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The Effects of Massage Therapy on Mental Health and Other Health Conditions

by Laura Dickman, BSW Intern



What are the benefits of massage therapy on mental health?

Massage therapy has numerous benefits it can provide for mental health as it can be a safe therapeutic space that individuals might not have been aware they needed. Massage therapy provides relief in all three areas of holistic healing, such as: bio, psycho, and social aspects. To better explain this we must analyze why massage therapy can relieve such a wide range of problematic symptoms in the client’s life?

Massage therapy can work holistically to calm the nervous system, which in turn calms the anxiety/PTSD (other mental illness) an individual may be experiencing. The reduction of these overwhelming negative symptoms provides a space of relief and relaxation for the client. This space for healing may allow the client to better understand their mental illness and how to reduce these symptoms on their own. According to the website AmericanMassageTherapyAssociation.org (https://www.amtamassage.org/publications/massage-therapy-journal/massage-and-ptsd/ ), massage therapy can provide benefits for mental health in similar ways to psychotherapy.

How Does Massage Therapy Improve Physical Health?

There are three primary ways massage therapy improves physical health, observed from published research. It is concluded that massage therapy’s physical effects on the body are:

  1. Reduces cortisol levels

  2. Lowers heart rate and blood pressure

  3. Reduces pain in the body

When the client begins to relax during the session, their blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels drop. The decrease in the nervous system's tension alleviates many ongoing symptoms for the client. After the session the client may feel relaxed, energetic, happy, motivated and a variety of other positive reactions to the flood of good hormones in the brain after bringing down the nervous system’s ongoing tension. This rapid release of tension in the body can have a significant improvement on an individual’s daily functioning.


What Populations Can Massage Therapy Help?

Massage therapy is a form of gentle-yet-effective therapy for several different populations seeking relief from a variety of symptoms. These populations include, but are not limited to:

  • Individuals with anxiety disorder, depression, postpartum depression, PTSD/ complex PTSD, and other mental illnesses

  • Health adults

  • Elders

  • Veterans

  • Individuals struggling with life transitions


Statistics Supporting Massage Therapy for Mental Illness:

According to the American Massage Therapy Association:

  • A study published in Military Medicine provided data showing significant decrease of the following symptoms for veterans in massage therapy:

  • anxiety/ depression

  • Physical pain

  • tension/ irritability

  • Other mental illness

  • Research published in Applied Nursing Research provided promising data in support for chemotherapy patients receiving massage therapy during chemotherapy sessions to relieve anxiety and acute pain.

Massage therapy works on a deeper level than just relieving acute muscle pain, as it allows for the nervous system to decompress and alleviate ongoing mental illness.

Experience A Grace-Filled Massage!

Graceful Therapy LLC is now offering grace-filled massages that incorporate high-quality massage creams infused with essential oils to provide a more holistic therapeutic experience in massage therapy. The sessions will also incorporate the use of mindful grounding techniques and guided breathing meditations. At Graceful Therapy we use a variety of successful different therapeutic approaches in sessions and are excited to offer another supportive & unique experience for our clients.

The prices for a Grace-Filled Massage session starts at $90 for a 60-minute massage, and $125 for a 90-minute session. If you or a loved one are interested in more than one session, we do offer larger packages to save you money! Packages include 6 sessions of 60 minute massages for $480, or a package of 9 sessions of a 90-minute massage for $690. Give us a call at (630) 733-9108 to schedule today.




Resources

McCafferty, I. (2016, May 24). In safe hands: Massage & PTSD: Massage therapy journal. American Massage Therapy Association. Retrieved October 25, 2021, from https://www.amtamassage.org/publications/massage-therapy-journal/massage-and-ptsd/.

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