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Massage and Mental Health

Most people only associate massage with the physical benefits, which are many. However, our bodies are incredibly complex; our mental and emotional health can affect our physical health and our physical health, particularly gut health, affects our mental health. Massage can show remarkable benefits to mental wellbeing. Trauma in the body can cause a wide range of mental health conditions, from depression to anxiety. Massage is a powerful therapeutic tool that deals with the underlying root cause of some of these conditions.

We tend to think of our bodies as made up of separate parts, but it is all connected. If one part misfunctions, this will affect the working of it as a whole.

Our body has a strong response to a threat or stress. It slows down, including our immune system, to save energy for a fight or flight situation. Unfortunately, our body does not differentiate between the threat of a tiger running toward us or the stress of meeting a deadline at work. Humanity as a whole is under constant stress; earning enough money to pay the rent, illness or the threat of illness, and the bad news we are bombarded with relentlessly from the media, to name but a few.

Prolonged exposure to stressful or traumatic situations can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. A key feature in PTSD is hyperactivity of the sympathetic nervous system, which deals with our “fight or flight” response; and this causes sufferers to feel like they are repeating the same traumatic experience even years after the event. This can be triggered by things we subconsciously associate with the experience. Massage has been investigated as a potential treatment method for this condition.

It also plays a major part in giving our body and mind a rest from the ongoing stress and anxiety many people feel on a daily basis. It essentially causes our body and mind to relax and have 'time-out'. This de-stressing effect is also thought to be why massage is an effective treatment for anxiety.

Depression is a complex illness with many subcategories and differing symptoms for each sufferer. Massage has been proven to reduce symptoms in a variety of settings. Studies have also shown massage to reduce post-natal depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia.

Massage can also help us with one of the most basic human needs; sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to a lowered immune system, weight gain, depression, anxiety, diabetes risk, and heart disease. Massage increases both dopamine and serotonin levels which help us feel calm and contribute to increased quality and ease of falling asleep.

Many mental health conditions, whether they arise from past trauma or a chemical imbalance in the brain, have one thing in common, they cause the sufferer to disconnect from the world and the people within it. Massage offers a reconnection that can be immensely powerful. It may be worth mentioning here that Arvigo Abdominal Massage helps to release the negative emotions as they are all stored in the gut, causing havoc.

By taking a holistic approach by treating the whole body through massage, we can address not just the symptoms, but the underlying causes of many mental health conditions.

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