Can Massage Be The Answer To Your Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

If you suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), you may find that most of your waking hours are spent preoccupied with concerns about everything from the mundane to the potentially life-altering. This can make being "present" a challenge in any situation, which is significant because achieving mindfulness—or the ability to focus on and enjoy one's current surroundings—can be an important tool to cope with anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. Read on to learn more about how massage may be able to help manage the symptoms of GAD.

How does massage help with GAD? 

When your thoughts are racing, seeking out physical activity or contact can often help you concentrate on nothing more than what's going on around you—whether you're running, hugging a loved one, or receiving a massage. In addition to being physically relaxing, it can stimulate your brain to release certain endorphins that may act as natural anti-depressants, easing your anxiety and putting you into a better frame of mind. Although you aren't likely to feel instant relief after your very first session, if you keep at it over time, you may notice that it's easier to handle anxious feelings or to put them aside to focus on what's before you.

Sometimes, massage may be combined with other treatments like chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture, or acupressure to further release endorphins and ensure your body, mind, and spirit are all in alignment. 

How can you know whether massage is right for you? 

The right type of massage for you can depend on your physical condition, age, and other characteristics. For example, sometimes clinical depression can make your muscles sore and sensitive, so a vigorous deep tissue massage might feel too rough at first. Starting off gently can ease you into the process and ensure it's beneficial without being overwhelming.

In other cases, a deep tissue massage may be the perfect way to work out the tight muscle knots that can often be formed by stress. Working with a licensed and trained massage therapist should ensure that you can choose the right massage for you.

You may also want to consider learning some self-massage techniques that can help you continue the benefits of massage at home. Using these techniques regularly can be nearly as effective at releasing endorphins as other massages, and knowing how to perform a self-massage on the go (or when you're feeling extra anxious) can be a source of instant calm.

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