- Sleep Problems.
- Inability to focus.
- And restlessness.
Massage Therapy Can Relieve Stress
It is the position of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) that massage therapy can be effective for stress relief.
Stress is a prevalent component in today’s fast-paced world that can negatively impact an individual’s health and well-being. Massage therapy has been shown to be a means by which stress can be reduced significantly on physical and psychological levels. While massage therapists know from experience that massage reduces stress, there is considerable research that validates our experience.
In a study on the effect of trigger point therapy1, there was a significant decrease in heart rate, systolic blood pressure8, and diastolic blood pressure8. Measures of oxygen consumption, blood pressure, and salivary cortisol levels were all lower after a 10 to 15-minute chair massage in controlled studies2, 3, 4. Changes in psychological states have been measured by physiological responses1, 3, the Perceived Stress Scale5, the POMS Depression Scale4,6, and the Anxiety State Scale4.
In the attached studies, all subjects in the massage group showed significant changes in emotional states and stress levels.
- Delaney, J.P., Leong, K.S., Watkins, A., & Brodie, D. (2002). The short-term effects of myofascial trigger point massage therapy on cardiac autonomic tone in healthy subjects. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 37, 364-71.
- Boone, T., Tanner, M., & Radosevich, A. (2001). Effects of a 10-minute back rub on cardiovascular responses in healthy subjects. American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 29, 47-52.
- Cady, S. H., & Jones, G. E. (1997). Massage therapy as a workplace intervention for the reduction of stress. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 84, 157-158.
- Field, T., Ironson, G., Scafidi, F., Nawrocki, T., Goncalves, A., Burman, I., Pickens, J., Fox, N., Schanberg, S., & Kuhn, C. (1996). Massage therapy reduces anxiety and enhances EEG patterns of alertness and math computations.
- International Journal of Neuroscience, 86, 197-205.
- Brennan, M.K. & DeBate, R. (2004).The effect of chair massage on stress perception of hospital bedside nurses. Massage Therapy Journal 43, (1), 76-86.
- Field, T., Quintino, O., Henteleff, T., Wells-Keife, L., & Delvecchio-Feinberg, G. (1997). Job stress reduction therapies. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 3, (4), 54-56.
- MacDonald, G. (1998). Massage offers respite for primary caregivers. The American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Care, Jan/Feb, 43-47.
- Cady, S. H. & Jones, G. E. (1997). Massage therapy as a workplace intervention for the reduction of stress. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 84(1), 157-158.
Disclaimer: Position statements of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) are approved by the AMTA House of Delegates and reflect the views and opinions of the association, based on current research. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach.
5 Reasons Massage Therapy is Perfect for Stress Relief
Massage Away the Pain — The Need-to-Know
Massage therapy is any treatment where a therapist (or masseuse) manipulates the body’s muscles and soft tissues to relieve pain or decrease stress. But all massage is not created equal! Strategies range from deep tissue (often called Swedish) massage to reflexology, where the therapist applies pressure to a specific point on the body in order to relieve pain.
And the list of ailments massage can be used to treat is just as long as the list of massage types. One recent study found that massage therapy can reduce pain, promote muscle relaxation, and improve both moods and sleep quality. Another study found that after subjects were massaged, the levels of cortisol (a hormone contributing to stress) in their saliva decreased. One study also found massage therapy’s pleasurable qualities can lead to recipients reporting a better body image, especially for women.
Worth Its Weight — Your Action Plan
Although massage therapy may be more expensive than a walk in the park or a bar of dark chocolate (don’t worry, everyone eats the whole thing sometimes), it’s possible the psychological benefits of massage therapy may far outweigh its heftier price tag.
But while the majority of massage side effects are stress-relieving and positive, there are a few concerns to consider before diving into deep tissue. Not just anyone can give a truly therapeutic massage, so make sure to seek the services of a trained massage therapist. And while it’s normal to feel a little sore the day after many types of massage, it should never be painful or uncomfortable, so communication with the therapist is key.
*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.