Most of us are familiar with the physical benefits of getting a massage, from reduced muscle soreness to improved circulation, but can you also get a massage for anxiety relief? Many experts say yes. There are a number of studies that show massage helps to lower the stress hormone cortisol in the body, boost the feel-good transmitters of serotonin and dopamine, and decrease overall anxiety levels. There is even some emerging evidence on the benefits of massage for depression.
Explore what the science shows about the connection between massage therapy and anxiety, other possible mental health benefits, and how Ceragem products can provide these benefits in the comfort of your own home.
According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worrisome thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure, sweating, and trembling. Though we all feel anxious from time to time, especially during stressful situations like public speaking or a job interview, anxiety can also be an indicator of underlying disorder when these feelings become excessive, all-consuming, and interfere with daily life. Symptoms of anxiety include
Research shows that getting a massage can help reduce anxiety by lowering the amount of cortisol in the body, which is a hormone the body produces under stress. Studies indicate that massage therapy reduces cortisol in the body while also increasing the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, often referred to as the body’s “happy chemicals.” According to the Mayo Clinic, by lowering cortisol and increasing serotonin, massage simultaneously boosts your body’s ability to fight off the pain while decreasing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Serotonin and dopamine aren’t the only feel-good chemicals that get a boost from massage therapy. This UCLA study found that massage also increases levels of oxytocin, a hormone known to facilitate social bonding and reduce anxiety in humans.
One physical symptom that anxiety causes is increased blood pressure, for which massage can also be helpful. Studies show that massage therapy is a “safe, effective, applicable and cost-effective intervention” in reducing blood pressure, and potentially lowering stress as well as the risk for cardiovascular disease.
An indirect way that massage helps to reduce anxiety is by helping to relieve physical pain and tension. According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, chronic pain often coexists with an anxiety disorder and makes functioning even more difficult. By helping to reduce pain in the body, massage can also help to reduce residual anxiety from living with a chronic pain condition.
Along with helping to relieve depression, anxiety, and stress, research also shows that massage can help people cope with seasonal affective disorder by improving mood and boosting energy levels. And not just because of its direct effects on brain chemicals. The Mayo Clinic explains that, beyond its specific treatment benefits, “people enjoy massage because it often involves caring, comfort, a sense of empowerment, and a connection with a massage therapist.”
Getting a massage is often considered a rare treat because of the time it takes to visit a spa and the expense involved. But could a massage chair or bed offer the same benefits as an in-person massage? According to this 2022 study on the clinical effects of using a massage chair for stress, researchers found that using a massage chair was associated with a decreasing trend in cortisol levels and a considerable improvement in depression and health status over the course of six months.
Massage chairs can also offer relief from work stress and anxiety. This study from Cedars-Sinai found that massage chairs and other relaxation tools reduced feelings of stress, anxiety, and burnout among nurses, even when used for as little as ten minutes in a quiet room.
Ceragem brings the physical and mental health benefits of massages to your home with products that range from the CERAGEM D. Core massage chair to the CERAGEM V6 thermal bed. Offering all-in-one, full-body treatments combining acupressure, deep-tissue massage, stretching, and stone therapy, the products are designed for daily use with a variety of modes to meet your unique needs. The latest model, the CERAGEM V6 features patented scanning technology, which automatically adjusts to your spinal length and curvature to deliver a customized massage that rivals an in-person treatment with the aid of air cell massagers and heated rollers. From enhanced circulation to increased energy, the benefits of using a Ceragem device help you experience a daily reset without having to leave home.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist specializing in health and wellness. She has written for TIME, Health, Glamour, Parents, Women’s Health, VICE, and the Telegraph.
American Psychological Association – Anxiety
National Library of Medicine – Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy
Mayo Clinic Health Systems – Can massage relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress?
National Library of Medicine – Massage increases oxytocin and reduces adrenocorticotropin hormone in humans
National LIbrary of Medicine – Durability of Effect of Massage Therapy on Blood Pressure
Anxiety & Depression Association of America – Chronic Pain
National University of Health Sciences – Massage Can Help Those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Mayo Clinic – Mayo Clinic explores: The role of massage therapy for mental health
Science Direct – Clinical effects of using a massage chair on stress measures in adults: A pilot randomized controlled trial
American-Journal of Nursing – Effective Holistic Approaches to Reducing Nurse Stress and Burnout During COVID-19