Massage therapy involves maneuvering soft tissues in the body to promote relaxation. It involves applying pressure, with hands, both with or without oil. Some massages can also involve use of rollers or other techniques such as application of pressure using feet or elbows. There are different types of massages such as aromatherapy, Swedish, Thai, deep tissue, reflexology, hot stone, and more.
Rubbing the muscles and ligaments not only helps the body but also calms the mind. In fact, massage therapy is now being used as one of the best natural remedies for depression.
Massage therapy is different from Muscle Activation Therapy. The latter is a technique developed to treat injuries by strengthening weak muscles. If you have ever wondered how to deal with depression naturally, then massage therapy may prove useful for you.
Benefits of Massage Therapy for Depression and Anxiety
Reduces Cortisol Levels
Massages can lower cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a hormone produced as a response to stress. During extreme stress, cortisol levels can increase, causing several physical and mental health problems.
Elevated cortisol in the long run can cause anxiety and severe depression as well. Increased cortisol levels can also result in sleeping problems and weight gain, which can both lead to or augment depression. Digestive problems, headaches and memory impairment are also associated with rising cortisol levels in the body. Any or all of these can increase your stress levels, and keep you in the vicious cycle of stress, anxiety, depression and other diseases.
As cortisol levels reduce, you might begin to feel better. Massages work on the muscles, ligaments and cartilages to help your body reduce cortisol levels, by promoting relaxation of the mind and the body.
Increases Serotonin Levels
Massages can also increase the level of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a chemical in the body, connected with the pleasure centers in the brain. Massaging the tissues can trigger the brain to release serotonin, which can make you feel calmer and happier. It can improve your mood and make you feel happy.
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Boosts Mental Calmness
During a massage session, your mind and body become relaxed without stimulants or medicines. It can help people with depression and anxiety to feel calmer and more relaxed. Massage therapy can help people refocus their thought processes and release tension from the mind. With the mind at ease, feelings of anxiety will begin to dissipate over time.
Improves Blood Flow
Massages can improve blood flow in the body and in the brain. With improved blood flow, several body processes also get better. Restricted blood supply to the brain can cause several health problems such as diabetes, heart diseases and obesity. Low blood supply can interfere with memory, which can cause stress and anxiety. When the brain receives sufficient blood, it also receives a good supply of oxygen. When your brain functions are optimal, you can keep depression and anxiety at bay.
Massages can also motivate you to increase your level of physical activity by releasing the tension from the muscles. Increased physical activities can increase the blood supply to the brain and also boost serotonin levels in the body.
Aids the Mind-Body Connection
Massage therapy is a wholesome remedy. It promotes relaxation by physical touch that soothes both the mind and the body. It can clarify your thoughts and help you connect with yourself, emotionally. With a greater awareness of your own emotions (both positive and negative), you can begin to release all toxic thoughts from your mind. With a greater sense of relief, you can be more at peace with yourself. These will help you reduce depression symptoms and keep anxiety away.
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