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Massage Helps Reduce Anxiety

Massage Helps Reduce Anxiety

Massage Therapy for Anxiety

Approved September 2013

Position Statement

It is the position of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) that massage therapy can assist in reducing the symptoms of anxiety.

Background Information

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 40 million adult Americans suffer from anxiety disorders.1  Anxiety and its disorders shape the quality of life and the health of those  individuals affected.2

Research indicates massage can:

- reduce anxiety:

  • in psychiatric patients3
  • in those with chronic pain4
  • for cancer patients5,6,7,8,22,30,32
  • for patients undergoing bone marrow transplants7
  • in children with illnesses8,9
  • in nurses10,39 
  • associated with lower back pain11,12,13
  • in those with headaches15,19,25
  • in patients awaiting invasive cardiovascular procedures18
  • in healthy adults 21
  • in patients with generalized anxiety disorder20
  • in patients under local anesthesia17,23
  • in stroke patients24
  • in the elderly24,31
  • in children and adolescent psychiatric patients27
  • in those at the end of life29
  • in adults with hand pain33
  • in patients with fibromyalgia34
  • in patients withdrawing from psychoactive drugs35
  • in burned adolescents36
  • in patients with congestive heart failure38
  • in women in labor40

- increase a sense of calm/reduce anxiety after surgery 14, 17, 37
- reduce anxiety pre-surgery23
- reduce trait anxiety with a course of treatment providing benefits similar to psychotherapy16
- reduce the psychological and physiological anxiety levels in patients having cataract surgery17
- increase neurotransmitters associated with lowering anxiety28
- decrease hormones associated with increasing anxiety28

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