With modern medicine looking at preventative rather than treatment techniques Dr. Wen-Hsuan Hou of I-Shou University in Kaohsiung, Taiwan and his colleagues carried out a review of massage therapy treatments and their effect on depressed participants in an attempt to quantify the effectiveness of massage therapy as a potential aid against depression and, as a bona fide preventative technique.
Massage Therapy Reduce Stress
While massage can ease stress and tension and may have emotional benefits, the use of massage therapy depressed in patients is “controversial,” the investigators note, and “there is no qualitative review of the treatment effect of massage therapy in depressed patients.”
To investigate further, they searched for randomized controlled trials of massage therapy in depressed patients. They identified 17 studies including 786 people in all. In 13 of the trials, massage therapy was compared to another active treatment such as Chinese herbs, relaxation exercises, or prescribed rest, while four compared massage to a “no treatment” control group. Investigators also used a range of methods for evaluating mood and depression in study participants.
Treating Depression With Massage
Writing in the American Journal of Psychiatry the researchers detailed how massage therapy techniques had “potentially significant effects” in alleviating symptoms of depression. Although the exact mechanism through which massage helps achieve these results is not clearly defined a growing body of medical research shows that massage therapy is having tangible results in the prevention of and treatment of a host of disorders which range from anxiety and chronic pain to blood pressure, fatigue and, now, depression.
During massage treatments the body’s endocrine system apparently elevates the hormone oxytocin which, in turn, impacts on many of the body’s systems guiding the perception of pain and even the body’s immune response.
Benefit of Massage Therapy
Although the researchers agreed that further studies are warranted weight is slowly gathering behind the benefits of massage therapy as a means of preventing many of what we have come to regard as ‘modern illnesses’. These include depression, high blood pressure, stress, anxiety and a low immune system caused by a pressured, modern lifestyle.
There is a tendency sometimes to over medicate in an attempt to get rid of symptoms which might have been treated in a much less aggressive way.
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