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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Wakey Wakey – Stretch and Shine!

Stretches to energise your morning

Here are 6 stretches you could do as a morning routine to feel strong, flexible and grounded.

Ground your thoughts, take a moment focus on your breath.

Keep warm when you do your stretches, so great after a morning workout or after a hot shower. But if your just getting out of bed, start the stretches gently. These exercises cover major muscle groups and can be followed any time of day. A great way to start your day.

                                                                                                                     

Upper Back Release

Upper Back Release Targets the upper back and back of shoulders

Standing with feet hip-distance apart, clasp hands and round upper back keeping arms straight and active. Think about the shoulder blades spreading wide across your back. Hold stretch for 2-3 deep breaths.

 Chest stretch

Chest Release  Targets the chest, front of shoulders and biceps. 

Holding a wall or window ledge with left arm, step forward with left leg and turn entire body to the right especially at the hips. Hold stretch for 4-6 deep breaths increasing stretch with the pivot at the hips.  Repeat on the other side.

Side Stretch

Side Stretch  Targets the IT band (outer thigh), obliques and shoulders. 

Standing with right hand on bed or wall, cross left leg in front of right leg, feet pointing forward.  Shift into the left hip and reach left arm up and over head, creating a long line from the left ankle to the left fingertips.  Hold and take 2-3 deep inhales and exhales.  Repeat on right.

Sitting Spine Twist

Seated Spinal Twist  Targets the spine, neck and shoulders.

Sitting on a chair or edge of bed with legs together, lengthen spine rotate from the waist, placing one hand behind you and the other hand on your outer thigh for support. For a deeper stretch for the neck, turn your gaze to look over your shoulder as well.  Hold 2-3 deep breaths.  Repeat other side.

Standing Hamstring Hinge

Standing Hamstring Stretch  Targets hamstrings.

Supporting yourself for balance as needed, bring right leg up onto a step or bench, increasing height as flexibility increases.  Keep legs hips distance and parallel and keep back leg straight (if possible) and front foot flexed.  If you need to increase stretch, hinge at the hips (not the waist or back), keeping the spine completely straight.  Don’t round the spine.  Take 4-6 deep breaths. Repeat other side.

Standing Quad Release

Standing Quad Stretch  Targets quadriceps.

Holding a chair, wall or bed for support, stand with feet hip-distance apart. Soften left knee and reach for your right foot or ankle, bending the right knee to point straight down to the floor.
Keep pelvis neutral and spine tall with the crown of your  head reaching to the ceiling.

Doing these everyday will help to keep you supple and flexible. TRY IT!