Anxiety & Stress Disorders & Massage Research

Updated: Apr 10

Here's the research!

1. Physiological Effects of Massage

Author Researchers Jeanette Ezzo, MsT, MPH, PhD, Thomas Donner, MD, Diane Nickols, BA,PA-C and Mary Cox, MsT, BS

Diabetes Spectrum 2001 Oct; 14(4): 218-224.

Several studies have documented the relaxing effects of massage. Massage has been demonstrated to reduce muscle tension in both subjective self-reports 21 and objective electromyographic testing.22

Remedial relaxation from massage is demonstrated to be greater than that brought about from rest alone. 23 Massage can reduce heart rate and blood pressure, two features of the relaxation response. 24 Additionally, massage has been shown to decrease anxiety in a variety of patient populations, including people with diabetes. 2527 These stress-reducing benefits of massage have raised the possibility that massage may be of benefit to people with diabetes by inducing the relaxation response, thereby controlling the counter-regulatory stress hormones and permitting the body to use insulin more effectively.

27 Trained clinical staff administered 15-min sessions of breathing instruction, light touch, and acupressure to diabetic patients for 6 consecutive weeks using a one-group, pre/post-test design (n = 12). Outcomes were blood glucose, persistence of physical symptoms, and perception of well-being. Patients experienced a reduction in blood glucose, anxiety, headaches, depression, work stress, and anger. Self-reports also indicated the patients were sleeping better and had improved relations with their families.

2. Efficacy of Massage Therapy in the Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

There is an impressive and growing body of data suggesting that massage therapy is effective in decreasing some symptoms of pathological conditions as well as facilitating growth, reducing pain, increasing alertness, diminishing symptoms of depression and anxiety, and enhancing immune function. Preliminary studies suggest that massage therapy decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression, and lowers salivary cortisol levels in a wide array of childhood and adult neuropsychiatric disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, attention-deficit-disorder hyperactivity, depression, bulimia and anorexia-nervosa.

3. Acute Swedish Massage Monotherapy Successfully Remediates Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Proof-of-Concept, Randomized Controlled Study

Swedish Massage is an evidence based therapeutic treatment for generalised anxiety disorders. Swedish Massage includes oil massage using traditional therapeutic whole body and limb strokes effleurage, petrissage, tapotement.

This first monotherapy trial below, suggests that a complementary and alternative manual therapy, SMT, is an effective acute treatment for GAD.

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Massage returns your body mind to homeostasis. Returning your body to homeostasis returns your metabolism to high function. Metabolism is really all the chemical processes in your body that keep you alive: converting food and drinks into energy, repairing cells, breathing, and keeping your organs functioning! This is significant healing for stress disorders!
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