Did You Know Massage Therapy Can Help With:
Anxiety & Depression
Many of the studies conducted on the effects of massage therapy demonstrate: decrease in depressed moods, anxiety levels and stress hormones.
Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression account for 79 percent of all psychiatric diagnosis. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that by 2020 major depression will be second only to heart disease as the leading cause of disability worldwide. That’s pretty significant. So how does massage affect moods?
Massage has been touted as one of the oldest forms of treatment, first recorded in China during the second century B.C. I repeat this statement quite often, to make a point, not only about the historical significance, but of the very basic and fundamental humanness about this practice. I mean, what do you do when your friend is hurting? You rub their hand or pat their shoulder. It's human.
Massage and the Scientific Community
With scientific advances in medicine during the 1940’s, massage was replaced with technology and pharmacology. Prior to this, massage was utilized in sanatoriums and psychiatric hospitals. Today, while massage therapy appears to be gaining popularity, it still has not received the same attention from the scientific community as other forms of treatment. Massage therapy appears as an alternative form of therapy despite its long history as a seemingly simple and intuitive solution to many human ailments.
Massage Therapy Research on Depression and Anxiety
In general, many of the studies conducted by The Touch Research Institute on the effects of massage therapy demonstrate: decrease in depressed moods, anxiety levels and stress hormones. Field (1998) suggests that increased parasympathetic activity may be the underlying mechanism for these changes, however, there also appears to be a psychological component. Once we understand how this works, it may shed greater light on the interaction between body and mind. While few would doubt the relaxing effect of massage, the research cannot conclusively tell us why.
Field, Grizzle, Scafidi & Schanberg (1996) examined massage and relaxation therapies’ effects on 32 depressed adolescent mothers. The mothers received ten 30 minute sessions of either massage therapy or relaxation therapy over a five week period. Both groups reported lower anxiety levels following the first and last session, however, the massage group additionally showed behavioural and stress hormone changes. The results of the study suggested that the control group reported a decrease in anxiety but did not show the same effects in their stress hormone levels or behaviour as the treatment group experienced.