How Does Massage Help With Mental Illness?
Human touch is crucial to our well-being. From childhood development to emotional and overall wellness, human touch ignites the release of oxytocin, a bonding or love hormone that gives a sense of belonging, enhanced sociability, stability, and trust. Research including a recent one carried out at Mayo Clinic has found that massage greatly reduces mental illness.
During the Mayo clinic research, 38 nurses were given chair massage once a week for 2 and a half months to see whether their mental illness would reduce. It did! Mental health symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, and sleep disorders greatly lessened. Mental disorders like stress, rule the body through several hormones that are responsible for our moods. Hormones such as dopamine are our inner givers of happiness. But they cannot release happiness unless they are triggered. Massage increases blood circulation which enables an increase in dopamine levels.
Here is a closer look at how massage works to give five benefits that improve our mental health.
Calms the Mind
One major reason for stress, anxiety, and fatigue is a pressured mind. Massage therapy helps to calm the mind which increases mental alertness and clear thinking. Facial massage activates the sympathetic nervous system and improves a person’s mood. When done often, it reduces stress and anxiety levels. This helps stop the build-up of emotions or other issues that contribute to mental illness.
A lot of mentally ill people resort to drinking alcohol to gain a good night’s sleep. Alcohol can make you sleep, but it doesn’t give you a relaxed, peaceful sound sleep as massage does. Massage helps to increase blood circulation, lower heart rate and release tension which provides a restful sleep. That’s why some people fall asleep during a massage. If the massage therapy being administered includes essential oils like aromatherapy, it’s even better because essential oils such as lavender and frankincense have natural properties that send off a wonderful relaxing feeling.
Relieves Tension Headaches and Stress
Shoulder, neck and head massage work like a charm to relieve a tension headache, migraines and stress. The therapy applied to these areas helps to put off the pressure that is on the head, neck, and shoulders so that they can relax. The most common cause of a tension headache is work overload. A tension headache works together with stress to cause the head to ache from the back to the sides. Massage lowers the level of the stress hormone cortisol which is responsible for depression, anxiety, increased blood pressure, impaired memory, and other mental health disorders.
Improves Immune System Function
Massage reduces the levels of cytokines, molecules that heighten or reduce inflammation. High inflammation causes depression, Asthma and other diseases. Massage goes beyond just feeling good and helps to fight colds and flues by boosting the immune system. A 45-minute massage session every once a week can help tame depression and kick out colds.
Increases Body Awareness
The good feeling, the sensation, the powerful aroma from essential oils and the touch of human hands rise body awareness. This helps mentally ill patients to listen to their bodies and remove the focus from what’s been bothering them. The exploration of somatic responses also helps Schizophrenic patients and other people suffering from psychological issues to connect with your emotions.
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Source: Thrive Global