How Massage Therapy Improves Mental Health

Massage therapy can help people of all ages with many different kinds of pains and problems. One of the common issues that people handle is mental health, and massage therapy can help! Massage isn’t just about alleviating pain in muscles or limbs, but it’s about helping someone to feel their best as well. People with stress, anxiety, depression, and even disorders like autism can experience some relief from their condition when they receive regular massages.

Stress Management

Stress is a common element in the lives of nearly everyone across the globe. Many things in life can cause stress, from work or school to family and friend situations. Regardless of the source of stress, it can be alleviated for many people with massage therapy. Stress typically results in increased heart rate, quickened breathing, tightened muscles, and risen blood pressure. Massage therapy combats each of those symptoms directly. Massage relaxed muscles, slows the heart rate and breathing, and decreases blood pressure, allowing people to feel more peaceful and relaxed.


Anxiety disorders are surprisingly common with an estimated 40 million Americans who suffer from them. Anxiety comes in many forms, and often exhibits itself in similar ways that stress does. Research suggests that massage can reduce anxiety in the following people:

  • Patients before or after medical procedures
  • People with chronic pain
  • People with general anxiety
  • The elderly
  • and more

With how prevalent anxiety is in people around the country, it’s easy to come up with countless ways to help them. Massage therapy helps to ease pain that may be causing anxiety, or reduce the symptoms of the anxiety itself.


Depression can be described as feeling general emotional dejection and withdrawal, or even as having prolonged periods of intense sadness that goes beyond what would be warranted. Depression can cause or spring from a myriad of symptoms, so there are a number of ways that massage therapy can help. Depression is frequently associated with brain chemical imbalances, and massage therapy can increase output of positive, balancing brain chemicals. Oxytocin is the most frequent chemical that is released during massage, and can work to reduce stress-inducing chemicals and increase mood and mentality.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that occurs when someone experiences a traumatic experience that triggers a “fight or flight” response in the body. The PTSD occurs when that individual is unable to resolve or act on that “fight or flight” adrenaline response, which can result in a condition where the individual experiences flashbacks, sleep irregularity, anger, stress, depression, anxiety, irritability, pain, fatigue, and in some cases, even more serious symptoms. PTSD can be a complex and difficult condition to handle for many people, so massage therapy can be a good option to assist with recovery.

Massage therapy has a unique ability to assist with PTSD recovery. Massage therapy sessions can focus on muscle groups, tendons, and soft tissues to loosen up stress and tightness. Massage can also target trigger points and work out knots. The touch of the massage therapist can also help release feel-good hormones, such as oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins in the client. These hormones can help them to relax, put their guard down, and to feel more secure. These are just a couple ways massage can be an excellent supplement to help people recover from difficult life experiences.

Learn Massage With OSTM

Massage therapy isn’t just about helping people to have a relaxing and enjoyable time, it’s about improving the quality of life for the clients you meet. It can help some people manage difficult conditions or disorders. If you’re interested in playing that role in the lives of others, contact us or schedule a tour of our campus to learn more about our massage therapy program.


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