Anxiety and Depression:
Anxiety and depression are on the rise for both clients and practitioners. Anxiety and depression can affect anyone and manifests differently in each person. There are ways to manage and treat both anxiety and depression. Studies show that massage can actually relieve depression and anxiety that is affecting the body’s biochemistry, according to the Touch Research Institute at the University Of Miami School Of Medicine. Massage therapy can relieve the tension that naturally happens in muscles and connective tissues when they become stiff. Blood flow increases and that alone promotes relaxation to create relief from the physical symptoms of depression including back pain, muscle aches, sluggishness, and sleeping problems.
A new survey on mental health from the You-Gov Cambridge Globalism Project shows that 53% of American women said their working life has become more stressful due to the pandemic, 50% of people in the U.S. ages 18 to 24 say the pandemic has badly affected their mental health, and just 43% of the overall U.S. population say they feel optimistic for the future. High-profile athletes (Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles) and others are being honest about struggles with mental health—and although massage is not a replacement for mental health care and referrals should be made as needed, massage therapy has been found by researchers to decrease anxiety and depression while boosting feel-good hormones like oxytocin.
Massage as a Healthcare Modality:
Massage continues to be considered more for well-being and healthcare versus the historical just relax and pampering. Of consumers that discussed massage with their doctor: 57 percent of respondents discussed pain relief or pain management with their doctor. 36 percent discussed injury recovery or rehabilitation with their doctor. 47 percent discussed soreness, stiffness, and spasms with their doctor.
Mindfulness is a practice developed through meditation, breathwork and remembering to be here now. Mindfulness has been seen as an antidote to modern stressors for many years—but has taken on a larger significance due to the pandemic, political strife and growing unease about what may come.
“The almost unfathomable upheavals of the global pandemic have been an ongoing reminder of the fragility of our lives; we have felt, again and again, how hopes and plans and expectations can be dashed without warning,” says educator and author David M. Lobenstine, LMT. “As a result, the gift that mindfulness gives—a reminder to remain in the present moment—is more valuable than ever.” Practicing mindfulness during a massage session can be particularly powerful, he adds. “When we become aware of the rise and fall of our own breath—when we notice our wandering thoughts without judgement and bring our attention back to the next exhalation—then we provide a template for the client to do the same and feel more at ease in their own body and brain and breath.”
Global Massage Makes Me Happy Day:
Global Massage Makes Me Happy and Healthy Day is celebrated on March 20th of every year to highlight the benefits of massage therapy. It launched in 2018 and is celebrated at the same time as the International Day of Happiness. Each year consumers, spas, wellness centers, massage schools, associations, businesses, the media, researchers, and individual practitioners promote this day and many hold activities to coincide with this event.
Massage Makes Me Happy and Healthy Initiative
- Lynda Solien-Wolfe, Chair, In Loving Memory (2018-2023)
- Heather Zdan, Vice Chair
- Karen Short
- CG Funk
- Dr. Tiffany Field
- Cherie Sohnen-Moe
- Kim Collier
- Melissa Mazzola
- Allan Share
Updated May 2023