Improving One’s Mental Health Through Massage Therapy


When we need some tender loving care for ourselves, we almost always think of getting a relaxing and rejuvenating massage. But what is massage, and how does it help the busy working mom, the uptight student, or the workaholic entrepreneur?

The Mayo Clinic defines massage as a term for rubbing, pressing, or stroking a person’s skin, tendons, muscles, and ligaments. A massage therapist uses his fingers and hands to press down on the body of his client and produce relaxation. Indeed, massage therapy is becoming more and more popular, but some people need to value massage as a way to alleviate physical as well as mental conditions. In fact, massage has treated people from depression, PTSD, anxiety, and stress.

Jeffrey Barnett, PsyD, defines massage therapy as “a manual procedure that involves manipulating the body’s soft tissue as a way to relieve tension and pain as well as anxiety and depression. Massage therapists use their hands, fingers and sometimes their forearms or feet as a way to relieve pain, rehabilitate sports injuries, reduce stress, increase relaxation, address anxiety and depression, and aid general wellness. There are several different types of massage, each utilizing slightly different techniques. For example, Swedish massage, the most commonly used form of massage in the United States, involves “a combination of long strokes, kneading motion and friction on the layers of muscle just beneath the skin.”

As the epidemic progresses throughout America and the whole world, a lot of people are anticipating positive results from mind and body approaches, such as massage. Massage therapy has eventually evolved into an extra treatment for mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

Below is a list of the different types of massage therapies that can be used to complement conventional medical therapies.

  1. This involves a massage with supplemental essential oils that help heal other conditions. The client may also request to use these oils for any illness, physical or mental, that he may have. The therapist provides the client with a choice of essential oils that reduce stress, improve mood, and promote relaxation. Aromatherapy is recommended for those who have anxiety-related conditions.

“Essential oils are derived from flowers, stems, seeds, roots, bark, and other parts of plants. These natural oils are “essential” in the sense that they have been distilled down to the essence of a plant’s fragrance. People have been using oils for health-care, beauty treatments, and even food preparation for hundreds of years. Today, essential oils are used for a wide variety of emotional and physical wellness applications.” Tiffany Goyer, LMFT


  1. Swedish Massage. In America, this is the most popularly preferred type of massage that involves kneading, using circular movements, and utilizing long, smooth strokes over the superficial back muscles and other muscles of the body. It also uses massage oil but is not necessarily fragrant. Swedish massage is relatively gentler than the other types of massage, so this is more suitable for first-timers or those who do not regularly get a massage.


  1. Massage therapy that originated from Japan, shiatsu is done by using the fingers to apply pressure on the trigger points of the body, especially the back. The pressure is held for a maximum of eight seconds to increase energy flow and balance. If you are one who wants more force but still achieves relaxation, you should try this.


  1. Hot Stone Massage. As the name implies, smooth, hot stones are arranged on specific parts of the body to allow the muscles to relax and loosen. The warmth effectively gets rid of the tightness, and the therapist may even apply pressure on the stones over the body part to induce relaxation. People who have less muscle tension can instruct the therapist not to apply too much pressure.


  1. Thai Massage. Body alignment is one of the main goals of Thai massage. Similar to Shiatsu, it uses soft pressure on certain points, but Thai massage may also include stretching and compression. The therapist guides your body into a stretching and posture sequence. Because it is more active, it is also more stimulating than the other types of massage therapies.


Massage has the unique ability to relieve pain, reduce stress levels, and connect one to his/her body-all this while being non-invasive, feeling great, and having no negative side effects. Pain addressed by massage can be caused from torn, overworked or tired muscles. Tension and stress reduction provides improved flexibility, reduced potential for injury and improved quality of life. Connection with one’s body helps an individual feel more comfortable in his/her skin and improved knowledge of how one interacts in situations and environments.” – Paul Levatino, LMFT

Massage can be utilized as a main form of therapy, or it can be used as a supplement to medical therapies. Whether you are treated for stress and fatigue or are dealing with depression and need some loosening up, massage is among the many therapeutic approaches that provide immediate relief from such negative conditions.