Here’s How Massage Therapy Can Decrease Stress And Anxiety

Massage therapy can decrease stress and anxiety. Here's how it can help and be beneficial, and why it's worth considering

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July 9, 2019
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Stress is something that every person on the planet will have to deal with at some point of their lives. While our lives can be very stressful, how people deal with stress, anxiety, and depression can differ greatly from person to person. For instance, some people may turn to anti-depressants, anxiolytics, and benzodiazepines to help deal with some of their symptoms. Others may turn to alcohol, illicit drugs, sex, binge eating, and other addictive and ultimately destructive behaviors to help numb their pain.

In regards to stress and psychosomatic symptoms, stress actually causes every part of the human anatomy to be impacted adversely. Cortisol-a steroid hormone- is released when a person is feeling stressed, which has deleterious effects on the body, and the tension that is triggered will usually cause the person who is stressed to experience muscle stiffness and even pain in some cases.

Chronic stress, when left untreated, can also cause back, neck, and shoulder pain, headaches, migraines, inflammation, depression, lethargy, and insomnia. Stress has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, so managing stress in a healthy manner is of the utmost importance. Here, we will discuss how massage therapy can decrease both stress and anxiety when practiced consistently and with positive intent. Physiotherapy and massage therapy offer benefits to the mental and physical health of patients. Both of these disciplines work to restore the body to its optimal health and function.

The Benefits of Using Massage Therapy in Stress Relief

Massage therapy is often described by patients as the ideal way for them to experience a positive elevation in mood. In fact, many describe massage therapy as an enjoyable and relaxing way for them to experience joy, peace, and utter serenity. In other words, if you suffer from chronic stress and anxiety then massage therapy, when performed by an experienced and licensed massage therapist who carefully listens to your needs, can help dissipate or release stress and tension quite rapidly.

In terms of what happens to the body when massage therapy is administered, the body actually releases “feel-good” hormones, including dopamine and serotonin: The release of the aforementioned hormones usually tends to occur just a few minutes into the session, albeit, it helps if you are relaxed and comfortable with the massage therapist who is working on your body.

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The release of dopamine and serotonin will actually mitigate or neutralize the very harmful effects of cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone in the body. Given the fact that cortisol increases glucose in the bloodstream, surpasses the digestive system, and alters immunological functionality, trying to reduce excess cortisol production can greatly help with the physical symptoms of chronic stress and anxiety.

Moreover, people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or other chronic gastrointestinal disorders, can also greatly benefit from massage therapy, while the exact cause of IBS is unknown, nor is there a cure currently available, some studies have found that patients with IBS report their worst flare-ups of symptoms when they are feeling very stressed or anxious.

Thus, massage therapy can help relieve symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, nausea, bloating, gas, cramps, headaches, fibromyalgia, eyestrain, and other inflammatory symptoms or ailments. Massage therapy and physiotherapy restore function and relieve pain. Both use exercises and soft tissue manipulation to help their patients in different ways.

Source: Physio Now

This infographic provides a quick overview about physiotherapy, its rehabilitation methods and the many conditions treated by physiotherapists. There are numerous opportunities in both fields. Massage therapy has become more and more popular in recent years, with more people learning about the health benefits. Physical therapist assistants are also in demand as the population ages.

Massage Therapy Leads to a Healthier Heart

Many studies have also found that massage therapy, administered over a prolonged period of time, helps lower heart rate as well as the patient’s blood pressure. As a result, if you want to help optimize your heart’s functionality then regular massage therapy can help reduce the amount of strain that your heart has to experience; thereby optimizing your circulatory system, which may also boost your stamina and endurance levels in the process.

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Reduce Anxiety

Stress and anxiety tend to go hand in hand. That is, when you’re feeling stressed your anxiety also tends to increase, as you may be anxious about your stress levels increasing, or may worry about becoming very stressed again in the future. In addition, elevated anxiety can also increase your stress levels, as you may become angry over your anxious feelings, or maybe frustrated about not being able to handle your anxiety in a normal and healthy fashion. As such, like yin and yang, anxiety and stress tend to be interrelated or connected in many ways.

In fact, studies have found that elevated stress levels often lead to respiratory problems, such as hyperventilation, as well as recurring panic attacks; which can be quite terrifying and even embarrassing if they happen in public: The cause for such symptoms is usually the release of adrenaline and cortisol, which serve as the primary stress hormones that trigger the body’s fight or flight response.

Then, once the fight or flight response is triggered, the person begins to breathe heavier, which places added pressure on their lungs. The good news is a physiotherapist can actually help reduce the number of panic attacks that you experience, as they can teach you breathing exercises that can help relax you whenever you’re feeling anxious or stressed. Hence, you can prevent panic attacks before they even begin via massage therapy.

Reduce Stress Sensitivity and Improve Sleep

Massage therapy is a form of exercise, and studies have found that regular exercise can reduce perceived stress by up to 78% in some patients. Massage therapy can also reduce stress symptoms and sensitivity as well. In regards to sleep, your massage therapist can teach you optimal sleep positioning, as well as posture training, and even various relaxation techniques that can improve your sleep duration as well as the quality of your sleep; thereby treating insomnia, nocturia, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders that can greatly disrupt a person’s life and well-being.

Conclusion

Massage therapy can make a major positive impact on your wellbeing.