Can Massage Therapy Treat Depression?

If you’ve had a massage, you probably know how good it can make your body feel. So, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s just as good for your mind and your emotions too. 

As a licensed massage therapist at Genesis Family Healthcare in Johnson City, Tennessee, PLLC, Kayla Fancher, LMT knows firsthand that massage does more than realign your body and relieve pain; it also helps you feel your best. If you want a more natural way to improve your mental health and relieve depression, it’s time to make massage therapy part of your self-care strategy.

The power of massage

Massage is an ancient practice that focuses on your muscles and soft tissues. There are several professional massage techniques that use different types of touch, pressure, and stretching, including Swedish, hot stone, and deep tissue. This versatility makes it a safe and noninvasive way to provide relief for a wide range of conditions, both physical and mental. It also means that Kayla can tailor each massage to your individual needs. 

When you have a massage, you experience numerous benefits, including:

Massage also regulates specific chemicals in your body, including cortisol and serotonin. Each of these substances plays a role in depression, mood, and your overall mental health.

Massage and depression

Your body releases the hormone cortisol when it’s under stress. Unfortunately, high levels of cortisol can alter the structure and function of your brain, increasing your feelings of anxiety and depression, while also impacting your physical health. In fact, more than 90% of illnesses are likely due to stress alone.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. This chemical in your brain both makes you feel good and regulates pain. When you have low levels of chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, it’s common to experience the most common symptoms of depression: low motivation and the inability to feel pleasure.

During a 60-minute massage, Kayla can reduce your cortisol levels by up to 30%. And, when your cortisol levels go down, your serotonin naturally increases by approximately 28%. These simple changes alone can help your body fight feelings of sadness, anxiety, and pain.

On top of the physical changes that improve your chemical balance, massage therapy also involves warm and comforting touch. While this aspect of massage is often overlooked, having a lack of physical touch in your everyday life can play a role in mood disorders by causing feelings of isolation and increasing disrupting hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. But, not only can massage therapy help regulate the chemicals in your body, it can also provide a valuable human connection.

To see how massage therapy can help manage your depression, contact us at Genesis Family Healthcare today.

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