Massage Therapy

How useful and effective is massage therapy? Is it necessary for the body? What makes it so special that people consider it for their mental health? Let’s discuss this further.


American Psychology Association conducted relevant research through the efforts of psychologists, therapists, and mental health specialists. They found out that the stress levels of adults in the United States are alarmingly high, and the effect of that on people is negative – both for their physical and mental well-being.

This is the reason why experts are now looking for more avenues wherein people can relieve their stress for them to function appropriately daily. That’s where massage therapy comes in. For they believed that kneading is a treatment for the mind, the body, and the spirit.

Stephen L. Salter, PsyD, wrote that massage therapy “can also be an effective choice of treatment for a number of psychological issues.” There is also another study that suggested wherein stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms can be alleviated by regular massage therapy

The Benefits Of Massage Therapy

Neurochemical Benefits Of Kneading For Anxiety And Depression

Massage therapy session is profoundly relaxing and de-stressing, especially the physical aspect of it, but this physical treatment also has a significant impact on a person’s neurochemicals in the brain. Massage therapy session then improves one’s psychological and mental well-being.

A study that was circulated by the International Journal of Neuroscience revealed that the hormones “serotonin” boosted for up to 28%, and “dopamine” also improved by at least 31% right after a kneading treatment session. These neurological improvements can be attributed to the relaxing session after each massage therapy session. People experience less of their depressive moods and anxiety symptoms.

An analytical review of selected research on massage sessions as a treatment for depression as published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry established that a 60-minute massage treatment session, any type of body massage, is related to lessening the symptoms of depression on people.

Another pilot study conducted on younger adults at an inpatient mental health center revealed that a 60-minute massage treatment session immediately provides relief to their patients and all the treatment benefits coming from it, reducing anxiety levels, are achieved.


Mindfulness Massage Treatment Sessions

  • A massage session and its benefits are similar to that of a psychotherapy session in that it lessens anxiety and depression symptoms bit by bit after each meeting.
  • The 60-minute  massage session boosts neurotransmitters related to decreasing a person’s anxiety episodes and with that, also inhibiting the hormones responsible for triggering anxiety.
  • Massage also considerably decreases one’s heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure.
  • Massage treatment sessions reduce depression on people with HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, diminishes anxiety issue on people who have cancer, lessens anxiety attacks and depressive moods on military veterans, and lowers occupational stress for nurses. Tiffany Field, PhD, wrote, “We’ve found that whether we’re studying pain or psychiatric problems or attention problems, autoimmune problems such as diabetes, and immune-system problems like cancer, they all benefit from massage.”

Massage therapy Relieve Chronic Stress

According to an expert, extreme and chronic stress is something that shouldn’t be regarded as regular, primarily when a person can’t function properly anymore. Treatment specialists believe that it brings a series of physical symptoms that will affect one’s body, and of course, impair one’s mind. What people don’t understand about stress is that the condition is brought about by the increase of a hormone called “cortisol” and it “overpowers” a person’s immune system. It will shoot up their blood pressure and promote weight gain.

According to a massage expert, the constant release of cortisol will diminish a person’s memory, and with that, they are prone to developing depression, anxiety disorders, and other related mental health issues.

It’s not just about stress. Other mental health issues can also pump up one’s cortisol levels, and this can create a vicious cycle of continuing and long-term stress hormones being released throughout the body. When this happens, the mind will have a tough time coping with such a psychological situation.

If you want the cycle broken permanently, and through natural methods, a massage session is one of those effective ways to do it.  Katharina Star, PhD, wrote that “massage can work to manage the fight-or-flight response, or stress reaction, that is typically overactive among people with anxiety disorders.”

Massage treatment can break the vicious cycle of constant cortisol level increase and restore the body’s hormonal balance. A series of research assessed by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine concluded that cortisol levels would decrease by up to 53% in those who display extreme stress issues, especially those who are depressed and stressed, right after their massage treatment is completed.

Massages only take 60 minutes or for some, an extended 90 minutes of touch treatment, depending upon the type of the treatment.


Massage Therapy

(Most Popular In People With Mental Health Issues)

If you are thinking of incorporating massage therapy sessions into your weekly or monthly schedule, then, it is suggested that you try:

  • Swedish Massage Therapy
  • Aromatherapy Massage
  • Hot Stone Massage Therapy
  • Shiatsu Therapy
  • Thai Massage Treatment

Swedish-type massage uses kneading and smooth strokes all over the body, which is a great stress reliever and perfect for newbies in a massage.

An aromatherapy massage is ideal for those who want to breathe in essential oils as they are massaged. This adds to its effect.

A hot stone massage uses heated stones placed on specific points of the body to relieve muscle tension, and of course, stress.

Shiatsu massage is all about finger pressure which restores the body’s overall balance and energy flow, both of which promote positive mental well-being.

Lastly, Thai massage therapy is about body pressure and is comprised of stretching and compressions. It can undoubtedly perk you up and eliminate stress signs.

Final Thoughts

Now, you know how massage therapy can eliminate stress, depression, and anxiety. Studies have shown and proved it! It’s up to you if you want to try the treatment for yourself or remain in doubt.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the purpose of massage therapy?
  2. What makes an effective massage therapist?
  3. What are the disadvantages of massage?
  4. What are the different kinds of massage movements?
  5. What body parts should be avoided during massage treatments?
  6. What is the most effective massage technique for stiffness?
  7. How many times should you get a massage?
  8. Do massages actually work?
  9. What are the most common indications of massage?


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