Many adults suffer from some form of anxiety disorder and also some types of depression. These disorders may coexist and are often left untreated. Anxiety and depression can cause a lack in social functioning and may lead to increased risk of unemployment and illness. While anxiety and depression can be often treated with medications, some individuals may be unable or unwilling to take them. Research has shown that just 30 minutes of daily massage therapy to hospitalized depressed adolescents over a 5 day period brought about an improvement in their mood and behavior.
Massage therapy has specific effects on the nervous system, hormones, and neurotransmitters. Depression and anxiety can be very serious and massage therapy should never be put before proper medication. However, massage therapy can help reduce the cortisol levels which are stress hormones. This may lead to decrease in stress symptoms like increased blood pressure, heart rate, and the feeling of anxiety. Massage can also affect neurotransmitters in the brain, increasing serotonin and dopamine levels that can help reduce depression. By directly decreasing the levels of anxiety and depression, the massage may also have an effect on the corresponding body pain that people feel due to their condition.
Swedish massage is one of the more common types of massage that people may use for anxiety and depression. This method is gentle and applies smooth, circular kneading actions to the muscles. Deep Tissue Massage can also be used for the tight muscles that are from stress and other problems. It focuses on the muscles closest to the bone and their connective tissue. Massage therapy has been proven to be an effective part of the holistic approach to anxiety and depression.
Many people use massage for more than just to relieve stress and feel relaxed. With more and more research in the works, massage therapy may be considered to be a viable form of treatment for anxiety and depression without all the nasty side effects of medication.