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Can Massage Aid in Relieving Depression Symptoms?

While it can’t replace medical treatment, massage can be a wonderful supplementary tool for dealing with depression & anxiety.

As you may have seen on our site, we know that massage can improve relaxation and help provide stress-relief, which can be extremely beneficial to your overall health and wellness. In addition, massage can be a helpful addition to your every day treatment protocols when you have depression or anxiety. 

And what better way to include it every day than to have a massage chair right in your home?

Research has shown that a 60-minute massage can lower cortisol, a hormone the body produces as a result of stress, by 30% on average. As cortisol levels begin to go down, serotonin, an anti-pain hormone, increases by 28% on average following a massage. These two features work together to increase your body’s ability to fight off pain, anxiety and feelings of sadness.

In addition to the proven physical benefits, the emotional benefits of massage are just as valuable. Taking a break from your life for even five minutes is beneficial, and when you’re able to enjoy a massage each day it can provide an extended period of time for you to relax and allow you mind to find a place of stillness. Time in the chair can be an act of self care, which we know is incredibly important to mental health, especially during stressful times.

Particularly at a time when we can’t get the same physical contact because of the pandemic, a massage chair can help to replicate the sensations of deep-pressure touch, which are known to help ease anxiety and depression in both adults and children.

Let’s dive into the benefits and the scientific benefits of massage a bit more.

What We Know About Massage

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Complementary and alternative medicines are practices that are used to help treat a condition and are not those used by a traditional medical practitioner. Complementary medicines are just that. They are treatments and practices that can be used together with traditional medical treatment to address a concern, including things like yoga or acupuncture.

Massage therapy is considered a complementary medical practice and is frequently used to treat muscle pain, injury, and stiffness. Recently, massage has been used to help treat mental and emotional conditions like stress, anxiety, and depression. Because it is also considered a relaxation technique, it can be especially helpful at beating tension, coming down after a long day, and easing into sleep at night. Additionally, massage might help to ease feelings of anxiety and help to manage other panic disorder symptoms.

However, it should be noted that this doesn’t mean it can help during an actual panic attack. As a person who experiences them myself, I can agree with the science that says that once a panic attack has started, there is little to be done to stop it. You just have to ride it out. With that being the case, a massage can be helpful after a panic attack when you need help balancing your emotional state.

How Does Massage Therapy Work?

Massage therapy is used to manipulate the muscles by kneading and various gestures to affect different muscle groups. Massage chairs use similar techniques and motions to achieve a similar effect right in the comfort of your own home.

There are many different kinds of massage offered by massage therapists and chairs. Depending on the technique used, massages frequently vary in pressure and area focus. Some of the most common types found in chairs that we sell include:

Swedish Massage: This is the most popular type of massage, and the core function for many chairs, is Swedish massage. This technique is designed to help relax the body and mind and focuses on the entire body. Swedish massage also helps to improve blood flow, alleviate mental stress, and minimize muscle pain and tension. For more information on Swedish massage.

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Deep tissue: This kind of massage is similar to Swedish, however, more pressure and intensity is applied when working the muscles. Deep tissue massage is used to release tense and painful knots often associated with physical aches and pains, stress, and headaches. If you want to learn more about this technique, check it out.

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Sports Massage: Frequently used by athletes, sports massage assists with athletic training and preparing muscles for intense activity. Additionally, it can be used to help the muscles recover following an intense performance or an injury. The techniques used during sports massage can vary, but many of them are based around the kneading technique. To learn more about kneading.

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Shiatsu: Sometimes called acupressure, Shiatsu is a form of massage that takes its techniques and focus from the practice of acupuncture. Shiatsu originated in Japan and translates to “finger pressure.” Instead of using needles, the practitioner or chairs uses their fingers or nodes to manipulate pressure points in order to help release energy and restore balance throughout the body and mind. To learn more about Shiatsu.

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Easing Anxiety and Panic Disorder Symptoms

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Massage therapy, and generally receiving a massage, can help the body relax, which in turn can help a person to refocus their thoughts to those that are less anxious or fearful. Massage can reduce muscle pain and tension, boost circulation, and increase flexibility. As a relaxation technique, it can help a person to manage their fight-or-flight response, or stress reaction, which is generally overactive for those with anxiety disorders.

The fight-or-flight reaction in those with anxiety disorder can cause fearful thoughts and uncontrollable reactions that typically don’t match the danger of the actual event. For example, when one has generalized panic disorder going to the doctor can be very stressful and they may have a panic attack in the doctor’s office even though the situation itself is not necessarily dangerous.

The fight-or-flight reaction, or a panic attack, usually leads to uncomfortable physical symptoms, like hyperventilating, accelerated heart rate, excessive sweating, and chest pain. It of course can cause unwanted emotional responses as well like anger, frustration, fear, and more that can cause the person to lash out, isolate, or cry. Massage can help to elicit the relaxation response from this person’s body, lowering tension, reducing heart rate, and overall making a person feel calmer.

Physical Benefits of Massage

  • Reduced muscle pain and tension
  • Better circulation and flexibility
  • Lower heart rate

Mental Benefits of Massage

  • Reduction in anxious thoughts
  • Reduced fight-or-flight response
  • Less tension and increased feelings of calm

Getting Started with Massage Chairs

Massage therapy is often offered at many spas, salons, and wellness centers, and it continues to become a more mainstream treatment option offered at some hospitals and clinics. But not all of us have the time or ability to get to the doctor’s office or spa to get a massage. Plus, with the pandemic going on, leaving the house can just cause more stress and health concerns. So, that’s where a massage chair is your best friend.

Massage Chair

Studies have shown evidence of the safety and effectiveness of massage for stress, anxiety, and depression, and when you bring a massage chair into your home you can make it that much easier for you to take advantage of those benefits every day. It is important to note that if you’re experiencing panic attacks and other symptoms of panic disorders or if you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, it is crucial to talk to your doctor right away.

A doctor will be able to assist you with traditional treatment options, including medication and therapy. Massage is beneficial in helping you manage your condition on a daily basis but is not a replacement for medical care. Massage is something to incorporate into a new or existing treatment regimen but can’t totally replace one.

Receiving daily massages increases relaxation and boosts circulation, and this combination contributes to your overall happiness and well-being. Purchasing a massage chair for your home, will allow you the opportunity to get a massage whenever the mood strikes you, allowing you to enjoy all of these benefits available to you at the push of a couple of buttons, and at a moment’s notice.

You can look into the chairs, techniques, and other benefits of massage in the Learning Center on our website, and you’ll be able to see the number of other physical benefits that these chairs can provide. Additionally, in the Massage Chair Buying Guide, we talk about which chairs are good for certain desires and needs, and it can help you with your search for a massage chair when you want to incorporate one into your relaxation routine and mental health resources.

Your mental health is important. You deserve to feel your best and be able to take advantage of any tool out there that can help you with it. With that in mind, don’t forget about our financing options. We understand that investing in a massage chair is a big decision, and we want to help make that process as simple and stress-free as possible.

If you have any questions about massage chairs and how they might provide a relaxing, serotonin-boosting experience, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re available over the phone or through email at

Need help finding the Perfect Massage Chair? Use our Massage Chair Tool