The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami¹ has conducted numerous studies concerning massage therapy and mental health. The results include findings that massage therapy effectively reduces symptoms associated with:
- Anorexia nervosa
- Other mental health conditions
Although researchers don’t know exactly why massage therapy has such marked benefits for depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders, it’s believed that it reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and increases serotonin and oxytocin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in stabilizing the mood and promoting sleep, while oxytocin, dubbed the “love hormone,” has anti-anxiety effects and promotes feelings of relaxation, trust, and psychological stability. Experts also believe that massage produces feelings of comfort and connection as a result of caring, physical contact.
Stress plays a role in many health conditions, including addiction, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, hypertension, and heart disease. Stress reduction helps improve overall physical and mental health and well-being.