Massage Therapy As Treatment For Anxiety And Depression

27 January 2016
 Categories: , Blog


Anxiety and depression are common disorders that can be debilitating to many people. These disorders often coexist and are often undertreated. Depression and anxiety can be linked to interfere in your social life, your employment, and your overall happiness. While these conditions are typically treated with medication or psychotherapy, these treatments are not always optimal. Factors such as the willingness to take medication or bad side effects can prevent some from taking traditional therapies. Fortunately, massage therapy has been shown to have some benefit to these conditions.

How Does Massage Therapy Help?

It is believed that massage therapy helps with depression and anxiety by reducing the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in an improvement to mental health. Humans are biologically engineered to respond positively to touch, caring attention, and tactile stimulation. Muscular relaxation can also signal the brain to move to a calmer state of mind.

Is Massage Therapy Enough?

In a word, no. While massage therapy can be ideal for alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety, it is not a complete cure or long-term solution to these conditions. Those who do not seek out professional medical attention are at risk for their condition to worsen, despite adding massage into their care routine.

However, there are benefits to adding massage into a standard medical care plan. It is easy to access, especially because it requires no prescription. It is also unnecessary to wait weeks or months for an appointment. There are no side effects and immediate benefit is typically experienced. All of these aspects of massage make it an attractive resource for anyone who is living with anxiety or depression.

Are There Therapists Who Specialize In Treating These Conditions?

While there is no separate specializations for massage therapists who treat patients with anxiety and depression, there are those who familiarize themselves with common mental health problems in order to develop a treatment plan. The therapist will gather medical information during intake and can help you develop the best plan for the patient based on their individual needs. Massage therapists are professionals who are expected to respect client confidentiality. Do not feel pressured to keep the details of your condition private for fear of embarrassment or judgment.

Living a life of unhappiness due to anxiety or depression can be a painful way to exist. Proper medical treatment is important. Including regular sessions of massage therapy can provide an additional way to improve mood and symptoms. For those who are interested in massage therapy as an additional treatment option, ask for referrals from friends and acquaintances that have had good experiences.