Anxiety and Massage Therapy, continued

Icicles in the woods.

Icicles in the woods.

If you suffer from anxiety or have ever experienced an anxiety attack, you know how awful it is.  Sometimes debilitating.  Definitely not pleasant.  It certainly does not create good  health.  If anxiety were a house or a place, we wouldn’t choose to live in it, or even visit it.  Massage therapy offers respite and healing for anxiety.  Massage relaxes the mind, body, and spirit.  The relaxation piece alone is helpful because it soothes us.  But the healing of massage therapy works more deeply than that.

Massage therapy helps our body and mind calm and relax.   With this calm and relaxation comes a sense of safety and comfort.  Our body becomes a more comfortable and safer-feeling house to live in.  And when we feel safe and comfortable, we experience our body more fully.  This counteracts the detachment of mind and body that we frequently experience as a result of anxiety attacks.  Experiencing our bodies more fully and becoming more attuned to them is an important step in working with anxiety because now we can start exploring where the anxiety-based emotions reside within our body.

Here’s what I mean:  You’re familiar with the sensation of “butterflies in your stomach” when you’re nervous.  Or maybe the chills when you’re excited.  Or the heat in your chest when you’re angry.  These are examples of our emotions manifesting in our body.  When we can pinpoint both the emotion and where it resides inside us, we can address it.  Soothe it, heal it, release it.  (By the way, the beauty of this is that it works with positive, healthy emotions too.  We can help them grow and expand, which is awesome.  But that’s another post.)  So once we’ve established a regular routine and familiarity of relaxation and calm, we begin looking within to find the places where the emotions of anxiety live.  When we find them, we use massage, energy work, and breathing techniques to address and soothe these areas and promote release and healing.  We also talk about techniques to practice on your own to enhance your healing, and also to help soothe and heal you when/if anxiety is triggered.  This piece of healing takes some attention and effort.  The good news is that you’ll only start feeling better.

Mandy Meyer-Hill

NYS Licensed Massage Therapist

Stairway Healing Arts Center

1 Washington Street
Cambridge, NY  12816