Massage’s Benefits for Anxiety Matched by Other Methods

Getting a soothing and relaxing massage has long been not only a popular source of unwinding and pleasure after a hard workweek or difficult event, but has also been hailed for its ability to ease symptoms of anxiety. In fact, massage therapy has traditionally been one of the most frequently-used alternatives to medical and psychotherapeutic treatment for anxiety, though issues of access to care and affordability exist. Providing the groundwork for a potential widening of the availability of these therapeutic benefits, a study recently published in the journal Depression and Anxiety has found that similar treatments, such as practicing deep breathing while lying down or receiving thermotherapy through warm towels applied to the limbs, all complimented with low light and soft music, are equally effective in reducing symptoms.

The study split participants into three groups, each of which received one type of treatment. After a twelve week study period in which subjects received ten therapeutic sessions, the researchers found that consistent reports of about a forty percent reduction in anxiety symptoms was experienced in each group, and this effect was amplified to a fifty percent reduction across all groups after a follow-up performed three months later. The research powerfully demonstrates that the process of relaxation itself may be the key component of the reduction of anxiety in alternative treatments, rather than the specific application involved.

As massage therapy can be difficult for some clients to acquire given its cost, the potential for relatively low-cost or free treatments attainable in the home may bring hope to greater numbers of those who suffer from the symptoms of anxiety. Further research, including study performed with a control group receiving no therapeutic treatment, may help cement the known benefits of a wider range of options.

© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Carol

    Carol

    March 13th, 2010 at 7:04 AM

    Anything that offers a brief respite from the anxieties of the outside world is sure to have a calming effect on you. Facials, pedicures (can you tell I’m a spa girl at heart) can all allow you to relax for a bit and let go of the troubles that you may otherwise be facing. Things like this, even a good walk, can allow you to separate yourself from the rush of the bad things going on in life and focus on the good.

  • gary lewis

    gary lewis

    March 13th, 2010 at 8:13 AM

    massage is good not only because it regulates blood flow in addition to relieving the stress and other issues but also because it saves us from consumption of meds and any sideeffects that may come up due to their use…a very good alternative indeed.

  • BETTY

    BETTY

    March 13th, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    I do love massages myself and I can say that they do help to get rid of stress for sure.
    But to know that there are even other methods that can provide the same is good as well,because the more alternatives there are,the better it is.

  • Madeleine

    Madeleine

    March 14th, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    A good day of shopping typically works pretty well for me! ;-)

  • jack h

    jack h

    March 15th, 2010 at 6:36 AM

    Yoga is a teriffic stress reliever

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