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How Swedish Massage Alleviates Anxiety

How Swedish Massage Alleviates Anxiety
As many as 1 in 3 Americans suffer from some type of anxiety disorder. These range from Generalized Anxiety Disorders to Post Traumatic Stress Disorders. As a result of the high number of people with these disorders, many people are looking for an alternative or complementary treatment for their anxiety.

Some people have found great relief with Swedish massage. Here are some of the reasons that Swedish massage may provide you with much-needed relief from stress.

Removes Toxins
There is substantial evidence that massage therapy can help the body to cleanse impurities. According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, Swedish massage can help break down built-up toxins in the muscles. The breakdown of toxins and waste products like lactic acid in the muscles can have a calming effect on patients with anxiety.

Alters Biochemistry
The University Of Miami School Of Medicine’s Touch Research Institute reviewed a dozen studies that showed massage therapy relieves depression and anxiety by changing the body’s biochemistry.

Prevention Magazine noted that the exact reason for the change in biochemistry is not known, but it is speculated that it has to do with our natural touch response. Many have suggested that our biological drive for physical connection may be linked to the reduced anxiety patients feel after a massage.

Swedish Massage More Effective
Both Medical Daily and Integrative Healthcare note that Swedish massage is more effective than deep tissue or other types of massage at relieving stress or anxiety. This may have to do with the kind of strokes used in Swedish massage rather than the other types of massage.

Deeper massage or light touch massage may not produce the same stress-relieving effects as the movements of Swedish massage. The moderate touch massage seems to be the most effective type of massage for creating the physiological changes that cause a reduction in anxiety.

peaceful-massage-scene-at-vancouver-massage-centerUnrestricted Access
One of the most beneficial aspects of the use of massage therapy and Swedish massage for the relief of anxiety was noted by Massage St. Louis. Anyone can go and see a massage therapist. There is no prescription required. Many western cultures still put a significant stigma around the treatment of anxiety and other mental health disorders.

This can cause people to avoid treatment for the disease because they are afraid of what people may think of their medical condition. With massage therapy there is no prescription to take, there is no doctor’s office to visit, and there are none of the stigmas around seeing a massage therapist that there are around seeing a psychiatrist or taking psychiatric medication.

Swedish massage can make an excellent alternative treatment for those who either cannot afford traditional treatments or those who want to avoid the stigma associated with seeking treatment for anxiety from a medical professional.

To Ease States Of “Worry”
There are a mind and body connection that we all were born with. But at some points of our lives, we start to lose that connection and massage is an excellent way to bring us back to our “whole”. If we ignore one aspect of being whole, then we are preventing our body from working as a whole, thus effecting the other aspect.

Massage brings awareness of tension and stiffness that you may not have been conscious of. Our minds are so filled with worries, thoughts, hopes, and regrets that it’s easy to miss the effect they are having on our bodies.

The calming effect of massage helps isolate the important thoughts and releases the insignificant worries weighing us down. The release of these thoughts and worries naturally relieves the stress that our bodies have been holding in and releasing stress helps prevent a wide variety of physical and mental afflictions that are so prevalent in the modern world.

Lower Stress Levels
Massage relaxes painful and tight muscles, it improves our range of motion, enhances circulation, and also lowers stress levels. Stress is a risk factor for many chronic illnesses and can worsen symptoms. There are numerous massage therapies available, and finding the right therapist will allow you to get the perfect technique to reduce your stress levels.

One study performed at the University Of Miami School Of Medicine measured cortisol levels in people right before and after a massage and found those levels to be reduced by 53% following a massage.

The therapy will shift your thoughts and rather than focusing on your everyday worries, your mind and body can relax. It also puts you back in control over your health, playing an active role in the management of chronic illnesses.

The majority of massage therapies take place in a dimly lit and quiet room to enhance the relaxation. Therapists sometimes light incense or candles and play soft background music.

Promotes Happiness
When you take steps to invest in yourself by having a massage, you are surrounded by quiet, and peace, shunning the chaos that normally surrounds your world. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that a massage could boost your happiness, though it’s not just common sense, science backs it up.

According to the University Of Miami School Of Medicine’s Touch Research Institute, a massage increases serotonin levels, naturally lifting our mood, leaving us happier. Additionally, it reduces our cortisol levels, which in turn reduces our stress levels, which is a great way to promote happiness. It can also lessen chronic pain, as it boosts endorphin levels, which can really affect positive mood and happiness in those dealing with it on a day-to-day basis.

Therefore, whether you’re looking to add a little pep in your step or you’re battling the blues- massage therapy can turn your mood around.

American Massage Therapy Association
The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) holds the position that massage therapy can assist in reducing the symptoms of anxiety. The reasons they cite are numerous. Their position statement page lists a whole group of studies that have been conducted that show how massage reduces anxiety in patients.

Always Consult Your Doctor
While Swedish massage may be an excellent alternative therapy or complementary therapy if you have an anxiety disorder, it is always good to discuss the use of any treatments with your health care provider.

This is especially true if you are already taking medication for Anxiety or Depression. If you are currently taking medication and want to see the effectiveness of massage for yourself, please do not stop taking your medicine without consulting your doctor.

Swedish massage can have high anxiety-relieving effects, but it cannot counteract the side effects of rapid drug withdrawal. Make sure that you discuss any changes in medication or treatment with your physician, therapist, or psychiatrist.

Swedish massage will have incredible health effects and help you reduce your stress and anxiety. Scheduling frequent massages will be the key to seeing these health benefits.


Get well, get healthy…go get a massage!

Our team at Zanctuary – Vancouver Massage Center is one of the premier trained and certified massage centers in the Northwest and we look forward to helping you find relief and a healthier body through massage.

Call today to book an appointment with us! 360-869-0212

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