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Massage for Depression
Massage - The great all over healer for the body, mind and spiritLift yourself out of the cycle of depression - see how this state change benefits the body!
Treating depression with massage may seem a little strange, as we are all strongly advised that the only thing depression responds to is medication, more precisely, antidepressants. In fact there are far more types of antidepressants than there are types of depression, which is a great little earner for the drug companies who ship out millions of pills a month to sufferers around the UK. So who cares if they don't work?
I don't suppose this is the place to debate this, but you can follow up the news reports here.
Depression is a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, sadness, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, hopelessness, disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, low energy, low libido, and poor concentration.
These problems can become chronic or recurrent and lead to substantial impairments in an individual's ability to take care of his or her everyday responsibilities. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that within 20 years more people will be affected by depression than any other health problem, and depression will be the single biggest health burden on society both economically and sociologically.
So here is the case for using massage in the management of stress, anxiety and depression.
It is often the case that suffering from physical pain goes hand in hand with psychological depression, and that chronic pain is almost certainly going to lead to depression eventually. The side-effects of antidepressants vary by type, but you may potentially feel one or more of the following; feelings of emotional detachment, painful, aching joints, sleeplessness and anxiety. Other side-effects may include; blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness, increased appetite, nausea, restlessness, shaking or trembling, severe headache, an abnormally fast heartbeat (tachycardia), irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), constipation, diarrhoea, abnormal erection, dry mouth, seizures (fits), unconsciousness, and now you can add suicide to that list.
What do you notice about many of those side-effects? If you're a massage enthusiast, you'll immediately realize massage can be of value in helping reduce many of those symptoms. In fact many of those symptoms are triggers for depression, and prolongers of a depressive state. Which may cause us to conclude that depression can be prolonged by the very medication taken to shorten its duration.
Massage triggers the body to release many therapeutic mood and health enhancing chemicals, including dopamine and serotonin, and reduces the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
What do you conclude from all this?
One of the things I find with some frequency is that many patients who are depressed but have massages, often experience sufficient mood change to see some light at the end of the tunnel. They feel different, they begin to think different, they experience a sense of hope. Before you know it, they are talking to their doctor to ask if they can reduce or come off their medications, and more often than not, they can. Obviously the time for this varies with each patient.
The secret here is for the partners of the depressed to make the decision for them to come for massage. One of the symptoms of depression is the inability to make good choices about what will be helpful or not. So it is very often the partner who calls me up to make the appointment, and then it is them who brings the depressed person for treatment.
Usually the depressed soul, couldn't give a jot one way or the other. You have to prove to them this is going to work, almost before you even touch them, otherwise they have no hope of it feeling better than kneading dough.
That's why massage is so valuable here. The resistance is real initially, but gradually massage helps to break down the barriers to self help for the depressed person. Stage one is the reduction in pain levels and the anxiety associated with chronic pain. Stage two is the increased degree of calmness and relaxation which is such a contrast to a busy mind that spends most of its time in a negative state. This calm and relaxed state gives the mind chance to slow down and see the colours. Stage three is seeing yourself in a new light, and looking forward to the future. Stage four is accepting and reconnecting to the love and help that is on offer from those around you.
Can You Use Massage for Depression?
A Reuters health section article (Mar 2010) suggests - 'Massage therapy may help relieve symptoms of depression, a new review of the medical literature hints'. The authors of the review acknowledged there were difficulties with research on the effects of massage because it's impossible to "blind" study participants or care providers to whether a person is receiving massage or not, or a comparison treatment. The thing is, the one's that weren't getting it might realize, so the placebo effect wouldn't apply. Nevertheless, they concluded there is "good evidence to suggest that massage therapy is an effective treatment of depression."
Overall, the studies, which were of "moderate" quality, showed that massage therapy had "potentially significant effects" in alleviating symptoms of depression, the researchers report in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
My own conclusion is this; regular massage is very therapeutic and can help to reduce levels of anxiety and depression. Generally, mood and sleep patterns also show big improvement, and clients find they sleep more soundly and for longer periods of time. The only proviso I would have is, not to abandon your current prescription and medication without consulting your doctor. Then, when you have had several treatments, and made significant, consistent and measureable progress, liase with your doctor about gradually phasing out your medication over time and with their permission. That is the surest way to beat your depression in the safest way possible.
Massage doesn't have to be a luxury, though it is true, it should be luxurious. It is an investment in your short and long term health and wellbeing. More and more people are now discovering the health benefits of massage, which increases our quality of life immensely. Stress is now known to be one of the main contributors toward disease and illness in the body, yet massage can significantly counteract the effects stress has on the body, which makes it an ideal preventer of disease. If this idea resonates with you, I invite you to visit The Haven Healing Centre in Blagdon for a massage session. Appointments and a treatment price list are available by clicking here. I look forward to welcoming you soon. Phil.
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Note: DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
It's a small investment in yourself, but could be a life-changing experience you will cherish forever.
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