Mental health benefits of massage therapies

We have seen over the years the benefits massage therapy can have for our clients, not just physically but mentally too. For example, a full body massage provides much-needed relaxation for anyone but for someone who has been suffering from depression or another mental health condition, the neuro-chemical effects of receiving a massage can enhance their ability to (a) cope with day to day life and  (b) relaxes them enough to benefit from other therapies that will promote their healing and growth, i.e. counselling and psychotherapy and other physical therapies.

Several clients, who up until their massage treatment, and interestingly this was mostly men, had never really opened up to anyone about their emotional health. A good illustration of this point is the experience of a male client: we will call him Dan for this example. Dan hadn’t been touched by anyone for months, he was divorced, lived alone and didn’t have many close friends. It isn’t surprising to us that during his first massage session he began to cry, and not just a little, he bawled away like a baby. We don’t say ‘baby’, to belittle his emotional state, but it felt like it was deep emotion, raw, just like you might hear from a baby that is hungry for food or affection.

This is a good illustration that our emotions are stored in our body, and in this man’s case very deep in the tissues of his body. And thanks to the non-judgemental approach of our massage therapist this man felt safe enough to come back for further sessions.

It also illustrates the importance of feeling our emotions and sharing that experience when it happens, rather than burying the feeling/experience as in the case of Dan. We are pleased to say that Dan went on to have a series of counselling sessions to work on emotional material that was blocking his ability to form a deep and meaningful relationship.