How can Massage assist Mood Disorders?

05 Sep 2018

Massage for Mood Disorders

With Luxton Clinic Remedial Massage Therapist, Tess

Our society is fast paced, stressful and unforgiving and we push ourselves constantly, so it’s no wonder that mood disorders like anxiety and depression are continually rising. In Australia, it’s estimated that 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, which is an incredibly high percentage.

Extensive research conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine in America concludes massage therapy can help to relieve depression and anxiety by affecting our bodies biochemistry. The studies (which included 500 men, women and children with depression and anxiety) were done by measuring the stress hormone cortisol in participants before and immediately after massage. The results were quite amazing, showing that the massage therapy had lowered cortisol levels by up to 53% and increased happy hormones serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters.

So how does massage assist with mood disorders?

  1. Massage reduces inflammation in our bodies by reducing the production of Cytokines. Inflammation has been shown to have a serious affect on anxiety and depression, therefore the reduction of inflammation and Cytokines can help with the management of mood disorders
  2. Massage helps to relax our bodies and encourage our autonomic nervous system to revert into our parasympathetic state. Our parasympathetic nervous system is our ‘rest and digest’ state, during which we relax, breath evenly, sleep better, digest our food better and have an all over increased sense of wellbeing.
  3. Some of the key elements in stress reduction are combined in a massage; the safe and nurturing space with the removal of stimuli as well as the actual massage, which enables deeper breathing and provides human touch both of which help relaxation, refocus and increased feelings of wellbeing.
  4. When our bodies feel good, we feel good. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. When our muscles are tight and sore, our sense of wellbeing is disturbed and we can start to feel depressed and anxious. Massage helps to decrease muscle tightness and pain, which helps to restore equilibrium in our bodies and lives.
  5. Using different techniques massage can help you to breathe more freely which can aid in reducing anxiety. When we hold our breath, which often happens when we’re anxious, it propels us into our sympathetic nervous system as our bodies perceive we are being threatened, essentially throwing us into ‘fight or flight’. By using massage, cupping and myofascial release on certain muscles we can release the tightness across the chest, shoulders, back and diaphragm to enable deeper and more even breathing.


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