by Sarah Spruill
When most people think about massage and therapeutic bodywork they think about the physical benefits of pain relief and healing. Beyond that, many think of massage as an immensely relaxing, calming experience. Although all these things are true, there are many more positive benefits from massage. One of these that many are unaware of is the positive effect massage can have on our mental health in addition to physical health.
Massage in itself is a great opportunity for relaxation which can be beneficial to our mental health; however, massage can go beyond simple relaxation. The benefits of massage for mental health purposes have been researched and studied for years. A recent 2010 analytical study of 17 clinical trials found that massage therapy may aid in reducing depression. The study included 786 participants who received massage therapy as an interventional treatment for clinical depression. This intervention proved to be effective as “all trials showed positive [effects] of massage therapy on depressed people.” The clinical trial concluded that “massage therapy is significantly associated with alleviated depressive symptoms.”
Not only can those of us living with depression find benefits from massage, but anxiety disorders have also been shown to benefit from massage therapy. Another 2010 clinical research trial found that massage is equally effective in lessening the symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder as breathing exercises and a calming environment. The trial concluded that massage is an effective complementary and alternative medical treatment for anxiety. Each year there is more and more cutting-edge research on the topic of massage therapy for mental health benefits.
Massage has countless benefits and for our minds bodies and spirits, and can be the perfect moment for us to quiet our minds and be present for ourselves. Be it for simple relaxation or as a tool to potentially help alleviate symptoms of depression or anxiety, massage therapy can have a place in everyone’s lives. For more information about the benefits of massage and differently modalities offered please visit Alchemy Healing Arts Center’s website or give a call to 410-263-1272.
Owner Amelia Mitchell, brings her years of experience as a therapist as well as a deep interest in wellness, self-care, and healing to Alchemy's blog.