Massage for Depression

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Massage for Depression

Depression is a mental health condition in which a person experiences long periods of intense negative feelings. Almost everyone experiences sadness, bad moods or feels low from time to time however the important difference with depression is the intensity and duration of these feelings. These feelings can also come on with no apparent cause which can contribute to feelings of helplessness since if we don’t know what is causing something then there is little chance that we can make a change to remedy the situation. Depression also comes with risks such as self harming and suicide. It is a serious condition that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

How can Massage Help with Depression?

Touch is such a fundamental component of being human. We are tactile beings that were held from the moment we were born. Some cultures are less ‘hands on’ and some people are naturally less inclined to physical touch however we all need touch in our lives. When receiving a massage, our body releases hormones related to trust, relaxation and general wellness. University studies have shown this empirically. Cortisol is a hormone related to elevated levels of stress and after receiving a massage it has been demonstrated that cortisol levels drop significantly. Basically what is happening here is that the para-sympathetic nervous system is being activated which I have written about fairly extensively in other articles. This sets off a chain reaction of inhibiting certain hormones and releasing others and brings us fairly swiftly out of the fight or flight response. Massage is quite a straight forward way of achieving this relaxed state of mind due to the fact that all you really have to do is lay on a table and receive the massage. If you are suffering depression you could consider making a monthly massage a part of your new lifestyle routine.

It’s important that you seek professional advice for depression from a GP who may then refer you to a psychologist or other specialists. Using massage as a complimentary treatment to help manage depression is worth exploring as it may help ease symptoms by interrupting stress hormones and promoting the release of ‘feel good’ hormones and for someone with chronic or severe depression this could literally be a life saver. It’s a natural treatment option so it will generally be safe to have a massage in conjunction with more pharmaceutical treatments such as anti-depressant drugs.

What About the Structural Aspect of Depression?

When someone is depressed, their body adopts a familiar form. It hunches over in a defeated, protective posture and it has been shown that even if a person that is mentally healthy and happy holds themselves in such a posture for a period of time they will begin to have feelings associated with the posture such as sadness, anxiety and depression. So aside from the fact that massage will help to treat depression in a hormonal way, remedial massage can also be used to release tight areas such as the abdomen and chest that are contributing to the posture that goes along with depression. Simply by releasing some tight muscles and toning other muscles that aren’t doing their job quite right, massage can help assist to ease those negative feelings by addressing the structural issues present in the body directly.

What else can I do for my Depression to compliment Massage?

  1. Depression must be diagnosed by a GP
  2. Make sure to avoid drugs and alcohol
  3. Make sure to get plenty of natural sunlight and air
  4. Try to exercise regularly (even if it’s just a daily walk)
  5. Try meditation and/or yoga
  6. Make sure to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables

How can I book a massage with you to help with my Depression?

Call 0449 264 980 or 


“Beyondblue”. N.p., 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

“Touch Research Institute – Depression Research”. N.p., 2016. Web. 2 May 2016.

Follow Oak McIlwain:

Remedial Massage Therapist

Oak McIlwain is a Remedial Massage Therapist from Fremantle, Western Australia. He has been refining his massage skills for over 7 years after his corporate exodus. You can read his Bio or find him on or Facebook

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