It is estimated that in any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health issue or illness, and almost 50% of adults who experience anxiety and/or depression push through without seeking treatment. While stress and emotional fluctuations are a normal aspect of life, experiencing chronic stress can be detrimental to our physical, emotional and mental well-being and can increase the risk of developing many other serious health issues. Our bodies generally do an amazing job at managing everyday stressors, but sometimes during periods of high or prolonged stress we need to boost our resilience by seeking support from alternative sources.
How can Massage Therapy help with anxiety and depression symptoms?
Massage therapy is a manual treatment that is used to relieve muscle tension, decrease pain, and promote recovery from injuries. It is also used to increase the bodies relaxation response and can help the body adapt to high stress levels by boosting the parasympathetic nervous system. When we experience stress that is ongoing, our bodies will adapt to produce higher levels of cortisol and adrenaline, which interfere with our relaxation and repair responses. A 60-minute massage has been shown to reduce cortisol levels in the body by 30% and boost the production of serotonin by 28%. Serotonin is a natural mood enhancer- known to reduce pain levels, reduce depression, regulate anxiety, and promote feelings of relaxation and ease.
When our fight-or-flight response is active, we can experience uncomfortable symptoms such as increased heart rate, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, increased muscle tension, decreased digestive functioning, and ongoing fearful thoughts or feelings of dread and hopelessness. Massage therapy can have an opposing effect on these physical responses to stress by reducing tension, increasing relaxation, decreasing heart rate and normalizing breathing, while promoting feelings of calmness and decreased anxiety.
We all experience stress in some form or another throughout our lives- whether it is caused by an increase in demands in our work or family life, difficulties in our relationships, loss of a loved one, physical injuries or living through uncertain and changing times. For many of us, the demands of everyday life can interfere with our ability to really nurture and care for ourselves. But in times of struggle or high stress, self-care is one of the most valuable investments you can make. We are more resilient and more adaptable to everyday stress when we are feeling our best physically, emotionally and mentally.
To learn more about how you can support your body through stressful periods call 604-974-8999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment with Marly Hill, RMT.