Can massage relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress?

Posted by Angela Olinger, M.T.
June 25, 2014

Angela Olinger, M.T.

Stress is an inevitable part of life. It is almost impossible to take away all the stress and anxiety we may feel on a day-to-day basis. Research suggests that more than 90 percent of illness results from stress alone. Decreasing physical and emotional stress is optimal to improving overall health and well-being.

A 60-minute massage can lower cortisol, a hormone that’s produced in response to stress, by an average of 30 percent. And when cortisol levels decline, serotonin — one of the body’s anti-pain mechanisms — increases by an average of 28 percent after receiving a massage. By lowering cortisol and increasing serotonin, you’re boosting your body’s ability to fight off pain, anxiety and feelings of sadness.

The emotional balance massage provides can be just as vital and valuable as the physical benefits. Massage provides a safe and nurturing place for individuals to relax, refocus and find clarity. It can increase awareness of the mind-body connection. Massage can generate confidence and enhance self-image and self-worth.

Safe nurturing touch helps fulfill the need for human contact, such as the comforting touch we once received at birth. For some, massage is the only caring touch they may receive. Massage can be considered an hour-long hug, providing you with a nurturing safe place to rest physically and emotionally.

I provide massage for many clients who are living with anxiety and depression, and the day-to-day symptoms those feelings bring. Most of them find relief after receiving massage, saying they are able to feel more relaxed and calm, and feel a sense of worth.

My focus as a licensed massage therapist is deep-relaxation therapeutic massage. I listen to my patients’ needs, and together, we create a treatment plan that works toward decreasing the symptoms that come with anxiety and depression. Many clients want to feel a sense of hope — therapeutic massage may help support you on your journey.

If you are one of the many who experience depression or anxiety or are just overloaded with extra stress, massage can be an effective part of treatment supporting you to create a sense of relief, empowerment and mind-body connection. 



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Comments (1)

Great article! I myself have greatly benefited from massage both giving and receiving to help reduce stress and anxiety. Thank you for your insight.

Tammy Johnson - 10/21/2015


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