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Massage Therapy and Mental Health

Massage may assist with depression, anxiety, insomnia and trauma reactions. It is a physical approach to improving your mental wellbeing. Massage can help your body relax. Care has been taken to ensure that the room provides a space for you to notice what is happening in your body, breathe and start the process of letting go. Massage can be used in conjunction with traditional talk therapy to improve your psychological and emotional wellbeing.


What is Swedish Massage Therapy?

When you think about massage this is the version of massage you most likely have in mind. The goal is to relax the entire body through rubbing the muscles in the direction of blood returning to the heart using long gliding strokes. As well as easing tension, Swedish massage has been found to improve circulation, decrease muscle toxins, and increase oxygen in the blood.
How can it help my mental wellbeing?

Research suggested that massage can assist by activating your sympathetic nervous system. That is, massage activates the “feel-good” neurotransmitters (serotonin and dopamine) and decreases anxiety and lower stress hormone levels (cortisol). When you are feeling tense, fearful and worried massage may be able to assist you to relax.

Go to the following link for an article on this topic:

Photo by Jay Castor from Unsplash

Talk to your doctor

If you are interested in massage as an option to help it is recommended that you discuss with your doctor to ensure that it is appropriate for you.

1. Collinge, W., Kahn, J., Soltysik, R. (2012). Promoting reintegration of National Guard veterans and their partners using a self-directed program of integrative therapies: a pilot study. Military medicine, 177(12), 1477-1485.
2. Engen, D., Wahner-Roedler, D., Vincent, A., Chon, T., Cha, S., Luedtke…Bauer, B. (2012). Feasibility and effect of chair massage offered to nurses during work hours on stress-related symptoms: a pilot study. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 18(4), 212-215. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2012.06.002.
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4. Hatayama, T., Kitamura, S., Tamura, C., Nagano, M., & Ohnuki, K. (2008). The facial massage reduced anxiety and negative mood status, and increased sympathetic nervous activity. Biomedical Research, 29(6), 317-20. doi:10.2220/biomedres.29.317
5. Hou, W., Chiang, P., Hsu, T., Chiu, S., & Yen, Y. (2010). Treatment effects of massage therapy in depressed people: a meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 71(7), 894-901. doi:10.4088/JCP.09r05009blu.