Depression and mood disorders can interfere with your life. From lowering your energy levels to interfering with sleep patterns, the traumatic and lifelong condition of depression can also even exacerbate symptoms of other chronic illnesses such as cancer, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. With many different holistic treatments options available to combat symptoms, massage therapy is a tool that can help improve general wellness as well as adjust biochemical markers to aid those suffering from depression.
Many individuals suffering from depression feel alone or outside the realm of normal social structures. What massage can do is help lend an important sense of support while addressing physical symptoms of the illness. Several key areas it can do this with is by realigning muscles and joints such as:
- The abdomen and diaphragmatic arch
- The musculature and connective tissue of the chest that can result in slumping shoulders
- The shoulder and upper arm area that can internally rotate through poor posture
- And the neck and posterior chain alignment up though the shoulders and upper back area
By addressing the structural change in a depressed person’s physique, massage can provide essential support to help right their body, which in turn can lend a stronger foundation for mind and body wellness.
In addition, the quiet and soothing touch of a skilled massage therapist can impart a warmth on a person suffering from symptoms of depression that may help them feel closer to others and to themselves.
Depression and Biochemistry
Depression can stem from hormonal reactions within a person’s body when exposed to stress. In fact, when immune system function is taxed, it can be more difficult to fight off an actual physical infection. Cortisol, a stress hormone present in our bodies when experiencing elevated levels of stress, fear, and anxiety, can cause high blood pressure and blood sugar which in turn lowers our the immune response and can lead to heightened feelings of depression. Massage has been shown to lower cortisol levels and the same time, stimulate and increase serotonin and dopamine, both neurotransmitters that have the ability to reduce stress.
It is key to remember that although massage may be able to help with depression, it is always smart to include a primary care provider or mental health specialist when dealing with these precarious issues.