I also considered M for Meditation, but between already covering Breathing and Hypnosis, and how common meditation is in anxiety relief, I wanted to take another angle.
I started regular massage therapy a few years ago to help manage pain from a musculoskeletal issue. On top of chiropractic adjustments, it was a way to relieve my back of the constant pressure at certain points. But despite the deep and sometimes painful techniques used, I found that I could always come back to center mentally during a massage. It’s so hard for me to take a deep breath and focus, but on a table with my eyes closed and nowhere to go I felt pretty free.
So many people turn to massage for relaxation and, if they’re really feeling it, may add essential oils, stones, etc. to achieve the most relaxed state possible. Why is this? What is it about massage that reduces stress and anxiety and allows us to just “be”? Check out this info shared by the Mayo Clinic:
A 60-minute massage can lower cortisol, a hormone that’s produced in response to stress, by an average of 30 percent. And when cortisol levels decline, serotonin — one of the body’s anti-pain mechanisms — increases by an average of 28 percent after receiving a massage. By lowering cortisol and increasing serotonin, you’re boosting your body’s ability to fight off pain, anxiety and feelings of sadness.Mayo Clinic
Add to that some good aromatherapy and relaxing sounds and temperature, and you have the perfect formula for anxiety relief. It’s as much about the environment as it is the relaxation technique used by a trained therapist.
But in all realty, do we even need more reasons to go get a massage?