Benefits of Massage for Anxiety Management

Benefits of Massage for Anxiety Management

Anxiety is highly prevalent in modern society and many people experience periods of stress, to varying degrees, within their lifetime. We can all relate to feeling anxious before a job interview or wedding ceremony, but for some people it is a part of their everyday life and can become debilitating.

Common symptoms of anxiety include excessive worry or fear, nervousness, panic attacks, catastrophising, body tension, restlessness, increased heart/breathing rates and nausea

Many people start to avoid stressful situations and close themselves off from new experiences and uncontrolled environments. Therefore, strategies to help manage anxiety are an important part of living a more calm and fulfilled life.

Psychological strategies and a support network are really important elements of managing anxiety. Massage can be utilised alongside these strategies to help manage symptoms. Whilst many people utilise massage for musculoskeletal conditions and physical pain, it is often overlooked for its mental health benefits.

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A 2011 study, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2922919/, looking into the effects of therapeutic massage for people experiencing generalised anxiety disorder, found that after 10 sessions in 12-week period all participants had improvement in their anxiety levels. They based this on their scoring on the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS). Researchers found that participants still had improvement even in the 26 week follow up after the study had finished. Thus, even with a break between sessions the participants were still benefiting from the treatments.

When the body is massaged, a physiological response takes place which slows the body down including reduced heart rate, decreased sweating, and lowered blood pressure. It also lowers cortisol levels (stress hormone) and releases serotonin, aka the “happy chemical”, which boosts mood and alleviates feelings of anxiety and depression. Massage can also be a practice of mindfulness; as your body progressively relaxes it becomes easier to be mentally present and slow the mind.

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This all places the body into what we call a parasympathetic state, basically a deeply restorative state, and counters the sympathetic (fight/flight) state that accompanies anxiety.

Types of massage recommended for anxiety management include;

Manual lymphatic drainage near me
Manual lymphatic drainage near me

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