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Massage Therapy for Stress and Anxiety

Are there any massage therapies that can relieve stress? Are any methods better than others for stress and anxiety? Is there anything to avoid?

People keep telling me I should get a massage, but does it really help anxiety?
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973741 tn?1342342773
Well, I think massage is always relaxing and we hold a lot of stress in our trigger points.  I have a spot in my neck and back that if I am stressed, it just seems to tighten.  That triggers everything else to tighten and then I almost always get a headache.  Massage does work for that 'spot'.  Feels terrific.  Does it treat the underlying issue that caused me stress and anxiety?  No.  That's the root cause and that also needs to be dealt with.  
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Some are relaxing, some are not.  Deep tissue massage isn't relaxing, though it might be therapeutic.  But as Mom says, it's just a temporary relief because it doesn't alter the thinking that causes stress and anxiety.  If you just have episodic periods of stress, though, not a major problem, then yes, but there are a lot of types of massage and again, some are more relaxing than others.  Some are quite painful while you're doing them, but they hopefully help with pain control so you try them.  Don't think research is kind to it truly fixing anything.  So if you want to do it to relieve stress, look for gentle types of massage that do that.  Peace.
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One thing I want to point out as to why I say that massage is always relaxing is that even when uncomfortable during, it releases the muscles, relaxing them.  I had deep tissue massage for my trigger points not the shu shu type of massages (back when I could afford this as part of my happy life) and while it didn't feel great at the time, it felt good after those muscles were released.  It's also laying on of hands and almost always, whether a medical massage, deep tissue or what have you, they darken the room, have relaxing music playing, and try to make you feel relaxed and comfortable.  It's a healing experience which is the point of it.  Even when it doesn't feel great momentarily, it's still relaxing.  Gosh, I wish I could afford to keep getting those massages.  Now I have to lay on a dang tennis ball trying to get relief.  sigh.  Life . . . and we wonder why we have stress points in our body.  
Trigger point massage isn't the same thing as deep tissue massage.  Deep tissue massage goes very deep into muscles, and it hurts.  Trigger point massage also hurts, but not as much.  For you, it helped and was relaxing afterward.  For others, it doesn't help at all -- there's no medical evidence that shows massage actually does anything, but you can't tell that to anyone who has had one and felt a lot better for a while.  But for others, the pain won't really be relaxing even if it works because it hurt a lot.  I forget the name now but there was a form of massage that used to be a fad that got so deep into your body it was like torture.  I was just saying, if relaxation is your main goal and you're not in pain, then gentle forms will probably be better.  There are types of massage that are expressly for relieving stress rather than pain.  Everyone has their own way of reacting to stuff, though, that's certainly true.  Peace.
And I should add, if you're really looking at it just for relaxation and stress relief, consider acupuncture.
Ah, I remember now, I think it was called rolfing.  Something like that.  Never had it, but it was supposed to truly be pure torture while you were getting it.  
I'm not sure what you are trying to 'correct'.  In my state, you can get a prescription from your doctor for medical massage.  Physical therapists are also often trained to perform massage.  In general, to the poster, if you are stressed, yes.  Massage will likely relax you either at the time or after.  I think it is a great thing for people to do.  
Not sure what you're getting at, either.  Recently I saw an article by a massage therapist turned medical journalist who did a meta analysis of all studies on massage, stretching, and other things we always assumed had a benefit.  He switched jobs because in all his years as a massage therapist nobody had ever gotten better other than temporarily, so he decided to get into it.  He found no studies anywhere showing these modalities fixed anything.  It didn't mean he didn't still do these things, he did, because they felt good, but his analytical conclusion was that there was no scientific evidence these things were curative.  So that's one point.  The second point is, there are thousands of different forms of massage, and some are relaxing and some are not intended to be relaxing.  Some are distinctly intended to be relaxing.  My point was, however, mostly to point out the difference between stress and anxiety.  If you're having a bad month because of stresses building up, a day at the spa can be just the ticket.  If you're suffering from anxiety, not so much.  For that you'd need regular massages that targeted acupuncture points, such as acupressure, or acupuncture, to see if that might rewire things.  I'm not correcting, just adding detail so the person posting knows that whether massage is the thing he's looking for depends on what's bothering him and on the type of massage.  Nothing more than that.  That's not correcting, it's adding.  Peace.
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