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Can Massage lift Depression?

I have met many clients over the years, that have sat down before a treatment, filled out a consultation form, and have told me they suffer from depression, but its ok they have been taking anti depressants for X amount of years, and it’s fine. “It’s my neck, shoulders that I have come to have a treatment for”. I would be astonished.

As a therapist, knowing the benefits of massage, I.e releasing muscle tension, inducing relaxation etc, I researched more into massage giving you “the feel good feeling”. Could massage help those feeling low and down?

Taking time for massage is as important for people dealing with depression as it is for people with arthritis, sports injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Cortisol is the body’s response to stress, and massage therapy lowers it by as much as 50%. At the same time, massage has other benefits and can also increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are both neurotransmitters that help stabilize your mood.

I found the following article very interesting in terms of body structure of the client in depression and how massage therapy can help them in the path to recovery.

Treatment with Massage

Now let’s identify some of the physiological and energetic challenges for those who are depressed. This is where massage therapy can accomplish physical changes that normal psychotherapy or medication cannot. With different forms of depression there is a structural collapse in the client. This involves a shortening of the abdominal muscles and a tightening of the diaphragmatic arch which pulls the chest down and forward, limiting its ability to expand during breathing. There is an additional medial rotation of the shoulders and internal rotation of the arms resulting in a kyphosis that further restricts breathing. Without the support of the thoracic region, the head and neck will move forward and down and further into collapse. All this distortion of the upper body will lead to further distortion in the lower body and give the structure an image of being fully collapsed. The degree of structural collapse will depend upon the severity of depression and its duration.

The benefits of massage: Applying massage with the goal of releasing the structural collapse associated with depression will bring the client from a hopeless, helpless collapsed structure to one that is supported and erect. This sense of support will give the client feelings of being stronger and more capable of dealing with the issues of their depression. Key areas to release for structural support are: 1) the abdomen and diaphragmatic arch; 2) the musculature and connective tissue of the front of the chest that cause a sunken chest and medial rotation of the shoulders; 3) the musculature and connective tissue of the anterior shoulder and upper arms that cause an internal rotation of the arms; and 4) the musculature and connective tissue of the anterior neck followed by the posterior neck and top of the shoulders. Follow this by bringing the legs out of hyperextension and more under the body. All of this will result in a significant structural change in a depressed client.

While releasing the structural collapse associated with depression you will also be releasing the breath process which will allow depressed clients to energize their system and have more energy. This additional energy will allow them to take part in their lives and move out of depression.

Source: http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=13933

If you suffer from depression, and feel like you need extra support and would like to try massage. Don’t hesitate to call.

 

 

 

 

 

Menopause – Embrace It!

Our lives can get so busy, and life doesn’t stand still or slow down for the menopausal women. It carries on as normal, whilst we are left to carry a new bag of emotions, sweats, and sometimes tears. We should be allowed to let go and understand the need to let go and allow the change to happen. It’s not an overnight thing, it can happen gradually and because people cannot see the symptoms from the outside, some don’t have empathy towards it.

It typically happens between the age of 45 and 55 years and is an absolutely natural process. Having treated many women whom it affects emotionally, physically and mentally, it is clear that it’s a phase that some women fear and cannot embrace. It can make a women feel insecure effecting life’s balance on so many levels.

There are so many ways to look after ourselves and nurture our body as nature intended. Walk in nature, eat fresh, be mindful of exercising, laugh and cry if you want to.

Acupressure massage and reflexology treatments are also one of the ways  to support a menopausal woman, helping them to tune into their body’s needs, highlighting imbalances and areas, which need attention. It can relieve the symptoms of menopause by balancing the qi flow through the endocrine system. Having a treatment with an empathic therapist and a tranquil environment can provide a safe space in which to relax, be self-focused, and allow you to let go.

Stimulating some acupressure points through massage and reflexology can help balance the fluctuating hormone levels, aiding a woman to have a smoother transition to menopause.

Some of Points that can be worked:

Gall Bladder 20 –  used to relieve the most common symptoms like hot flashes, dizziness, stress and irritability. It is also called the ‘Wind Pool’ point, and it is located on the ridge of the occipital bone, midway between the ear and the spine, between the two joining muscles.

Reflexology regulates hormones and glandular functions of the body, also helping to alleviate and balance both the physical and emotional systems. By working with the hypothalamus and pituitary, reflexology can help to restore balance to the endocrine system. This in turn can alleviate menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and anxiety. By calming the central nervous system, sleep disturbances can also be alleviated and anxiety and stress levels reduced. By regulating calcium and phosphorous levels in the thyroid gland, bone loss can prevented. Reflexology also helps the ovaries to regulate their oestrogen secretions and the uterus to maintain its natural health and flexibility.

Liver 3 – one of the most functional acupressure points for menopause that helps in relieving all varieties of menopause symptoms like mood swings, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, headaches and dizziness. This can be found on the foot and reflexologist can manipulate this point each session.

Spleen 6 – an extremely important acupressure point that is called the Three Yin Crossing. This point is positioned three finger widths above the inner ankle bone, along the back of the tibia. It is the crossing point of the kidney, liver and spleen meridians. This point is useful in acupuncture and menopause for promoting the general balance of all issues of female regulation.

 

Research carried out at the UK School of Complementary Health in Exeter indicates a marked decrease in anxiety, depression, insomnia, hot flushes and night sweats among menopausal women who received regular reflexology over a 4-month period. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12269681

The effects of reflexology are cumulative and depending on specific needs and symptoms, a course of treatments is usually recommended. Many people find it beneficial to have 4-6 weekly or fortnightly sessions initially, followed by a more general ‘maintenance’ session every 4-6 weeks.

So if this is your stage of life, call Nafisa for a chat and book in your session today.