Massage’s Mental Health Benefits
Some people may view “self-care” as a buzzword, but for those with mental health diagnoses such as depression or anxiety, self-care is—more often than not—a beacon of light in an otherwise dark place. Moments dedicated to your health and wellbeing shouldn’t be underestimated or undervalued. There are many ways you can work self-care into your regular routine at home, but life is often busy and filled with distractions. Regular massage therapy appointments can be the perfect way to reserve some time for yourself and your health.
Massage offers mental health benefits for a variety of reasons, including reducing muscle tension and pain, and reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Let’s look at some proven ways massage can benefit your mental health, whether you have anxiety or depression, or even if you simply feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, or worn out.
Stress Hormones and the Body
There is a strong connection between the mind and body, and in many ways, this connection is impacted by hormones. When it comes to mental health, one of the most important hormones to be aware of is cortisol. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, and it can trigger strong “fight or flight” reactions in the body and mind.
Massage is proven to reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels. One study found that a 60-minute massage could reduce cortisol levels by up to 30%.
The Benefits of Massage for Depression and Anxiety
Anxiety often feels like a merry-go-round that you can’t get off of. Anxiety can build continuously, and when there aren’t any outlets or remedies, the pressure can be truly unbearable. This terrible situation can leave you feeling alone and helpless, but when you have the right therapists and wellness practitioners, it is often possible to make your way back toward peace and calmness.
Depression is similar, and the weight of it can make you feel like you are permanently weighed down, with no way out. The symptoms of depression can be debilitating and often prevent you from enjoying activities that would otherwise make you feel happy, productive, or empowered.
Massage therapy is a common method people use to help reduce these symptoms and seek mental wellbeing. Here are just a few of the ways massage therapy has benefited our clients with depression and anxiety:
Many clients report fewer sleep disturbances after a massage, leading to better rest and more energy.
Taking the time to rest, relax, and focus on wellbeing can be a powerful remedy in and of itself. Massage can be an important part of a dedicated self-care routine.
A massage for anxiety can help alleviate some of the long-term physical outcomes or “side effects” of anxiety, such as TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder, or jaw pain) or general muscle tension.
Physical touch is another essential reason massage can benefit people with anxiety and depression. You can read more about the importance of physical touch from our previous blog post on the subject.
If you have been diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder or depression, or if you experience stress or overwhelm regularly, we highly recommend booking a massage with our experienced therapists.
Which Type of Massage Should You Choose?
People with anxiety or depression often book relaxation massages (also known as Swedish massages) with our RMTs in St. Albert, enjoying the long, slow strokes that loosen up the connective tissue in the body, but without significant pressure. However, there are many types of massage that produce a positive impact on both physical and mental health. If a specific area of your body is causing you pain or discomfort, a therapeutic massage or manual osteopathic massage may be effective in reducing both your physical discomfort and worry or anxiety. Your therapist can work through specific pressure points to relieve tension throughout your body and leave you feeling relaxed.
Why Book Regular Massages?
A consistent self-care routine is essential for improving your mental health, whether or not you have anxiety, depression, or other mental health challenges. Seeing your RMT even just once a month can also help reduce muscle tension, leading to better posture, better blood flow, and increased mobility so you can pursue the activities you love.
Regular massage is also proven to be effective in the long-term treatment of mental health conditions. A medically reviewed study has looked at the long-term benefits of regular massage, which can cut down on anxiety symptoms by up to 50%.
Other Self-Care Activities for Depression and Anxiety
There are many other strategies and activities you can do to relieve depression and anxiety. Here are a few ideas for your daily self-care routine:
Try stretching regularly, especially in the morning, to instantly relieve muscle tension and start the day off feeling great.
Meditation and deep breathing techniques can provide moments of calm self-awareness in an otherwise busy day.
Reach out (figuratively and literally) to others. Talking, hugs and laughter all have the power to change the chemical makeup of our bodies and improve our mental state.
Book Your Next Massage with our Professional RMTs in St. Albert
If you are worried about your mental health, we highly recommend visiting your GP for medical advice. He or she may be able to provide you with resources or medication or point you in the direction of other services, such as cognitive-behavioral therapists, psychologists, or psychiatrists. Your well-being is worth it!
You can also book a massage today with one of our experienced RMTs in an inviting St. Albert massage clinic. We have built this to be a safe and welcoming space where your health is our top priority.