What are the Mental Health Benefits of Massage?
Dec 28, 2021
The correlation between our physical and mental health has been widely studied and documented by experts. It’s impossible to have one without the other. This is because our bodies require balance for optimal health. For example, stress can have a major negative impact on your mental health, leaving you more susceptible to physical pain from injuries or muscle tension. Conversely, the pain we experience from injuries or illnesses also shoots our stress levels up quickly.
To balance ourselves, finding techniques to improve both our physical and mental health simultaneously is key. While you may be familiar with how massage helps the physical side of your health, are you familiar with the benefits of massage for mental health, as well? Science has shown us that getting a regular massage may have a strong positive effect on our mental health. Today, we’re focusing on the mental health benefits of massage you may not have known!
Experiencing the Mental Health Benefits of Massage
Experts have shown the potential benefits of massage therapy time and time again. While the first things that comes to your mind may be along the lines of using massage for how to manage pain on a daily basis, experiencing neck massage benefits, or how massage may help when recovering from sports injuries, it can be so much more. The mental health benefits of massage are just as wide and varied!
When exploring how massage helps mental health, some of the most prevalent potential benefits to take a look at include how it might:
- Improve mental clarity
- Help fight depression and anxiety
- Manage stress levels
- Boost energy levels
- Improve sleep quality
For those who find regular appointments with a massage therapist time-consuming or a never-ending hit to the bank account, today’s luxury massage chairs have introduced the benefits of massage therapy at home. Some of the biggest benefits of owning a massage chair are that you can use it on your schedule and from the privacy of your own home. Consider how having the benefits of massage for mental health at your fingertips could change your life!
Mental Health Benefits of Massage for Clarity
Starting out on our journey to explore the mental health benefits of massage is their potential for improving mental clarity. Mental clarity is having a focused and clear state of mind. When you have mental clarity, your mind isn't clouded with indecision, wondering “what if,” or by overwhelming feelings of worry.
Limiting your focus, practicing mindfulness, and learning how to relax and recharge are critical for boosting mental clarity. All of these combine perfectly no matter if you’re using a massage chair vs human massage. Many find using a reclining massage chair with heat enhances the entire experience, simultaneously alleviating stress and tension better than a traditional massage at a studio or spa could.
Benefits of Massage Therapy for Depression and Anxiety
Continuing onward in our journey to explore potential mental health benefits of massage brings us to depression and anxiety. In some studies, massage has been linked to significant decreases in feelings of depression when experienced regularly. While the benefits of massage for mental health may not ward off depression in its entirety, it may be very useful for treating symptoms of depression and anxiety.
For example, when we’re depressed or anxious we might feel sluggish, experience muscle aches, or experience joint pain. This brings us full circle back to the connection between our physical and mental health and the balance needed for our bodies to function optimally. How massage helps mental health here is by relaxing both our minds and bodies simultaneously, breaking down the self-feeding negative cycle of the mental and physical sides of depression and anxiety.
Note: If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, please seek medical help right away. Massage may help, but professional medical advice is necessary for creating an effective treatment plan.
Stress Relief Massage Benefits
We couldn’t dive into the mental health benefits of massage without discussing stress levels. Stress is something we encounter every single day of our lives. We can’t block it out entirely, so learning how full body massages reduce stress can give you a tool to use whenever you need.
So how exactly does getting a massage for stress help, you wonder? Massages have been shown to be effective methods for how to lower cortisol levels naturally. Cortisol is the body’s natural “stress hormone” that engages our fight-or-flight instincts and makes us feel stress. One study showed that getting a massage may reduce cortisol levels as much as 30%!
As your cortisol levels decrease, dopamine and serotonin levels in the body increase during (and after) a massage. This increase may provide pain relief and elevate your mood, making the mental health benefits of massage very apparent.
Massage Boosts Energy Levels
Another of the potential mental health benefits of massage on our list concerns energy levels after each session. Whether you are living with mental health conditions, physical health ailments, or simply bogged down from the daily grind, the potential for massage to boost energy levels is fantastic.
Of the top massage chair benefits anyone can experience, an increase in energy levels is one you’ll wonder how you ever lived without! This is achieved by improving blood circulation. As blood flows more efficiently throughout your body, oxygen and nutrients are delivered, giving your body the boost it needs. While it may sound like a physical health boost (and part of it is!) the mental boost you get from increased energy levels may also help you fight symptoms of depression, increase productivity, and enhance mental clarity, as well.
Once again, you can easily see the correlation between how massage helps mental health while balancing our physical health, as well. It’s all about finding the ideal equilibrium your body needs to be its best.
Massage Sleep Benefits for Mental Health
Last, though certainly not least, in our guide to understanding the mental health benefits of massage comes increased sleep quality. The CDC recommends the average adult get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night for optimal health. This means getting restful sleep, however, which eludes many. Unfortunately, statistics show that nearly ⅓ of adults in the United States report not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. The cause for sleep deprivation can range from stress and anxiety to insomnia or other sleep disorders. One simple method to help with this is getting a massage.
As another example of how massage helps mental health, the sleep improvement you may experience from massage comes from:
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Alleviating neck and back pain
- Deepening relaxation
Whether you’re wide awake from work-related stress, depression, insomnia, or other sleep complications, using a full body massage chair may help you unwind before bed to get the sleep you need. Sleeping through the night may improve your overall mental health and help you wake up feeling ready to take on the day!
As you can see, the mental health benefits of massage could have a major impact on your overall health. As our physical and mental health conditions are deeply intertwined, boosting one is likely to have a direct positive impact on the other. From positive energy levels to better sleep quality, choosing a massage chair for home allows you to experience the benefits of massage for mental health from the privacy of home whenever you feel the need. It’s a decision you’ll never regret!
To learn more about the benefits of massage chairs and how they might enhance your lifestyle, check out these additional resources: