The benefits of Massage Therapy for Anxiety

The human body was designed to react to danger in a manner that shows up as “fight or flight” behavior. When fear or anxiety are present; cortisol (stress hormone) levels increase to keep our muscles ready to respond to a real or perceived threat. When this happens, the immune system becomes suppressed and blood sugar levels increase in addition to cortisol levels. A long-term condition of stress and anxiety creates an unhealthy environment in the body.

According to, about four million adult Americans suffer from General Anxiety Disorder during the course of a year. GAD is the abnormal functioning of certain nerve cell pathways that connect particular brain regions involved in thinking and emotion. It is characterized by excessive ongoing worry and concern that is not within the control of an individual. GAD can cause overthinking to the point of possible worst-case scenarios, indecisiveness for fear of making decisions in error, difficulty concentrating and the inability to relax. GAD becomes an interference and in some cases a barrier to daily life.

Common symptoms associated with General Anxiety Disorder are:

  • Fatigue
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Muscle Tension
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Unhealthy thoughts

An alternative and proven treatment for these symptoms associated with anxiety is massage therapy. Massage therapy manipulates the muscles with various pressures in ways that improve circulation, increase flexibility, decrease heart rate, and help to manage the “fight or flight” response. Massage also helps to improve levels of serotonin. There is a direct link between effective serotonin levels and the impact on positive thinking, increased energy, and reduced irritability. In addition, serotonin release enabled by massage therapy can result in deeper sleep as it helps to regulate the sleep cycle. Keep in mind that no different than with other forms of treatment, massage therapy requires more than one instance to provide significant relief. Massages should be scheduled on a regular basis to provide a notable impact on anxiety symptoms and overall health long-term.

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