Massage For Diagnosed Mental Illness - Massage Therapy That Makes A Difference

Massage For Diagnosed Mental Illness - Massage Therapy That Makes A Difference

Can massage help improve mental health for diagnosed mental health conditions?

Yes, today, we're going to dive into the science-backed benefits of massage for mental health. With an increasingly stressful world, it's essential that we explore all avenues to support our mental wellness and what better way than a soothing massage? Let's get started!

  • Find out how massage therapy can help address symptoms associated with OCD, Bipolar disorder, Stress, GAD and ADHD.
  • Learn which types of massages are best for your specific condition and gain insight into finding the right therapist for mental health needs.

The Science Behind Massage and Mental Health

Research has shown that massage therapy can have a significant impact on mental health. One study found that aromatherapy massage improved mood, anxiety, and relaxation in adults with mental health issues. Furthermore, a pilot study suggested that mindfulness-based stress reduction and massage could be effective for managing chronic pain, which often co-occurs with mental health disorders.

In fact, even infants can reap the benefits of massage therapy. Studies have indicated that infant massage can promote both physical and mental health, showing that the advantages of massage therapy span across all age groups.

Always consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating massage therapy into your treatment plan

It's important to remember that massage therapy is not a 'cure-all' solution. It should be viewed as a part of an overall mental health management strategy, complementing other treatments such as counselling, medication, and lifestyle changes. Always consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating massage therapy into your treatment plan.

Massage for Mental Health Pain Management

For individuals grappling with mental health issues, pain - both physical and emotional - can be a recurring challenge. Incorporating massage therapy into a comprehensive treatment plan can assist in managing this pain more effectively.

The soothing strokes of massage can stimulate the production of endorphins, the body's natural 'feel good' chemicals. This can help alleviate emotional pain by inducing feelings of happiness and relaxation. Certain types of massage, like Swedish massage, are particularly effective at reducing anxiety and depression symptoms. You can read more below.

Also, massage can help mitigate physical discomfort often associated with prolonged mental distress. Techniques like Craniosacral Therapy and Trauma Touch Therapy gently work on the body's soft tissues, providing relief from tension and physical manifestation of stress.

Massage and Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Massage therapy can be an effective tool in managing Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), a common condition characterised by chronic and excessive worrying. The calming effect of massage can help to reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as muscle tension and rapid heartbeat. Techniques like deep tissue massage can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and easing feelings of anxiety. It's also noteworthy that the very act of touch in a controlled, safe environment can be therapeutic, fostering a sense of connection and security. However, as with any health condition, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional before opting for massage therapy as a treatment modality for GAD.

How can Massage Help with Bipolar Disorder?

As massage can stimulate the release of endorphins, the body's natural 'feel good' chemicals, this can help to uplift mood and induce feelings of happiness and relaxation - a particularly beneficial treatment during depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder. Massage therapy can also assist in managing stress and anxiety, which often exacerbate bipolar symptoms.

What massage releases emotional trauma?

Certain types of massage, such as Craniosacral Therapy and Trauma Touch Therapy, are specifically designed to aid in the release of stored emotional trauma within the body. These therapies work by gently addressing the soft tissues and nervous system to alleviate symptoms of trauma. By creating a safe and nurturing environment, the therapist assists the patient in encountering and releasing traumatic emotions that may have been suppressed.

What type of massage is best for anxiety and depression?

For individuals struggling with anxiety and depression, Swedish massage is often recommended. Characterised by its long, flowing strokes and gentle kneading, this type of massage is known to stimulate the release of endorphins and serotonin, chemicals in the brain that act as natural mood boosters. Additionally, Swedish massage helps to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, bringing about a sense of relaxation and calm. This method of massage therapy can be particularly effective in alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression when incorporated as part of a well-rounded approach to mental health care, alongside psychological therapy and prescribed medication.

What kind of massage is best for PTSD?

When dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Trauma Touch Therapy (TTT) is often highly recommended. TTT is a bodywork modality that assists individuals in releasing deep-seated emotional trauma, which is especially relevant for individuals suffering from PTSD. TTT provides safe, gentle, and supportive touch, enabling individuals to explore and relieve traumatic experiences stored within the body. This process encourages a sense of safety, allowing for the gentle release of these traumas, which can contribute to a reduction in PTSD symptoms.

