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People often turn to massage therapy to relieve stress because they realize the effects of releasing muscle tension and taking time to pamper their bodies. But what they may not realize is that there are physiological reasons that massage relieves stress. And these are the same reasons that massage can decrease depression.
In 1996, a study was conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine to determine the effects of massage therapy on anxiety. In this study, a group of adults were given chair massages for 15 minutes, 2 times a week.
Tests performed on the subjects showed increased frontal delta waves, proving relaxation, and decreased alpha and beta waves, suggesting a decrease in anxious thoughts.
At the end of the study, which lasted 5 weeks, the group’s depression scores were much lower than they were at the beginning.
There are a couple of reasons massage therapy is useful in treating more than muscle tension.
A main factor in anxiety is cortisol. Cortisol is released for various reasons, but when your stress increases, so do your cortisol levels. And when your cortisol levels increase, so does your stress.
See why stress is such a vicious cycle?
Massage therapy is beneficial to getting you off the cycle by decreasing cortisol levels. Once the cortisol levels are down, your body starts to naturally become more relaxed.
The other thing massage does is encourage your body to release oxytocin and endorphins. Both of these natural “feel-good” chemicals lead your body into a relaxed state of euphoria.
It’s a little known fact that before all the drugs for depression were so freely distributed, massage therapy was a common treatment for the disorder. This generation seems to be catching on to the benefits of natural treatment and seeking ways to treat disorders with fewer drugs.
While you should never stop taking a prescription without the advice of a physician, massage therapy should be a treatment that you add to your regime in order to enhance your overall well-being.
Call us today to book your massage, and get yourself back on track to a healthier outlook on life!