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Massage for Depression

canstockphoto5417408-1Mental health disorders affect over 400 million people worldwide every single day. Due to the varieties of conditions and how little is still truly known about the brain, treating mental illness becomes a bit of a guessing game between types and dosages of medications and treatments to find what works and doesn’t work. For many, there is no magical combination that truly does work. This has many people turning back to traditional, natural therapies for helping to alleviate the symptoms. Although not appropriate for all mental disorders, massage therapy is gaining more scientific backing that it is a great way to treat depression in conjunction with working with your mental health professional.

Just the idea of being able to lay uninterrupted on a warm massage table in a safe, still environment is enough to perk anyone up with warm and fuzzy feelings, but there is a lot behind why this is so effective. As a society, we are always on the go- rushing and doing. Very seldom do we ever take the time to reflect on our own needs and provide ourselves with the love and self-care that our mind, body, and spirit so desperately calls for. Here are some of the reasons of why massage can help pull us out of the dark clouds of depression:canstockphoto20978211

  • Reduction of Cortisol Levels – Often known as the “stress hormone,” cortisol can build up in the body and prevent the good, happy hormones, such as serotonin, from building up inside. An hour massage can lower cortisol by an average of 30% allowing the serotonin to increase at the same time. Serotonin also helps the body in the reduction of pain. So, 60 minutes on the massage table can literally help you feel better inside and out and help you to better process what life has to throw at you for days and even weeks after.
  • The Anxiety-Depression Link – Anxiety and depression are often treated hand in hand. For many, the inability to keep anxiety levels down causes depression to creep in. The body tension, nervous energy, feeling of being unable to complete the simplest tasks are just a few of the effects of anxiety that leave the person exhausted and at wit’s end. Thus, the individual becomes overwhelmed with the feeling of drowning in their anxiety and become depressed. Massages are scheduled times that a person can escape from the grip of anxiety and for even a short period of time find relaxation in the body and the mind.
  • Power of Touch – From the moment that we are born, we crave touch. Just as a baby is calmed by the touch of their mother, we are also calmed by the power of touch in a safe environment from someone who is in tune with our healing. For those suffering with depression, the isolation can be the worst. Sometimes is an intentional withdrawal and others it is not; however, massage can often be the only type of physical human contact the individual is receiving and that can be huge for lifting the spirits.

Of course, these are just a few of the ways that massage can help to ease the symptoms of depression. As you can see, massage has a HUGE impact on the mind-body-spirit connection and can play a key role, along with the care of a mental health provider, to ease the burdens of certain mental disorders like depression.