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Depression can take a real toll on a person’s quality of life, interfering with daily activities, relationships and physical health.

While there’s no one set approach to helping to treat these symptoms, research suggests that stress, anxiety and depression may be positively affected through massage therapy.

Massage therapy can address both physical aches and pains and help to calm the mind and improve mood. Massage therapy practitioners have learned that massage can help ease feelings of alienation as well, because touch releases hormones inside us that bind us to another human being.

Massage therapy can relieve tension in muscles, increase blood flow, and promote relaxation. Massage softens rigid muscle and connective tissue that can be painful, limit movement, or cause inflammation.

Although it is rarely a cure, massage therapy can help manage the physical symptoms associated with a variety of ailments. For those with depression, massage can alleviate sluggishness, back pain, joint pain, and muscle aches. It can also help with fatigue and sleeping problems.

Massage therapy has also been shown to help reduce symptoms of depression in people with cancer, HIV, and many other diseases. In studies, massage significantly reduced the severity of depression when compared to both no intervention and/or touch.

In addition, research indicates that massage therapy can be an effective intervention to improve a patient’s mood after major surgery. Massage therapy helped patients’ mood after surgery, and has been shown to be an effective nursing intervention during post-operative phases with recovering patients.

©The Academy of Massage Therapy and Bodyworks
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