When you set out to improve your mental health, getting regular massages may not be the first thing that comes to mind. While there are several aspects to achieving a healthy, balanced mental state, massage may be the most beneficial and may positively affect the most areas of the body. There are many ways that massages can improve your mental health; let’s take a look at a few of them.
Improve Mental Health Conditions
Massage has been proven to help with several mental health conditions in addition to those negative mental states and attitudes that persist from day to day. With the release of “good” brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin, a person’s mental state can be altered for the better. Massage improves:
When you’re under stress, your body produces an excess of cortisol, and massage not only helps increase the “good” chemicals but helps suppress the “bad.” Increased cortisol levels can lead to a host of other problems, so reducing its production to a normal level is beneficial for both the mind and the body.
Massage has been proven to help with the symptoms of anxiety and depression, because both tend to create muscle tension and tightness, especially in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. In addition to the chemical changes that occur during a massage, the release of tension and increased relaxation will help your mental state by making you feel better and therefore think better. Serotonin combats depression on its own, and that is just one of the many benefits of massage for improving anxiety and depression.
In the same way that the “feel-good” chemicals counteract anxiety and depression, your mood gets a boost and lift from a massage—regardless of the state you were in prior to it. Maybe you’re not under an excessive amount of stress and you’re generally happy and calm. The increase of the positive chemicals will still bump up your mood—and you’ll leave even happier than you were before. No one dislikes a mood booster!
Even if you’re not experiencing large amounts of depression or anxiety, everyone has days when they feel irritable or get angry easily. It’s a normal part of life, and it’s unavoidable. But those same “good” chemicals that reduce stress and anxiety will also work on anger, leaving your irritation dissolved and evaporated into thin air. If you tend to have anger issues and are consistently irritable, you might want to consider regular massages as a rule and a part of anger management. It will help you to relax and avoid situations that you may regret later!
Sometimes insomnia can come along with anxiety, depression, and stress. Unfortunately, the body’s fight-or-flight response doesn’t necessarily shut down at night—and lack of sleep will only increase anxiety and prevent recovery. Regular massages can help you sleep not only by relaxing you at the time, but by training your mind to feel the relaxation so it can remember and mimic that when you go to sleep at night. Not only will you be able to fall asleep, you’ll sleep deeper and better, and you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and with a more positive attitude. Not only will that boost your mood as well, it will help to eradicate depression and anxiety and help you to deal with everyday stressors that love to come creeping back. Improved sleep will also help ward off sickness and boost overall health.
By reducing tension and promoting relaxation, regular massages can help to balance a person’s mental state by equalizing the production of good and bad hormones, improving sleep functions, and reducing stress that can lead to anxiety or depression. All of these factors combine to create a better outlook on life, improved moods, and overall health and happiness. If even a single massage can help with these aspects, imagine what consistent massages can do to boost mental health!