Before you make an appointment for that massage to alleviate anxiety, you might want to just sit back, put on some relaxing music and take a couple deep breaths.
A small study by the Group Health Centre for Health Studies in Seattle looked at 68 people who had anxiety disorder. They looked at three different types of treatments all conducted in a room with soft lighting and quiet music. One group received ten massage sessions, one group was told to take deep breaths while lying down, and the last group had thermotherapy, in which their arms and legs were wrapped with heating pads and warm towels. All groups saw their anxiety levels cut by approximately 40% after each session. After 3 months of treatment, people in all three groups reported that their anxiety levels dropped by about 50%.
Lead researcher Karen Sherman was surprised at the results. She said the results
“Suggests that the benefits of massage may be due to a generalized relaxation response…”
Massage therapy groups were quick to point out that massage provides physical as well as emotional benefits.
Susan Findlay, spokeswoman for the General Council of Massage said
“Massage therapists do corrective work with soft tissue such as muscles and tendons. They try to make these tissues work as well as possible…However, by releasing tension in a shoulder for example, massage may also reduce pain and so make the person feel more relaxed. This can give the person being treated a powerful psychological boost.”
With more treatment options, anxiety may become one less thing you have to worry about. [BBC]