression and anxiety?
A little bit about massage..
Massage is the manipulation of soft tissues in the body and is applied by touch, mainly with hands but also with elbows, forearms, fingers and feet! There are also many other forms of massage using equipment – such as massage hoses, cycloidal massage beds and hand held devices, body massagers and so on!
There are many different massage disciplines which use different methods and oils to achieve different outcomes.
Here are just a few examples of massage techniques:
- Swedish massage – a full body or back and shoulder massage targeting mild pain, and overall physical and mental relaxation
- Aromatherapy – using essential scented oils, this massage technique aims to assist healing and be good for our emotional wellbeing
- Hot Stone massage – using warm stones to work on specific areas of the body relaxing tight muscles and releasing tension.
- Sports massage – helps to prevent and treat injuries, improves flexibility and enhances performance!
- Reflexology – using pressure points on the feet, hands and ears to naturally restore energy levels and aid relaxation.
- Indian Head massage – a relaxing holistic treatment that uses acupressure to the head, neck and shoulders relieving stress and tension.
There are many more methods of massage delivering a variety of results to both body and mind. However, the majority of massages, whether for muscle manipulation or recalibrating energy levels, provide deep relaxation. And deep relaxation decreases the effects of stress on the body and mind.
Arnold Kelly, a licensed Massage Therapist at the UAB Spain Rehabilitation Center, said massage provides two types of benefits: immediate and cumulative. Arnold explained “Immediately following massage, you can experience reduced tightness in the muscles, improved blood flow and breathing, plus reduced anxiety and stress,”
Feelings of depression can intensify during times of stress. People with depression often carry more emotional weight. Therefore, for someone that suffers from depression, stress make it more difficult to cope with life’s everyday challenges. Research shows that simple relaxation techniques, such as massage, meditation and yoga can help to alleviate stress and anxiety.
So is massage good for mental health
Evidence based research shows that massage therapy is a therapeutic modality. According to studies, cortisol (our stress hormone) decreases and serotonin (hormone that affects how we feel) increases following massage therapy! It has been noted that immediately following a massage session, and over a course of treatment, massage therapy can significantly alter the biochemistry of humans.
So yes, massage is a good therapy to improve and maintain our mental wellbeing.
National Relaxation Day is on 15th August which raises awareness of the hectic fast paced lifestyles many of us lead. If you are lucky enough to have the day off work then take time to unwind, step back and rejuvenate! Relaxation is so important for our physical and mental wellbeing.
You can also promote relaxation at work.
Wellbeing People believe that helping employees to reduce their stress levels at work is paramount to a healthy and productive workforce. Preventative measures to reduce workplace stress, re-energise staff and enhance performance can be achieved through onsite massage, wellbeing workshops and wellbeing engagement. All of which have a positive effect on both the body and mind. For more information on our products to improve mental wellbeing in the workplace, click here.