Massage Therapy can have a positive impact on the state of your mental health.
Although actively assisting with mental health is outside the scope of practice for Registered Massage Therapists, massage therapy can inadvertently have a positive influence on your mental health.
A few ways that Massage Therapy can have a positive impact on your mental health are:
Decreasing your pain.
Anyone who has had muscle or joint aches know that when you are in pain, the physical pain is not the only element to consider. Physical pain can leave you feeling drained and short tempered. Massage Therapy can decrease pain levels. Decreasing pain can thereby leave you in a better state of mind.
When our clients are experiencing a physical injury or pain, the discomfort can often throw off their sleep cycle. This only exasperates mental health concerns. Massage therapy has been shown to assist with restoring sleep patterns and providing a more restful sleep. When we are rested, our state of mind is improved.
Provides a time to be still and mindful.
Our lives are busy! This perpetual state of busyness causes stress that can not only result in the physical issues that massage therapy can treat (tension in muscles, jaw pain from clenching, etc.) but as we know, stress can also negatively impact your state of mind. Massage works on the parasympathetic nervous system to reduce the ‘fight or flight’ response that stress often has us operating in. When we lie still on the massage table and focus on relaxing, not only are our physical issues improved but our mental health can be impacted in a positive way as well.
Consensual human touch has been shown to lower cortisol levels (our stress hormone).
Studies have shown that human touch can have an impact that is far beyond the physical perception of touch. When we are stressed, our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is very necessary when allowing our bodies to manage stressful situations. Our body’s stress response is only intended to function optimally when triggered for short bursts of time. In our busy society, people often operate for extended periods of time in the ‘fight or flight’ state which leads to elevated cortisol levels over extended periods of time. Studies that have investigated the impact of human touch have found cortisol levels to lower as a response to a positive touch.
Massage therapy can provide a form of consensual touch that encourages a state of reduced stress. It is important to note that not all touch is welcomed. Prior to beginning a massage treatment, Registered Massage Therapists are required to obtain informed consent from the client or the treatment cannot proceed.
Massage Therapy is not to be used as a primary treatment for mental health concerns.
While these mental health benefits related to massage therapy are amazing, it is important to note that massage therapy can not be used a primary treatment for mental health concerns or disorders. When discussing your treatment goals with your registered massage, it may be decided that a referral to a health practitioner that specializes in mental health is recommended.
If you have any questions related to this blog, leave us a comment or reach out through our contact page. We would be happy to help!