Massage therapy can be very helpful for anxiety relief in many ways. Massage therapy techniques such as effleurage, a Swedish massage technique, are very relaxing overall and help to relieve muscle tightness as well. Massage techniques that focus on overall relaxation can help the mind and body to relax out of the fight-or-flight response and into the rest-and-digest response – also known as the relaxation response.
Swedish Massage Helps Alleviate Anxiety
The fight-or-flight reaction can cause physical symptoms like increased heart rate, sweating, and shortness of breath. In some anxiety disorders the fight-or-flight response is overactive. The relaxation response that a massage elicits can reduce tension, decrease heart rate and make us feel calmer. This can also affect our experience of pain and potentially affect one’s anxiety and depression by way of the brain and nervous system function.
During a massage, there are other relaxing techniques used that can aid in anti-anxiety. During the massage, a client is encouraged to breathe deeply, which can also help to decrease anxiety and improve relaxation. Often, there are aromatherapy techniques added for relaxation. The massage therapy also decreases tightness and improves circulation which can affect the physical symptoms. Overall, massage therapy is helpful for relaxation and calming the body, mind and nervous system.
Read more about the Swedish massage technique “friction” HERE.