The Benefits of Massage for Depression
You’re stressed! Physically, you feel tense, tight, and uncomfortable. You feel the knots in your back, and even when you try to relax, it seems that you can never unwind.
Mentally, your mind never slows down. Instead of thinking about what is going on around you, you are thinking about what had happened and what must be done in the future.
You’re stressed, but you know the source of your stress: depression. Your depression makes everything worse and overwhelmingly negative. Unfortunately, stress and depression have developed an intimate relationship with each other. Your depression makes your stress worse, and your stress returns the favor by making your depression worse.
Despite their benefits, it seems that therapy and medication just haven’t been enough to alleviate all of your symptoms. You need something that can melt away the stress you experience. You need something that can treat your depression. You need another option that will complement the current treatments. You need a massage.
What Is Massage?
Chances are excellent that if you ask someone to describe their perspective of massage to you, it will differ greatly from your perception. Everyone knows what massage is, but there are many different types.
Generally, massage refers to the act of pressing, rubbing, or manipulating someone with the intention of targeting their skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Some massage can be gentle and relaxing. Others can be rigorous and invigorating.
Physical Benefits of Massage
For thousands of years, people have experienced the positive effects related to massage. Although some claims have been stretches of the imagination with no proof to support their claims, others are well substantiated. Massage is believed to aid in:
- Enhancing the immune system
- Treating various levels and locations of pain
- Increasing alertness
- Improving digestion
- Relieving headaches and migraines
- Treating injuries to muscles and connective tissue
Mental Health Benefits of Massage
As it turns out, the benefits of massage cross over from physical health to mental health. An analysis of many studies found that depression, anxiety, and ratings of stress improved with massage therapy.
This is significant because depression is not merely having a low or irritable mood. Depression is a multifaceted condition that includes problems with:
- Poor sleep
- Weight loss without trying to lose weight
- Lower levels of energy
- Lower interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Feeling slowed down
- Feeling high levels of guilt with low self-esteem
- Thinking a lot about death
- Reduced ability to think clearly and concentrate
It seems that massage can aid in improving all of these symptoms to alleviate overall depression. The best part is that massage is not associated with a high risk of side effects or unwanted results like some other treatments.
Next page: The science of massage for depression.