Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental illnesses, and they are frequently both experienced at the same time. While it’s common to feel sad or stressed from time to time, having depression or anxiety can interfere with day-to-day life. One way to treat these devastating conditions is through massage therapy. Here’s how:
Relaxes the Body
It’s no secret that getting a massage is relaxing. Sometimes when you are experiencing anxiety or depression, relaxation therapy is exactly what you need. It may not be able to cure these conditions, but it can provide some much-needed relief.
Massage therapy is helpful because it combines touch therapy with relaxing music and aromatherapy to promote deep relaxation in both mind and body. Even just a short massage can help those with anxiety and depression feel more relaxed.
Much of anxiety and depression is a result of an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. People who suffer from chronic anxiety, for example, have significantly higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In small doses for short periods of time, cortisol can be helpful—it keeps you more aware and alert during emergency situations.
But elevated levels of cortisol over long periods of time can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health, causing symptoms of anxiety such as hyper-awareness and racing thoughts as well as physical symptoms such as a lowered immune system and digestive complaints. Massage lowers those levels of cortisol, reducing your feelings of stress and anxiety and improving your overall physical health.
Increases Serotonin and Dopamine
Anxiety and depression aren’t just associated with elevated levels of harmful neurotransmitters like cortisol. People who suffer from depression or anxiety also have lower levels of serotonin and dopamine, also known as the “pleasure hormones.”
Serotonin acts as a mood stabilizer, keeping anxiety and depression at bay as well as regulating physical processes such as sleep cycles and digestion. Dopamine activates the reward and pleasure centers of the brain, as well as controls fine movements in the body. Massage helps stimulate these neurotransmitters in the brain, increasing them to healthier levels. You not only feel happier after a massage, you will also notice that you feel better and sleep better.
Reduces Sensations of Pain
People with anxiety and depression also report experiencing more pain. Part of this is related to chemical imbalances in the brain which is alleviated by getting cortisol, serotonin, and dopamine back in balance, but part of it is also circumstantial. People who are constantly stressed out experience more muscle tension, which in turn causes chronic aches and pains.
Massage alleviates these pains by relaxing the tension out of tight muscles and increasing blood flow throughout the entire body. This reduces inflammation and ensures that the muscles are getting all of the oxygen and the nutrients that they need. Treating sensations of physical pain can go a long way towards alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
You don’t have to just suffer through depression and anxiety—massage therapy can help. Schedule your massage today and start your journey towards relief.
Article provided by Hands of Mercy Massage