Anxiety is a common and often debilitating mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by feelings of worry, nervousness, and fear, and can manifest physically in a variety of ways. Things like muscle tension, headaches, and difficulty sleeping. While anxiety is often treated with medication and talk therapy, research has shown that massage therapy can also be an effective way to alleviate the physical symptoms of anxiety. So while I can't directly treat your anxiety, I can treat some of the physical manifestations.
One of the primary benefits of massage therapy for anxiety is its ability to reduce muscle tension. When we are anxious, our bodies go into a state of fight or flight, which causes our muscles to tense up. This tension can lead to pain and discomfort, as well as contribute to other physical symptoms of anxiety such as headaches, and/or jaw clenching or grinding. Massage therapy can help to relax and loosen these tense
muscles, providing relief from pain and discomfort.
In addition to reducing muscle tension, massage therapy has been shown to improve sleep. Anxiety can often cause difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. The relaxation and stress-reducing effects of massage can help to improve sleep quality. Massage can also increase the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating sleep and mood. One of the 4 main “happy hormones” our body releases.
Massage therapy can also have
a positive impact on our nervous system. It can help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and relaxation. In turn this reduces activity in the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the fight or flight response. By shifting the balance towards the parasympathetic nervous system, massage therapy can help to reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety such as rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath. Helping your body return to a more relaxed state and reminding it that it is in fact not being chased by a bear, and it can relax.
Another benefit of massage therapy for anxiety is its ability to improve overall well-being and mood. Massage has been shown to increase levels of endorphins, One of the other 4 main “happy hormones”, and reduce levels of stress hormones such as cortisol. This can lead to an improved sense of well-being and a better overall mood.
While massage therapy is not a replacement for traditional treatments for anxiety such as medication and talk therapy, it can be a helpful addition to a comprehensive treatment plan. If you are experiencing the physical symptoms of anxiety and are interested in trying massage therapy, but may have questions, please feel free to reach out, or book an appointment and see if it can help you.
"Anxiety: Overview" Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961
"Massage Therapy for Anxiety" Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/massage-therapy-for-anxiety
"Massage Therapy for the Treatment of Anxiety and Depression" ScienceDirect: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364815217305443
"The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Stress and Anxiety" Massage Magazine: https://www.massagemag.com/the-benefits-of-massage-therapy-for-stress-and-anxiety-83519/