Is massage good for psychosis?

While there is currently no definitive scientific evidence that massage can directly treat psychosis, it is well-documented that massage therapy can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. These are common triggers for psychosis episodes in individuals with conditions such as schizophrenia. Therefore, by helping maintain a calm and relaxed state of mind, regular massage sessions could potentially play a supportive role in the overall management of psychosis.

I would like to reiterate that massage therapy should be viewed as a complementary treatment and not a replacement for conventional medical treatments for any mental health disorder. Please please consult with your healthcare professional before starting any new form of therapy including massage.

Types of Massages and Their Benefits for Mental Health

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is one of the most common forms of massage therapy. It involves long, kneading strokes combined with rhythmic tapping strokes and movement of the joints. This type of massage can improve mood and reduce stress levels, making it beneficial for those with general anxiety disorder (GAD). 

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage applies slow, forceful strokes to target deeper muscle layers and connective tissues. It helps alleviate chronic muscle tension, reducing stress and anxiety. This technique breaks down knots and adhesions from stress, providing relief and improved body mobility. This can cause discomfort so make sure to inform your therapist during the session if this happens.

Bamboo Massage

Bamboo massage is a hidden gem in the world of deep tissue massages. This therapeutic technique uses warmed bamboo stalks in various sizes and shapes to create a soothing and invigorating experience. It targets tense muscles, improves circulation, and brings relaxation. Deep tissue bamboo massage also boosts mental health, relieving stress, anxiety, and promoting calmness and wellbeing. Embrace ultimate relaxation and improve mental wellness with bamboo massage.

Indian Head Massage

Rooted in ancient Ayurvedic practices, Indian Head Massage offers numerous benefits for mental health. This therapeutic technique involves gentle movements focusing on the upper body, neck, and scalp. The soothing touch and rhythmic motions provide relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, alleviate headaches, and promote overall well-being. By releasing mental and emotional tension, this holistic treatment brings calm and rejuvenation. It's a wonderful addition to your self-care routine, offering a break from daily routines and helping achieve inner balance.

Hot Stone Massage

During a hot stone massage , heated stones are placed on specific parts of your body. The heat can help relax the muscles, allowing the therapist to apply deeper pressure if necessary. This type of massage can be particularly beneficial for those experiencing high stress levels or anxiety.

Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy massage combines the therapeutic benefits of essential oils with the power of massage. This type of massage has been found to be particularly beneficial for mental health, with a study suggesting that aromatherapy massage is worth investigating further for its potential benefits in treating mental health conditions.

Choosing the Right Massage Clinic

When choosing a massage clinic, from my experience it is crucial to ensure that;

  1. they have the experience and training in the type of massage you're interested in but just as important is
  2. that they are experienced in working with individuals with mental health conditions

I have found this to be such an important factor in choosing a massage therapist. You need to ensure the entire process is designed to put you at ease, from the first contact (website, booking options, email to talk to therapist first) right through to the appointment itself. You need a safe space and a massage therapist who understands your specific condition and can make you feel welcome, relaxed and reassured. I wrote a blog article recently on “How to overcome hairdresser anxiety” and I think a lot of that will be relevant to you so take a look! There are some strategies that can help you get the best out of your treatment experience too.

The location of the clinic is also important – it should be in a place that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. 

Lastly, check if the clinic specialises in therapeutic massage for mental health, as this could make a significant difference in the effectiveness of your treatment.


Incorporating regular massage therapy into your routine can be a game-changer for managing stress and improving overall mental health. 

If you're looking for a reputable clinic in Hereford, ask your friends and check out client recommendations. At my salon, Bella’s Beauty & Hair Salon, you will find our clients recommend us because we understand you and make you feel important. We have skilled therapists who are experienced in various types of massage therapies but most importantly, in helping you have a positive and life affirming treatment.

"I had the Bamboo massage with Bella and I loved it! I wasn't sure what to expect when I arrived but Bella talked me through the process. If you like deep tissue massage you'll like this. Although Bella did say - if it was too hard to just say - I found it perfect. She got to all my knotted and tense areas. I came away feeling very relaxed and pampered. Thank you" - client of Bella's Beauty & Hair Lounge.

So, why not give massage therapy a try? It could be the key to unlocking a more relaxed and peaceful state of mind.



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