Many people today suffer from anxiety in one form or another. Sometimes it is a temporary anxiety, where they are anxious about a certain deadline that will pass, or a stressful situation at work. In rarer cases, they are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder that affects their life in a more extreme way, making it hard to function and deal with others socially.
The type of anxiety that has been most studied is the type that is temporary or recurring, but is not a chronic condition requiring a diagnosis and treatment. With temporary anxiety, such as the kind engendered by a working environment, massage therapy has been shown to help significantly. In many of the studies, not only was self reported anxiety diminished, but also salivary cortisol levels were reduced, where cortisol is the stress hormone.
This is good news for people who work in high stress environments, most especially nurses and other healthcare providers who work long hours with few breaks and for many days at a time. Another small study done by the Touch Research Institute showed that massage therapy enhances alertness and brain power, as demonstrated by improved scores on math computation tests. The same study also showed that people given the massages had less anxiety, both self reported and measured by cortisol levels.
With regard to the second type of anxiety, which is more long term and can be debilitating, several studies were done on psychiatric patients who received massage therapy. These patients suffered from anxiety, depression, hostility, and lack of sleep. The results showed that even these individuals benefited from massage therapy. They had less anxiety and depression, as well as better sleep at night. Their hostility and aggression were also significantly reduced, prompting the researchers to state that “massage… may be a useful de-escalating tool for reducing stress and anxiety in acutely hospitalized psychiatric patients.”
When it comes to dealing with life and the stresses produced by it, it seems that massage therapy has been shown to be very helpful. Stress, anxiety, tension, depression, and aggression have all been studies with regard to massage, and the results are promising. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of massage therapy, please click here. If you are interested in having your own session of massage therapy at your location, please click here.