In addition, massage can help prevent health problems directly related to these situations, such as insomnia and headaches , among others. You can also help these people by improving their mood.
Various studies suggest that undergoing massage can help reduce anxiety associated with other health conditions. A study published in 2013 in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that they can significantly decrease this sensation in patients with congestive heart failure. Massage also seemed to improve the participants’ blood pressure.
There is also some evidence that massage may decrease anxiety in fibromyalgia patients, as well as in older adults who have had a stroke and in people undergoing cancer treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Also, some studies indicate that massage can help reduce anxiety and decrease pain during labor.
Massage can relieve muscle pain and tension, improve circulation, and increase flexibility. This helps make the physical symptoms easier to cope with and therefore the panic attack leaves less pain behind.
This fight or flight reaction is responsible for causing fearful thoughts and reactions that often outweigh any real threat in the environment. This reaction often causes uncomfortable physical symptoms, such as shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, excessive sweating, and chest pain.
However, massage can have the opposite effect on the body by eliciting the relaxation response, reducing tension, lowering the heart rate, and generally making a person feel calmer.
Osteopathy and anxiety
Osteopathy can also help in cases of anxiety, in the following aspects:
High levels of stress hormones cause muscles to become overly tense; the most commonly affected are the trapezius (upper shoulders), scalene, and suboccipital (neck and back of the skull) muscles.
This increased tension limits blood flow to the muscles, causing them to become stringy and “knotted,” making them feel stiff and limiting the mobility of the upper back and neck joints. Osteopathy relieves headache pain by focusing on improving blood flow to the muscles using deep tissue techniques to reduce knots and manipulation to realign the spine and improve mobility.
The stress response increases heart and respiratory rates. In this state, the body engages in shallower abdominal breathing and instead recruits the “accessory respiratory” muscles, located in the neck, upper chest, and back.
This contributes to a panicky feeling of shortness of breath and can cause chest pain and tightness. The osteopathy specialist may work with the patient on deep breathing exercises , encouraging the use of the diaphragm and helping to stretch and relax the tight muscles around the neck and chest.
Sympathetic nervous system overactivity can make it difficult to unwind, exacerbating any feelings of anxiety. The sympathetic nervous system is located on either side of the thoracic spine (mid back), so an osteopath will look for areas of dysfunction in this area, which may present as a restricted joint lock or an area of muscle spasm, and will work to rebalance the tissue.
In addition, the osteopathy specialist will use techniques to stimulate activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (located in the brain and lower back) to promote a slower heart and breathing rate, lower blood pressure, and promote feelings of relaxation.
Other therapies to relieve anxiety
Research also shows that therapies such as acupuncture and aromatherapy can be helpful for people who frequently experience this problem. Some natural remedies can also help alleviate the symptoms of this distressing situation.
In any case, it is necessary to point out that massage should not be used as a primary treatment strategy in people with severe anxiety disorders , such as post-traumatic stress or panic disorders.
People who routinely experience symptoms such as nervousness, fear or panic, difficulty sleeping, irritability, rapid heartbeat, or inability to concentrate should see a mental health professional for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.