MENTAL HEALTH AND MASSAGE THERAPY
An Effective Approach
"An anxious mind can not exist in a relaxed body” ~ Edmund Jacobson
Have you been suffering from anxiety (including PTSD) or depression? Massage therapy may be able to help. For anxiety, I believe that getting out of your head and into your body is key. Personally, I understand what it is like to be consumed by fear. Going to a psychotherapist for many years has made a large difference in my life. When I started receiving massage therapy weekly, I found it was an effective complementary approach to taking care of my mental health. I began to feel present in my own body and found myself less lost in anxious thoughts. Our mind and body are really not separate. When you work on altering your thoughts your body is also impacted. When you work on the physical body, the mind is impacted. They are one.
Anxiety disorders are not just mental. There are many physical symptoms to anxiety such as muscle tension, headaches, stomach issues, sleep issues, irritability, etc. Our body does an amazing job at trying to protect us. Therefore, when there is something to fear our sympathetic nervous system kicks in and prepares us to fight, run away, or freeze. Once we realize it is all safe and clear our body naturally will return to a parasympathetic state where we can rest, digest, heal, and grow. These two systems should keep us in homeostasis. For some, however, they can find themselves stuck in the sympathetic state. This can happen for a variety of reasons including prolonged stress and trauma.
Massage can help bring the body back to the parasympathetic state. Massage therapy can be a great addition to psychotherapy as once the body is physically relaxed it can be easier to work on the mental symptoms( with your psychotherapist). Massage therapy can be a place to relieve tension, stress, pain, to receive safe and positive touch, to help a client become more secure and comfortable in their body, to feel empowered to express boundaries, and more.
For depression, the AMTA ( American Massage Therapy Association) states that massage therapy helps because it “promotes relaxation, raises healthy body awareness, helps the client stay in the present moment, reduces the chronic stress response, and helps the client reconnect with his or her inner self through touch.” I have taken an online course from the AMTA on massage and depression and am doing my best to keep up with the research on how massage therapy can be an effective and integrative approach to mental health.
My office is within an amazing integrative counseling center called The Enlightenment Counseling Center. They offer a holistic approach. I am honored to be a part of a great team working together for the common good of assisting clients in creating change in their lives. Currently I am offering a mind body collaboration with the co-owner and holistic psychotherapist Jenny Alzate, LPC for clients suffering from anxiety and trauma.
Please contact me if you have any questions about how massage therapy could be of benefit to you.