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Stress, Anxiety, Depression…and Massage Therapy

Heather Perry, LMBT

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Just thinking about it makes me tired, I need to lie down. Well consider letting a massage table catch you when you fall.
Stress can do serious damage to your body, your health and even cause a breakdown of your cellular structure. Whether it is anxiety, depression, or muscle tension and break-outs. Stress is stress and it can manifest in many different ways, but they can all cause a breakdown in our health and well-being. The question is… How do you manage your stress?


We all know that getting a massage every once in a while helps to relieve stress and tired, sore muscles, but what can regular massage do for your body and mind?


A single session of massage can have positive biological changes on the body, effectively lowering cortisol (a stress hormone), and raising serotonin (a happy hormone). Regular massage can help to reduce the ill effects of stress before they even start, prevent injury and make you more productive. It can also strengthen your immune system to prevent illness and help you sleep better. It’s a great preventative therapy and makes your body better able to deal with stress when it comes along.


We live in a time where we are “busy” almost all the time, we even feel guilty when we are not making better use of our time. But are we really making better use of our time? Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling frazzled and tired, it takes longer to get things done? It is harder to concentrate, harder to rest and harder to feel positive.
Also, those nagging sore spots in your shoulders and back rarely loosen and leave you alone after only one session of massage no matter how good the massage therapist is. Think about it? That spot didn’t develop overnight, its not going to go away overnight either. One session can relieve it, but you start to notice it creep back up on you in a week or so. That’s because we are creatures of habit. Our jobs and lives have us doing the same repetitive motions and so it becomes a cycle. What if you could break that cycle and do something good for yourself in the process?


A healing touch as it were, you still need to take an active role in this process apart from relaxing on the table. Find a massage therapist you like and trust. Consultations are for your benefit as much as for the therapist, so any therapist worth their salt will meet and talk to you before you ever get on the table. It is important that you feel like they are listening to your needs so you feel comfortable the entire session and are able to relax. It is your time and you can speak up if you are uncomfortable. The therapist will not get offended, I promise. It is always better to communicate when you are uncomfortable, hot, cold, need more of something and less of something else or just don’t like your feet touched. It makes the experience that much more customized to your benefit and you will like your treatment a lot more too. Once you establish trust and open communication with your massage therapist, some amazing things can happen. You may even feel less stressed and anxious, imagine that.


Depression sucks, like literally it can feel like it is sucking the life out of you. Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, massage involves caring, comfort, a sense of empowerment and creating better connections not only within your own mind and body, but with your massage therapist. That’s why when you find someone you like, its good to see the same person again so they can get to know your specific aches and pains making your experience customized just for you and your time better spent working on those specific issues. As I have discussed, we all like our time to be more productive.
So, how often should you get a massage?


In general, once a month can help with stress, anxiety and depression. It can also help with concentration, give you more energy and keep those nagging sore spots from bothering you on a daily basis. If the case is a little more serious and you have chronic issues that can be helped by massage, your massage therapist may recommend once a week until your symptoms are better managed. As always, you should consult a doctor for chronic conditions before seeing a massage therapist. That’s my disclaimer.
If you think you can't afford regular massage, consider this? An hour massage usually cost less than a dinner and drinks at a restaurant, less than that pair of boots you had to have but probably didn’t need and certainly cost less than the time spent in bed with a stress-induced migraine (a real experience of mine). Ask your massage therapist about package deals, specials, and different lengths of sessions for more cost effective means.


Thank You!
As always, If you ever have any questions about this topic or any other topic regarding Skin Care or Massage Therapy, don’t hesitate to ask. I would love to hear from you.