Our everyday lives are sometimes chock full of stress, worry, and pain, and this can begin to feel normal and affect our mental health without us knowing it. The good news is that we have access to many alternative methods today that can boost our mental health. One proven effective practice is massage.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health is a state of well-being, in the absence of mental illness, where we function at an acceptable emotional and behavioral level. This means we are able to cope with day to day life and we manage stress and anxiety. We are also aware of our abilities, relate well to others, easily make choices, and obtain a level of productivity that helps us reach our full potential.
Mental health is an important element of overall health. Physical health is a significant factor in our mental health. Massage improves mental health as it works in tandem to improve physical health.
Here is an example of how discomfort or pain affects mental health, and yes, massage is a sound way to treat this myriad of symptoms!
Many of us sit in front of a computer all day long and by the end of the day we often feel the effect of stress via tight muscles and pain in our shoulders and other areas of our body. This discomfort is difficult to deal with mentally, which can lead us to feel anxious and frustrated, “Why must I sit here and feel like this every day? I feel trapped in this chair! My neck is killing me!” As our stress level goes up, our pain level increases, and as our level of pain goes up, our mental health can take a nose-dive. When pain mixes with anxiety, it messes with so much more than our thoughts.
Massage and the Mental Health Connection
Mental health can change over time, and you can improve it through the holistic practice of massage. So, what is the connection between massage and mental health? We are happy to tell you that the connection is real and multi-leveled.
Massage helps to heighten blood circulation which signals our body to increase its relaxation-inducing hormones and endorphins. This acts as a natural tonic as it reduces anxiety and decreases stress and tension—naturally improving our mental health.
Dopamine, a brain chemical that greatly affects mental health, is released during a massage. Dopamine helps to reduce symptoms associated with depression, such as lack of motivation.
Massage also helps in the reduction of the steroid hormone cortisol, which is produced in our body to help us respond to stress or danger. Too much cortisol, however, makes an impact on our mental health which shows up as anxiety and depression.
When cortisol levels reduce, serotonin, a naturally occurring pain mechanism in our body, increases.
Dopamine and serotonin are critical components of our sleep-wake cycle. Healthy sleep can enhance mental health and decrease the risk of developing anxiety or depression.
Massage induces positive change to electrical activity in our brain. Studies involving functional brain imaging reflect the regulation of emotions and stress response in several areas of the brain through moderate pressure massage.
Continued and consistent history of the widespread use of massage indicates stress reduction and positive treatment for anxiety. Over a dozen clinical studies report that massage produces significant antidepressant effects that diminish the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.
Your Mental Health Benefits from Massage
For you, it may be the Healing Power of Human Touch through massage that you find beneficial, but you may also receive a boost to mental health through the aroma and therapeutic properties of essential oils used in our practice. Either way, it is backed by science.
Your focus on self-care and your own body (forget the kids, the job, the typical pressures women often feel), can take you away from what troubles you in the world and put your mind and body in a deserving place of relaxation.
We cannot say this enough:
We want you to feel good!
We want you to be free of anxiety and pain!
Do you reside in the Austin, Texas area, or are you planning a visit? We want you to experience the mental health-boosting benefits of massage!