By Crystal Schamber, Registered Massage Therapist
With awareness of mental health issues on the rise, we are making a positive step forward in breaking the silence that once surrounded this somewhat touchy subject. Ending the silence of those who are experiencing it, helping them find their way back to stability and balance. Reaching out a helping hand and coming together as a community strengthens the bonds that connect us, as no one should feel as though they have no one to speak to.
Thankfully, we are in a time of change and positive movements are being set in place. The Edmonton Royal Alex Hospital has recently opened their doors, creating a 24/7 center that supports mental health.
So powerful. #onedooryeg
But how can massage therapy help?
Well, mental health isn’t a clear black and white type situation, but rather multiple shades of gray. It’s confusing, scary, exhausting (both mentally and physically). Chronic fatigue, heart palpitations, triggers, bouts of insomnia, fear of rejection, tingling chest, panic attacks, pain, muscle tension, poor digestion. All very real symptoms, plaguing those who suffer with debilitating mental health.
Massage therapy can help with mental health by using a variety of techniques and manual manipulation of the muscle tissue. Benefits of such is that it decreases the levels of cortisol in our bodies, which is a hormone that causes stress, and it also increases the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, which automatically acts to calm the body and mind.
I have seen a significant improvement in my practice with my patients in the areas of mental health, just from massage! Since receiving massage on a regular basis, they have felt a reduction in their anxiety, depression, and stress in general. They have experienced improved mood, sleep, digestion, and less tension overall that they were holding in their bodies.
Mental health can be helped from a variety of different aspects, including traditional talk therapy, such as psychology, psychiatry, counselling sessions, but also from hypnotherapy and energetic treatments such as Access Bars. And now I understand how massage therapy can attribute to creating a balance in body and mind, for the clients I see. Each angle of tackling mental health issues has value and merit.
As Bob Marley would say “One love, one heart. Let’s get together and feel alright.” Maybe he had frequent massages too. 🙂