We now live in a world where it’s ok to talk about issues relating to our mental health and wellness. I firmly believe that massage and the power of touch can make real and significant changes to people’s mental health and especially depression. So it’s timely that Mental Health Awareness Week is just around the corner, running from 14 – 20 May 2018. This year the Mental Health Foundation (which organizes the event) is focusing on the role that stress plays.
It says: “Research has shown that 16 million people experience a mental health problem each year,” explains the Mental Health Foundation, “and stress is a key factor in this.”
I strongly believe that massage can make a big change for people who suffer from depression. Physiologically it will balance the hormonal system which is most important, as often the stress hormone cortisol is very high and it's proven that massage can reduce the level of cortisol to up 50%. It will also boost serotonin (the happy hormone) to bring the body to its natural state of balance.
As depression is result of feeling alienated, separated, lonely with carrying "too much", massage provides the basic element of touch and with this comes compassion, understanding and connection.
With depression, the posture changes and the skeletal and muscular system tries to compensate. Massage helps the body to relax and releases muscular tension. Massage will help to increase breathing, oxygenating the body and supplying vital nutrients. It helps to stimulate the body which is often in a stagnant state.
The type of massage required should be discussed individually with client and therapist. Some may need stimulation and awakening. Others feeling emotional pain may need cocooning and gentle touch therapy. A blend of bergamot and lavender is recommended both in a massage oil and to diffuse in the room. In the day bergamot will stimulate and enhance the mood whilst lavender will soothe and relax at night.