Anxiety and depression leads to physical pain that can be healed: meditation, massage therapy

Author: Danielle Garry

Modified: June 20, 2017, 7:42 PM, Arizona State University

Prevalence of Anxiety and Mood Disorders

Have you ever felt defeated by life from anxiety, chronic depression, and panic attacks? Have you contemplated whether you could keep pushing through day to day life despite these conditions? Have these psychological issues ever led you to feel severe physical pain? You are not alone.

According to anxietycentre.com, statistics show that at least “ 18.1 percent of adults in the United States, (approximately 40 million adults between the ages of 18 to 54)”, suffer from anxiety related disorders. This number may not even be proven, and may in fact be much higher, given that “ many people don’t seek help, are misdiagnosed, or don’t know they have issues with anxiety” This would ultimately leave the approximated number of people that deal with anxiety disorders to reach upwards of 30%. 30 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION. This means that for these people, living their daily lives frequently feels like a difficult task.

Many afflictions may lead to this debilitating condition, including but not limited to: genetics or generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive thoughts, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, specified phobias etc. Symptoms vary and are often times misdiagnosed, treated with psychoactive drugs or thoughts and feelings are numbed by drugs and alcohol. Overall, is this a way to live your life? Will we ever be able to feel true happiness if we continue to cover and numb our pain and suffering? Or is there a better way to deal with these psychological issues?

The Effects of Massage Therapy for Treatment of Anxiety

Massage therapy has long been used as a complementary and alternative medical treatment for anxiety disorders. However, it has been hard to prove the reason for this effectiveness, as well as study it for certain medical purposes, until it was rigorously evaluated by doctors aiming to help the population of those suffering with these disorders.

Professional Studies on Massage Therapy for Anxiety

During this study, 68 peoples participated in “ randomized to therapeutic massage (n=23), thermotherapy (n=22), or relaxing room therapy (n=23) for a total of 10 sessions over 12 weeks.” Overall it was found that the symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder was lessened by 50%, “… symptom resolution of GAD, changes in depressive symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-8)), worry and GAD-related disability.” The prolonged results (a 26 week follow-up), showed that all groups did in fact improve by the end of treatment, and were able to maintain their gains of self-control in their immediate lives with use of continued massage therapy. Symptom reduction and resolution of GAD, depressive symptoms, worry and disability showed similar patterns in these patients. This relaxation response did not prove more effectiveness than drug related treatment such as anti-depressants, however in the long run is a more effective way to deal with anxiety, as well as cost effective and less harmful on the body.

For those suffering with daily anxiety and panic disorder, this may feel like a weight has been lifted off of the shoulders who have been carrying so much mental and physical pain. Relaxation techniques have been found to be a very effective technique to help cope with every day stressors and long-term effects of depression.

Folk, J. (2015, April 25). Anxiety Disorder General Statistics. Retrieved June 20, 2017, from http://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-statistics-information.shtml

Sherman, K. J., Ludman, E. J., Cook, A. J., Hawkes, R. J., Roy-Byrne, P. P., Bentley, S., . . . Cherkin, D. C. (2010, May). Effectiveness of therapeutic massage for generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Retrieved June 20, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20186971