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Stress Reduction with Regular Massage

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There have been many studies on the effect of massage on people that suffer from stress, anxiety, aggression and depression. There is no magic option that will make all of these feelings go away. Addition of a regular massage session into your daily life can significantly reduce your levels of stress.

A study was done in a psychiatric ward regarding the effects of a twenty minute massage on multiple patients. The gender, age, conditions and ethnic backgrounds of the patients ranged throughout all of the participants. Some of the massages were administered by a massage therapist while the participants sat in a massage chair.

“The preliminary findings suggest that a single 20 min massage therapy session is effective in reducing transient anxiety and stress levels. Following the initial and final massage therapy session there was a significant reduction in self-reported anxiety, resting heart rate and cortisol levels. This is consistent with previous studies demonstrating a reduction in anxiety and cortisol levels following a short 20–30 min massage session. All participants, regardless of treatment group, experienced a substantial decrease in symptoms of depression (approx. 38% mean decrease) and hostility (approx. 52% mean decrease).”( 1)

The previously mentioned study had positive outcomes. One could now question if you would see positive results from an experience if there was not a massage therapist present? If the participants were sitting in a massage chair, as you would do at home. Luckily, there is a study that tested that theory as well.

“Twenty-four adults were asked to relax in the massage chair for 15 minutes, two times per week for five weeks. On the first and last days of the study' they were monitored for EEG, before, during and after the sessions.”( 2)

This study was done with medical faculty as participants. The ages ranged, as did income levels. This study was predominantly women, with only 20% of the participants being male.

At the start and the end of the study it was determined that the participants stress, anxiety, depression and work related stress levels were significantly lowered. An interesting side effect to the study determined that there was a significant increase in math computation. The participant’s time to finish a problem was lowered and their number or errors decreased as well. The study concluded that the continuous relaxed state of the participants, which was established with regular massage chair sessions, enhanced many aspects of their life. 

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