Everyone has their unhappy days, but for some, these days can be more consistent, overwhelming, and interfere with their everyday lives. Over the years, research about depression has grown, and there is a better understanding of different treatments to combine to better help those suffering from it.

Massage therapy is one of those treatment options that has been shown to help people suffering from depression. 

How can massage help depression?

The chemical balance…

Let’s start by taking a look at it on a chemical level. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced as your body’s response to stress. Studies have shown that massage can lower your body’s cortisol levels by an average of 30%. Why is this so helpful? Because when cortisol levels go down, serotonin levels go up. Serotonin is one of the body’s defenses with pain, which has shown to increase by 28% after a massage. So if you lower cortisol and increase serotonin, your body is more able to fight off pain, anxiety, and feelings of sadness. 

The physical benefits…

Then there are the benefits of massage for depression on a physical level. Some who suffer from depression find themselves with physical symptoms due to factors such as stress, anxiety, and tension. These symptoms can feel like muscle pain, joint pain, insomnia, fatigue, or overall stiffness. And although massage may not be a cure to depression, it can help with these physical symptoms. 

Massage styles…

Relaxation Massage: This is the most commonly recommended massage for those suffering from depression. It involves long, flowing strokes in a style called Swedish Massage, that can vary from light to firm pressure. The strokes focus on lengthening and loosening the muscles as well as promoting relaxation and sleep. 

Deep Tissue Massage: This form of massage can also be Remedial Massage or Sports Massage. It involves slower, more precise strokes and holding deep pressure on trigger points and tight spots to help them release. We often describe this form of massage as result driven. 

Aromatherapy Massage: This can be any form of massage with the use of essential oils. If you are wanting a particular result, we recommend reading our Essential Oil blog post to know which scents are best for you.

Hot Stone Massage: This relaxation massage includes the use of hot stones that the therapist glides over the body to help the muscles warm up and loosen up in order for the therapist to work in a little deeper. This is a great treatment if you find your depression is triggered by the cold or winter. 

At Body Sanctum, our goal is to have every one of our clients leave feeling better. Please give us a call if you have any questions about our treatments and what may be the right one for you.


If you or someone you know needs help, please visit: We know we are not doctors or experts, and that this merely scratches the surface. If you suffer from depression and want more information from a medical standpoint about the benefits of massage, we recommend searching online as there is a lot of information available by medical organisations such as the Mayo Clinic.

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