Massage Therapy: A Natural, Effective Way to Reduce Stress And Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are symptoms that many of us experience on a regular basis. Luckily, there are also many great ways to manage them. One natural and effective way is getting massage treatments on a regular basis. Feelings of stress and anxiety often start out as temporary and controllable symptoms. However, when they are not dealt with properly and on a regular basis, they can quickly turn into debilitating ones. As a registered massage therapist, I truly believe in the saying “if you do not make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness”.
Throughout my massage therapy practice I have noticed an astonishing 75% or more of clients noting stress and anxiety on their intake forms, often as the main complaint. This is a huge percentage which means that you are not alone when it comes to facing these symptoms in your day to day life. However, it does also mean that if we do not empower ourselves to look for suitable self care options for ourselves and our loved ones, then that already high percentage will stay high or even worse, continue to rise.
Regular massage treatments can drastically reduce stress and anxiety, resulting in improved quality of life. It is common knowledge that massage therapy effectively reduces the physical symptoms associated with stress and anxiety such as muscle pain and tension. However, it also offers other amazing health benefits which include decreasing levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, and increasing parasympathetic nervous system activity. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the body’s rest and digest response. It is important to give our body the chance to recover after stressful life events and support our nervous system to return back to a calm and balanced place.
When we are stressed, the sympathetic nervous system, the one responsible for the fight and flight response, kicks in. While there is an appropriate time and place to prepare our bodies to fight off danger by increasing the heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and decreasing other systems deemed unimportant in a state of emergency, such as digestion, it is not good for our health to be constantly stuck in this mode. Chronic stress can diminish our ability to calm down our body and mind therefore, we need the parasympathetic nervous system to start to take over again in order to help us rest, recover, digest, and find a good night’s sleep. Insomnia and other sleep disturbances are one of the major anxiety symptoms. When the body’s natural ability to rest and recover at night is disrupted, the stress response heightens and irritability increases. This in turn drives the sympathetic nervous system, which further impacts the already decreased sleep quality and thus begins a vicious cycle many people find difficult to break. This is where massage therapy can come in to make a real difference.
According to the Mayo Clinic, even a single massage therapy session of 60 minutes can make a difference. When measuring a person’s levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood, it was found that a reduction of up to 30 percent could be found after just one session (1). Similarly, studies have found that anxiety symptoms could be reduced through regular massage therapy as well. One such study that was published in the Journal of Depression and Anxiety had followed participants with anxiety symptoms to see what impact massage therapy can have. Over the course of 12 weeks, participants had received regular massage sessions and at the end of those 12 weeks, there was a 50 percent reduction of symptoms. The great news is that the benefits had remained at the 26-week mark, even though the massage therapy sessions had stopped weeks earlier (2).
Studies support regular massage treatments as a clinically valuable and effective treatment option to manage daily stressors while boosting the immune system. This offers many clients a substantial reduction in stress and anxiety, blood pressure and cortisol levels that come along with those symptoms.
A relaxing yet therapeutic massage performed by a registered massage therapist can help reduce both physical and emotional symptoms leaving you feeling relaxed and balanced. Creating a sense of improved emotional resilience and boost your feelings of general well-being.
To book an appointment with one of our registered massage therapists or other health care practitioners, call (902) 404-3668 or book online.