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Massage Away the Blues: How Massage Can Help Against Depression

Posted by Wendy McGrath Sep 18, 2014

Depression can be a difficult battle that lasts a lifetime. On top of its already inhibiting symptoms, depression can also exacerbate other chronic conditions such as cancer, arthritis, and cardiovascular diseases. Massage therapy is a holistic tool that can help combat many of the symptoms of depression as well as aid in improving general health and wellness. With the ability to boost a person’s biochemistry unique to their own bodily structure, massage can help to alleviate the terrible effects of depression.

How Massage Helps

There are many physical aches and pains that accompany depression. Individuals may experience a “structural collapse” which includes:

  • Shortening of abdominal muscles

  • Tightening of diaphragmatic arch

  • Bad posture

  • Shallow breathing or restricted breathing

  • Neck and spine alignment issues

Massage can address these issues by lending a sense of support to sufferers of depression. Through the application of touch and pressure, massage can help relieve structural collapse by correcting posture issues and empowering individuals to relax and release bodily tension that harbors emotion. From working the musculature and connective tissues of the chest, shoulders, arms, and back, massage can help individuals feel stronger physically which may result in helping them deal with other more emotional issues.

By paying attention to deep breathing, massage may also be able to boost energy levels and provide a sense of renewal or reinvigoration to move through depression. Other benefits massage can provide:

  • Lowering cortisol levels (stress hormone)

  • Boosting production of serotonin and dopamine

  • Reduce anxiety levels

  • Encourage quality sleep and ward off insomnia

  • Improve circulation and lymph system function

The mind/body connection is powerful and a massage is a great holistic way to take time to recognize its importance. As with all health decisions, be sure to include your primary care physician and/pr mental health specialist in any treatment plans when dealing with issues like depression.

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