Massage therapy is an ancient methods of healing, in fact we have 4,000 years old medical text referring to it. In fact, Hippocrates, the father of western medicine said about massage when he wrote, in the 4th century B.C.: “The physician must be acquainted with many things, and assuredly with “rubbing“.
Now days Massage Therapy,often referred to as bodywork or somatic therapy, in addition to “rubbing” involves a variety of techniques to manipulate the muscular structure, the soft tissue and joints of the body that consist of applying fixed or movable pressure, friction, vibration, rocking, holding, compression and kneading using principally the hands although massage therapists can use other parts of the body, like the forearms, feet or elbows. The purpose of massage therapy is to prevent, maintain, develop, rehabilitate or increase physical function benefitting circulatory-lymphatic, nervous, musculoskeletal systems of the body, in fact positively influences the overall health and well-being of the person achieving undeniable results in the relief on an array of discomforts arising from stress, muscular overuse and many chronic pain syndromes.
Massage changes, through nerve terminations in the derma that stimulate receptors in different areas of the brain. This is accomplished by the production of intracellular messengers such as proteins and neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters called endorphins, which are natural “feel good” chemicals, help produce relaxation and a sense of well-being, reduce stress hormones levels of cortisol and noradrenaline reversing the harming effects of stress by slowing heart rate, metabolism, respiration and lowering elevated blood pressure.
Depression and anxiety can cause shortening of the abdominal muscles and a tightening of the diaphragmatic arch which pulls the chest down and forward, limiting its ability to dilate during breathing plus an additional internal rotation of the arms and a kyphosis medial rotation of the shoulders that further restricts breathing.
This involves a shortening of the abdominal muscles and a tightening of the diaphragmatic arch which pulls the chest down and forward, limiting its ability to expand during breathing. There is an additional medial rotation of the shoulders and internal rotation of the arms resulting in a kyphosis that further restricts breathing. Without the support of the thoracic section, the neck and head will move down and then further into collapse. All this distortion of the upper body will cause a further distortion in the lower body and give the body an image of being fully collapsed. The degree of structural collapse will depend upon the duration and severity of depression.
Practicing massage therapy fro depression with the intention of freeing the structural collapse will bring the client from a hopeless, collapsed structure to one that is supported and upright. This sense of support will give the client feelings of having more strength and more capable of dealing with their depression.
Releasing the structural collapse associated caused by depression you will releasing the breath process too, which will allow depressed clients gain more energy that will allow them deal better with their lives and move out of depression.
In 1996, Field, Scafidi, Grizzle and Schanberg inspected the effects of massage on 32 teenage mothers. Each mothers received either ten 30-minute massage sessions or ten 30-minute relaxation therapy sessions over a span of five weeks. Both groups reported reducted anxiety following the initial and final sessions. However, the women in the massage group showed further changes in behavior and stress hormone levels. The results of this study indicated that massage therapy had a beneficial effect on lowering stress hormone levels and improving behavior in this particular group.
Further research into massage therapy for depression has been conducted by Dr. Wen-Hsuan Hou. Dr. Wen-Hsuan Hou sought randomized controlled trials, where a total of seventeen studies including 786 patients were identified by the researchers. Four of these trials compared massage therapy for depression with a control group who gotten no treatment while thirteen of these trials in comparsion of massage for depression with an alternative treatment such as rest or relaxation therapy. An array of methods were used to evaluate levels of depression in the studies and each study was rated according to their quality. Overall, it was shown that massage therapy could potentially be beneficial in alleviating the symptoms depression.