Massage and Mental Health

massage mental health Jun 15, 2018
woman getting a massage - Massage & Mental Health

Studies have shown that postmenopausal women, people with chronic disease, pulmonary disease and gastrointestinal dysfunctions are all at high risk for panic attacks, depression and anxiety.  Postmenopausal women that experience full blown panic attacks triple the risk of a coronary or stroke.  People with chronic disease that experience anxiety can potentially be fatal. So, how do massage and mental health relate to one another?

Evidence based testing indicate that anxiety disorders can lead to:

  • Heart disorders
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Digestive disorders

One in 75 people suffer from panic disorders which is an anxiety disorder where panic attacks occur repeatedly without warning.  Panic results when there is a surge in adrenaline.  Panic disorder is commonly linked with Agoraphobia.  Agoraphobia is defined as having “anxiety about being in places or situations from which escape may be difficult or embarrassing.”1   As a result the level of fear becomes disproportional to what is occurring in the actual situation.  With the assistance of a psychotherapist, “massage therapy can help to lower stress levels, decrease muscular tension and reduce anxiety by decreasing the levels of adrenaline and cortisol.”2

Postoperative pain also creates a high level of anxiety and distress which can increase pain levels.  Massage and music therapies have shown to lessen anxiety and reduce the need for pain medications.  These therapies can also decrease the intensity of pain that is experienced within the first four days after surgery.

Massage therapy is consistently “demonstrating an ability to reduce anxiety levels…and it is emerging as one of the valuable therapies for addressing…emotional and physical health.”3

By Judith Rivet, B.Sc., R.M.T.

References: 1,2,3 Massage & Mental health, 2015 Natural Wellness, Institute of Integrative Health.