An abundance of research suggests that receiving a massage promotes our psychological health; the benefits are reported to extend across areas of mental health (including cognitive, emotional and social/behavioural). More specifically, massage has been found effective in alleviating the symptoms of various psychological disorders, including autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, chronic fatigue, and depression. Research suggests it is beneficial across the lifespan, with benefits having been found in unborn babies, newborns/babies/infants, children, adolescents/young adults, adults, and the elderly.
How do researchers come to such a conclusion?
Studies have found that those who receive massage therapy are found to experience greater improvement in their psychological health, when compared to individuals with similar mental health problems who receive either no treatment or undergo holistic treatments that are not massage-based.
To what extent does receiving massage help one’s psychological health?
It has been found that psychological issues are reduced by between 60% and 77% more for the average person receiving a massage, compared to those with similar psychological symptoms who do not receive massage.
How much massage is required for benefits to be obtained?
A single massage can have a positive influence on psychological health – research findings show it can improve state anxiety, negative mood and experience of physical pain. Whereas, multiple massages can positively affect more enduring variables, including trait anxiety, depression and delayed assessment of pain.
Massage therapy may be considered a viable option for individuals who wish to enhance their psychological wellbeing. It may be a useful adjunct to the more traditional treatment methods of psychotherapy and prescription medications. The decision of whether you may benefit from such should be considered with it in mind that some clients (e.g. victims of trauma, from particular cultures) might find it stressful to receive a massage.