Depression can be a debilitating illness, but massage has proven to be an effective treatment. Massage helps the body release dopamine and serotonin, two chemicals that can help elevate mood and reduce the overall effects of depression when combined with other treatments.
Therapeutic massage helps the nervous system release a number of different hormones and chemicals, chief among them dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine helps regulate movement and emotional responses. It helps people see rewards in the actions they do, but also to help them move toward them. When you are down and just feel like watching Netflix in bed, it is likely your dopamine levels are low.
Serotonin has a similar positive effect on the body. It helps a person feel happy and relaxed, along with the ability to get a good night's sleep. When people are low on serotonin, they typically feel depressed, uncomfortable and discontent.
That is why massage can be helpful in addition to things like exercise, which has a similar effect, and eating healthy foods. Massage stimulates the nervous system to release a wide range of hormones and chemicals, including dopamine and serotonin. These two chemicals can help reduce the amount of cortisol a person has in their body as well.
How Massage Helps
Cortisol is a stress hormone that creates anxiety and depression. By increasing the amounts of dopamine and serotonin, people can combat the negative affects cortisol typically brings.
Think about the last time you had a massage. Changes are when the massage ended you felt in a better mood than when you came in. While that may be in part to the calming music of the oils the masseuse used to relax your muscles, that feeling came from the release of dopamine and serotonin.
Depression is a difficult disease that affects a large part of the population. Massage can serve as a natural treatment that can help those that fight it feel better.