Also from James is this great post on massage. He explains how a massage can relieve some depressive symptoms. Poor James. He lives with a physical therapist who has good home/work boundaries. That sucks. Go to his original post by clicking here.
I’m married to a physical therapist, and she gives a great massage. The only problem is that she refuses to bring her work home.
Why do people love massage? Is it a physiological response or a psychological one? Is it both? Is it due to the fact that someone else is touching you? Absolutely. All of the above.
The literature shows that massage has a noticeable effect on the chemical balance in your body. It reduces the levels of stress hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine. These stress hormones can trigger depression in some people. It also releases serotonin (our favorite neurotransmitter) and endorphins (our built-in pain relievers). The physical effects include reduced muscle tension, improved circulation, a slower heart rate and increased joint mobility and flexibility. Not to mention the warmth of another person’s hands indulging your body.
It has been shown that two sessions a week reduces the rate of depression for women who have just given birth. In light of the chemical benefits to the body, these results probably apply across the spectrum of mood disorders. The cost of sessions may be expensive, but if it can make a difference to your health then it could be worth trying. If you have a partner perhaps you can learn together.