When you ask exactly how massage therapy works to benefit people with depression, the most accurate answer is “we don’t yet know.”
But that’s not to say the benefits aren’t real, and some, like Christopher Moyer, PhD and assistant professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin–Stout, posit that massage therapy may work in similar ways as psychotherapy. “The size and effect of massage therapy on trait anxiety and depression is virtually the same as that routinely found in the research studies of psychotherapy for those same conditions,” he explains. “Typically, both take place in a private setting and are based on a ‘50-minute hour’ for the length of the session. Repeated sessions on a weekly schedule—or similar—would be a traditional or common pattern when the goal is long-term reduction of anxiety or depression.”
The other striking similarity is that both are dependent on an interpersonal relationship founded on trust. “Some psychotherapy researchers think that the existence of the trusting relationship—sometimes referred to as the therapeutic bond, or as the working alliance—is the most important component of psychotherapy’s effectiveness,” Moyer says. “And the same may also be true for massage therapy, though this is something that needs to be researched.”
Remember, too, that depression isn’t just mental health issues—some of the symptoms manifest physically, too. “Depression is considered a mental illness, but one feels it in the body as well, a sense of heaviness in the corporeal,” says Alice Sanvito, a massage therapist and owner of Massage-St. Louis in St. Louis, Missouri. “The physical experience of massage can change the physical sensation of heaviness to something lighter and can restore the feeling of living in one’s body again instead of being lost in one’s head.”
Moyer suggests something similar. “It’s tempting to say that yes, psychotherapy ought to have the greater potential to help because it ought to provide the person with skills and insight that reduce anxiety and depression, and that help the person avoid them in the future,” he explains. “And who is to say that massage therapy doesn’t do something similar to that? It’s possible that receiving massage therapy gives a person a kind of insight, in that it reeducates the person as to how their body and mind ought to feel when they are relaxed, healthy, less anxious and less depressed.”
There’s also the potential that—similar to chronic pain—some of the value of massage therapy for people with depression comes from interrupting the pattern of symptoms on a regular basis. “Each time one interrupts the pattern and experiences calm, it’s easier to remember what it’s like to live in a more normal state, gives one hope that it is possible,” Sanvito suggests.
The problem, however, is defining what regular means. Although research seems to suggest that more than one massage therapy session is more beneficial for people dealing with depression, beyond that, the information available gets fuzzier. “We do not yet have clear information on how many sessions of massage therapy, or in what pattern or frequency, are optimal or necessary,” Moyer explains. “Weekly sessions would be a good place to start. Then, depending on the response to treatment, that schedule could be adjusted as deemed necessary.
Hyperkyphosis the medical term for what you might know as hunch back. It is one of the most common postural deviations that can lead to chronic pain and reduced range of motion. Its cause is primarily soft tissue dysfunction and postural changes that come from daily activities such as a lot of time driving, looking down and your phone to text and sitting at a desk all day on the computer. Injuries and as well as certain conditions can also contribute.
The goal of massage therapy for this condition is to lengthen the muscles know to be shortened or hypertonic and are pulling the bones out of alignment. Your homework will be to strengthen the muscles that have become stretched and weak.
The massage therapy session for this condition will start with the person face up in order to access the the pectoralis major, minor and anterior deltoids. These muscles and fascia need to be release so as not to keep pulling the shoulders forward as the muscles on the back and neck are worked on.
There is also a little muscle known as Subclavius. This little muscle is located between your collarbone (clavicle) and the first rib near the sternum (breastbone). When it gets tight, it can literally pull the collarbone down toward the first rib - squishing the two bones together and possibly entrapping nerves in between. That will be accessed and treated for trigger points and tightness.
Once the areas on the front of the body are addressed you will turn over and work on the muscles on the back, that tend to become tight, hypertonic and have trigger points, which include the upper and middle trapezius, splenus capitus, spenius cervicis, Rhomboid minor & Major, Latissimus Dorsi.
Self-care is equally important after your massage. Reducing or eliminating habitual offending activities and other factors is crucial for long-term relief of pain related to hyperkyphosis. A few stretches you can do on a daily basis like the Doorway pectoral stretch. There are muscle associated with this condition that are weak and overstretched that also need to be strengthened.
A growing body of evidence shows that massage therapy can be effective for a variety of health conditions. Massage is rapidly becoming recognized as an important part of health and wellness, and research is indicating some of what takes place in the body during massage therapy.
Here are some recent findings on the benefits of massage therapy for health and medical reasons.
Massage Therapy for the Pain of Osteoarthritis of the KneeResearch supported by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) showed that sixty minute sessions of Swedish massage once a week for those with osteoarthritis of the knee significantly reduced their pain. Each massage therapy session followed a specific protocol, including the nature of massage strokes. This is the latest published research study indicating the benefits of massage therapy for those with osteoarthritis of the knee.
11/18/2018 0 Comments
Based on the evidence, massage therapy can provide significant improvement for pain, anxiety and health-related quality of life for those looking to manage their pain.
This is the conclusion of a collaborative meta-analysis of research on massage therapy for pain conducted by the Samueli Institute and commissioned by the Massage Therapy Foundation, with support from the American Massage Therapy Association. The first part of the three-part review and analysis has been published online by the journal Pain Medicine.
Pain is a major public health concern, affecting approximately 100 million Americans.1 It is currently recognized as the most compelling reason for an individual to seek medical attention, and accounts for approximately 80 percent of physician visits.2,3
Not only are individuals affected, but also their families, the national economy and health systems. It is estimated that chronic pain accounts for approximately $600 billion in annual health care expenditures and lost productivity.3,4 This annual cost is greater than the cost of other national priority health conditions, highlighting the significant economic burden of pain.
Research Supports Massage Therapy for Pain ManagementBased on the evidence, massage therapy, compared to no treatment, should be strongly recommended as a pain management option. Massage therapy is conditionally recommended for reducing pain, compared to other sham or active comparators, and improving mood and health-related quality of life, compared to other active comparators.5
Pain is multi-dimensional and may be better addressed through an integrative approach. Massage therapy is commonly used among people seeking pain management and research has generally supported its use. But, until now there has been no published, rigorous review of the available research and evidence for its efficacy for people with various types of pain.