Massage Therapy Reduces Anxiety and Depression

Woman receiving chair massage. Photo courtesy of ABMP.

Massage isn’t just for relaxation. Over the last 20 years, an incredible amount of research has been done to validate the health benefits of massage therapy. Two groups of conditions, anxiety and depression, have¬† indisputable documentation that proves they benefit from massage therapy.

According to the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork:
“Quantitative research reviews show that a series of Massage Therapy (MT) treatments consistently produces sizable reductions of depression in adult recipients. The effects of MT on anxiety are even better understood. Single sessions of MT significantly reduce state anxiety, the momentary emotional experiences of apprehension, tension, and worry in both adults and in children, and multiple sessions of MT, performed over a period of days or weeks, significantly reduce trait anxiety, the normally stable individual tendency to experience anxiety states, to an impressive degree in adults.” (1)

Did you know anxiety affects about one in eight adults living in the US? The following disorders fall under the heading of anxiety (and this is not an inclusive list):

  • Panic attacks
  • Agoraphobia
  • Social anxiety
  • Separation anxiety
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Trichotillomania
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder

Depression comes in different shapes and sizes, too.

As is true for many health conditions, holistic approaches to treatment of depression and anxiety may yield improved outcomes. I would encourage other practitioners and patients themselves to include massage therapy in their course of treatment given its proven results.

1) Moyer, C. A. “Affective Massage Therapy.” International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork 1, no.2 (2008):¬† 3-5.

No Comments

Post a Comment