October is a busy month for health and wellness. It is most commonly known for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Massage Therapy Week. However this month we also celebrate World Mental Health Day on October 10, 2013. It was first recognized as a global holiday in 1992 in order to raise awareness and advocacy for global mental health education. In some countries, it is part of the larger Mental Illness Awareness Week. The 2013 World Mental Health Day theme is “Mental Health and Older Adults”. Although the theme might be focused on mental health in older adults, I want to focus on staying proactive with mental health and how massage therapy can help.
Benefits of Massage Therapy for Mental Health
There are a myriad of mental health disorders, but anxiety disorders are the most common in the U.S affecting over 18% of the population above 18 years old. That’s over 40 million adults. Fortunately, anxiety disorders are highly treatable, but only one-third of those individuals seek treatment.
Massage therapy has been proven to be effective at reducing stress and anxiety in a diverse range of individuals. According to a study in 2005, positive changes have been shown in biochemistry following massage therapy in reduced cortisol and increased serotonin and dopamine. Decreasing cortisol levels reduces the constant feelings or hyper arousal and danger; by increasing serotonin and dopamine in the brain, an ease of suffering and anxiety is felt.
Through this state of deep relaxation, massage therapy promotes mental alertness and your capabilities to handle the obstacles in your life that can contribute to stress.
It’s never too early to start thinking about what’s best for your mental health. There have even been studies on infant massage and the effects of massage therapy treatment. Massage therapy was proven to benefit mother-infant interaction, sleeping and crying, and on hormones influencing stress levels.
It’s also never too late to start thinking about your mental health. In this day in age, the world is an office and cases of stress, anxiety, and depression are increasing. There is a combination of risk factors that can contribute to mental health that you may not be aware of. That is why it is more important than ever to put your health first.
Helpful Tips for Your Mental Health
If you believe that you or a loved one might be suffering from a mental health disorder, talk to your doctor immediately. There are few things in the world, if any, that are more important than your health. Depending on your conversation with your doctor, ask if massage therapy and bodywork would be an appropriate solution. We will work with you and your primary care physician to help you reconnect your body and your mind and achieve peace of mind.