Stress and Depression- Can massage help? it helped me
In this fast-paced world, many people suffer from stress. There are many reasons for this. you may be struggling to survive financially, problems in the workplace (high-stress) perhaps your personal life is in trouble. Short term stress is not considered to be such a problem and is somewhat typical in this day and age.
I’m not saying it’s nice to have, but it usually goes away once you solve the problems in your life that have caused it. However, long term constant stress could easily I suspect, morph into Depression.
This is a totally different condition altogether. Below are my thoughts on both conditions and how, and more importantly why massage helped me.
Stress is bad, very bad. I have had personal experience with this. Basically, if you can deal with or remove the problems that caused your stress you will be ok.
Depending what these problems are you may have to get help. Don’t isolate yourself. Talk to people, friends, family, even co-workers. Google it there is so much information and support out there today.
Just remember you are not unique people have been dealing with stress for ages. Nothing to be embarrassed about and no, you are not weak.
The people that can deal with large amounts of stress usually have coping mechanisms in place. That is, they have figured out how to deal with it.
So how did I deal with it?
So how did I deal with it? very badly at first. I tried alcohol and drugs(marijuana).so why did I try that? Well back in those days, that was the done thing. People were conditioned by television shows.
Remember the tough guy drinking bourbon or beer after a stressful day at work. Well, unfortunately, this didn’t work for me.
All I got were hangovers and much later on, I figured out that marijuana at times gave me depression. I just could not think straight.
I was wound up as tight as a drum. I had to relax, but how? Then I had a lightbulb moment, massage. I visited the massage therapist on a semi-regular basis.
After my very first appointment, I felt a lot better much more relaxed. Being relaxed I found it was easy to think straight and I could focus again.This,over time, made all those difficult problems in my life a lot easier to deal with.
Stress is nothing compared to depression. That’s a big statement but before you crucify me let me explain. Stress is pressure caused by problems in your life. All this adds up to worry, the inability to think straight,and to cope.
Here’s the thing, at least with stress you have a rough idea of what is happening and why. Depression, on the other hand, is totally different. It can sneak up on you gradually or hit you like a ton of bricks.
For no apparent reason, you feel sad. I mean, you can burst into tears anywhere anytime and not know why. You can spend days lying about in the fetal position and not know why.
Throw constant suicidal thoughts into the mix and then you are really having a good time. So, a lot of your time is spent thinking about all this. Why me? what’s wrong with me? why am I so sad? and so, on.
I won’t bore you with the many stories of my times with depression. suffice to say that once again massage came to my rescue.
Massage to the rescue
I had to get out of bed I was feeling better and I was as hungry as hell. I decided to go to the local night market. Heaps of good quality food stalls, buskers, arts and crafts awaited me.
After what seemed like hours I walked into a massage tent desperately trying to hold back the tears. The young lady looked me up and down she seemed to know, instantly what was wrong with me. Maybe the tears were a giveaway.
So why does massage work?
After working on me for well over an hour I seemed to be normal again. She told me that in her view I had depression. I had heard of depression but had no real knowledge of it.
This all happened about 30 years ago, possibly before the epidemic we see today. I found myself relieved to have gotten a diagnosis but I still needed to know more.
Frustrated, I needed answers, fortunately, she was more than happy to tell me all about it. The following is a very rough, short explanation of what she told me,with some online research thrown in.
Hormones and Neurotransmitters
Your body is controlled by a multitude of Hormones and Neurotransmitters. Some are good, some, depending on the levels are not so good. They all have a purpose. A massage can increase or decrease the levels of certain Hormones and Neurotransmitters.
What’s the difference between Hormones and Neurotransmitters?
Hormones stimulate cells. Neurotransmitters send signals from the brain to other parts of the body. To further confuse things, some Hormones are also considered, by some experts to be Neurotransmitters as well.
Let’s start with Cortisol also known as the “stress hormone”. Higher than normal Cortisol levels (over long periods) can lead to stress and depression. Massage has been shown to reduce cortisol levels. The results of some studies have shown an average reduction of 31 percent.
Considered by many to be a “feel good” neurotransmitter, Serotonin makes a person feel self- confident, relaxed and happy. It can also play a major part in controlling our sleep patterns, sex drive, and general digestive health.
Many people believe the prevalence of depression and anxiety in society today is caused by low serotonin levels. Massage has been shown in trials to increase serotonin levels by an average of 28 percent.
Helping to control the brain’s reward and pleasure center is a neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Low amounts of Dopamine in the body can lead to anxiety and depression. Massage increases dopamine levels studies have shown an average increase of 31 percent. Some experts claim this is why massage feels pleasurable.
Massage chairs have always been a convenient way to get a massage. This becomes an even bigger consideration when you have depression. You may not want the world to see you when you are suffering from this condition.I now use one on a semi-regular basis and get good results.
Ok, so there you have it massage worked for me. Having also made a lot of lifestyle changes(diet etc)I have not suffered from Depression since. For a long time, I had trouble accepting that it was just a chemical imbalance causing me to have problems.
I even visited a psychologist thinking something bad had happened to me in my past. What a joke this old guy fell asleep halfway through the session! I can only think he had heard it all before or perhaps my life was so boring.
So, good luck in your quest for answers and don’t forget to try a massage.