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Massage for Anxiety

What is it?

According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes such as increased blood pressure. 

Anxiety can present itself in different ways. People can experience Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Phobia-related disorders. 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder display excessive worry most days for at least 6 months. they may: 

  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge

  • Being easily fatigued

  • Having difficulty concentrating; mind going blank

  • Being irritable

  • Having muscle tension

  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry

  • Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep

People with Panic disorder have recurrent unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden periods of intense fear that come on quickly and reach their peak within minutes. During a panic attack, people can experience:

  • Heart palpitations, a pounding heartbeat, or an accelerated heartrate

  • Sweating

  • Trembling or shaking

  • Sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking

  • Feelings of impending doom

  • Feelings of being out of control

Some examples of phobia related disorders are specific phobias, social anxiety, agoraphobia, and separation anxiety disorder. 

 

Anxiety Disorders

are the most common mental illness

40

Anxiety affects 40 million adults age 18 or older

36.9%

Only 36.9% of people suffering receive treatment

One-third

One-third of affected adults experience symptoms in childhood

 

Anxiety

Massage can be a great complementary treatment

In one study, massage had a significant improvement on doctor and self-reports of anxiety. 

Massage has been shown to help symptoms of anxiety by reducing symptoms such as: 

  • Reducing symptoms of worry

  • Decreased anxiety levels

  • Increased relaxation

  • Decreased irritability

  • Decreased sleep disturbances

  • Decreased Fatigue

  • Having less muscle tension

References & Studies:

  • Massage Therapy Research Review - PMC (nih.gov)

  • Effectiveness of Therapeutic Massage for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial - PMC (nih.gov)

  • Massage Therapy for Psychiatric Disorders - PMC (nih.gov)

  • Sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking

  • Feelings of impending doom

  • Feelings of being out of control