Massage therapy has many physical benefits. However, what are the mental health benefits of massage therapy? An attentive touch can do wonders for the mind, body and soul. Massage therapy can have a major effect on how good we feel not only physically, but mentally as well. Studies have shown that people who get massages more frequently feel less depressed, less angry and have more energy. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 40 million adults suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety can take a toll on the quality of your life, so many people are always trying to find ways to reduce symptoms.
The American Massage Therapy Association conducted a study to explore the validity of how regular massages can positively impact symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. The results showed a significant reduction in self reported anxiety. Cortisol, otherwise known as the “stress hormone”, can be reduced by 50% with regular massages. When cortisol levels are high it can rise blood pressure and suppress the immune system. Massage also increases serotonin and dopamine which are the neurotransmitters that help reduce depression. A swedish massage is the most common approach to massage therapy and probably a good place to start if you are trying it for the first time. The Swedish massage technique is to relax the entire body, which is beneficial for increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, decreasing muscle toxins, improving circulation and flexibility, while easing tension.