Dr. Mason Turner, chief of psychiatry at Kaiser Permanente hospital in San Francisco, suggests that massage therapy for anxiety and depression helps by relieving muscle tension and improving physical health. He says massage helps strengthen your body-mind connection. — Source Massage Therapy for Depression

Brian Krans


If you often fee anxious or suffer from depression, you are not alone. The CDC estimates 1 in 6 adults in the United States suffer from depression at some point in their life. Can massage help anxiety and depression? In a word, yes. Many of our clients come to us because they know massage is a good way to feel better.

In fact, experts say regularly seeking massage to relieve anxiety can help improve your overall health and aid in stress management. This is because massage helps relax your body, which, in turn, relaxes your mind.

Are you depressed, or just having a bad day? In either case, a massage to feel better is a great idea. However, the severity, frequency and duration of symptoms of both general anxiety and depression vary from person to person, and even from day to day. Sometimes our clients don’t even realize how anxious they were until after the massage, when they are feeling relaxed and content.

According to the CDC: “Depression can adversely affect the course and outcome of common chronic conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Depression also can result in increased work absenteeism, short-term disability, and decreased productivity.” Massage therapy for stress and anxiety is one thing that can reduce those negative affects.

According to the American Massage Therapy Association, symptoms that massage for stress and anxiety can address may include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

Research About Massage for Anxiety and Depression

Why can massage help with anxiety and depression? According to several research studies at The University Of Miami School of Medicine, Touch Research Institute massage therapy provides the increases serotonin levels, decreases circulating stress hormones, decreases levels of substance P (basically a pain messenger), improves sleep patterns, and improves an overall sense of well-being. In short, massage therapy, in conjunction with the treatment plan prescribed by a mental health professionals, can help you feel better.

The AMTA has also collected a body of research on how massage for anxiety and massage for depression improves mood and reduces depression. It is a good compliment to any treatment your mental health provider prescribes. If you are suffering from depression and anxiety, and have not yet contacted a mental health professional for help, please do.


Let a massage help with your anxiety or depression. Book your therapeutic massage now.

(If you do not already have a MindBody account, please set one up BEFORE choosing your appointment…the system asks for it at the end and doesn’t remember your appointment if you have to create an account.)