Massage therapists use arm, hand, fingertip, and elbow pressure to treat physical and emotional problems. A review of more than a dozen massage studies conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine concludes that massage therapy relieves depression and anxiety by affecting the body’s biochemistry.
In a recently published article entitled, “Reset Anxiety Levels with Massage Therapy,” author and expert, Anne Chao, writes:
“Stress is a physical, chemical response of the body to perceived danger. It is one of the body’s primal responses—originally designed to help us fight or flee wild animals, the brain triggers the release of extra cortisol (sometimes it’s called the stress hormone), which ultimately is designed to keep our muscles ready to either fight or flee,” adding that, nowadays, the kind of stress we face isn’t about making a quick escape, but our bodies still get filled with cortisol, which suppresses our immune system and increases our blood sugar.
“Many times, high levels of stress become sustained, which has a very real and negative effect on our bodies and our overall health,” she writes.
If you carry anxiety symptoms in your shoulders, back and neck, a professional massage can specifically target those areas. Regardless of where you carry tension, studies have shown that massage increases your body’s levels of oxytocin and serotonin, which results in lowered stress. The feeling of relaxation created by regular massage therapy also lowers your blood pressure and elevates your mood.
Chao suggests that not all types of anxiety can be quickly or easily relieved, but regular massage therapy treatments can help you regain the balance of your life and take the stress out of your body.
“As with any physical treatment, make sure your massage therapist is certified, especially when looking for a more specialized massage treatment such as sports massage, reflexology, or prenatal massage,” she writes.
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