Massage & Mental Health

Massage & Mental Health

And why that’s important

Over the past 10 years or so November has become Movember. This great initiative, which started in 2003, has become a worldwide phenomenon, helping to raise awareness of men’s mental health issues as well as prostate and testicular cancer. Remedial massage can play a huge part in addressing both mental health and, believe it or not, cancer symptoms.

Massage has been practiced by many societies going back to the Ancient Egyptians. The benefits were well understood by ancient cultures. But in the 20th century, the focus of healthcare moved to ‘biological’ sciences. Recent studies, however, have identified that massage can be a hugely beneficial addition to the treatment regime of all sorts of illnesses.

Massage and Mental Health

The link between massage and mental health – in particular depression and anxiety – is well understood. In fact, a 2004 study suggested the positive benefits of a course of massage treatment were similar to those of psychotherapy.

Massage reduces the production of cortisol – a hormone related to stress, whilst at the same time increasing the release of endorphins, which create a feeling of well being. Massage can also increase dopamine and serotonin levels. These hormones affect a range of functions including cognitive function, mood, sleep and appetite. Massage also relaxes the muscles, which contract and stiffen when the body – or the mind – are under stress.

By relaxing the body, decreasing cortisol and increasing endorphins we are creating a state of mind which allows sufferers to use the cognitive skills they may have learned in other therapies such as counseling to reduce the symptoms of their depression or anxiety.

This relaxation can also help improve sleep, which improves the ability of patients to function effectively.

Massage and Cancer

Firstly – we are not suggesting massage can cure cancer. It can’t. However, the symptoms of cancer and the side-effects of cancer treatments can be managed and reduced with massage.

Sadly, and understandably, many cancer patients suffer from depression and outcome-related anxiety. As we have said, massage can certainly help alleviate these symptoms. However, massage also boosts the immune system, thereby helping to strengthen the body to weather the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Pain and nausea can be reduced, and the improvement in circulation can lead to an increase in energy, which is often a significant problem for cancer patients.

Get in touch

Precision Health Spine & Sports Clinic offers Remedial and Swedish Massage that is ideally suited to incorporation in a treatment regime aimed at reducing depression and anxiety, or in relieving the pain and symptoms associated with cancer and its treatment. If you would like to know more or would like to make an appointment call our Baulkham Hills clinic on (02) 9639 7337.

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