Dear OWH: Can acupuncture and massage improve my anxiety and depression?

Massage has been proven to reduce a major stress hormone in our body and acupuncture points have shown to be as effective as an antidepressant.

10 min read

With overall mental health on the decline and the awareness of its importance on the rise, more and more people are educating themselves on what can be done to improve and maintain a happy, healthy mind. Exercise, eat right, speak with a therapist, practice mindfulness, step away from social media. These are all things we know have a positive effect on our mental well-being. But is there anything else we can do to get ourselves feeling our absolute best? We believe so!

In a group of studies including approximately 500 participants with depression or stress problems, researchers found that massage had the ability to lower cortisol levels by as much as 53%. Cortisol is a major stress hormone in our body. It is responsible for driving up blood pressure and blood sugar and suppressing immune function. A prolonged increase in cortisol has the ability to negatively impact our brain’s function and structure, potentially leading to weight gain, anxiety, depression, and more. In addition, massage showed to increase serotonin and dopamine. An increase in these has been shown to be an effective treatment for both anxiety and depression.

Electroacupuncture is another supplemental treatment worth giving a try. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2013 found electroacupuncture to be as effective as fluoxetine, the generic for Prozac, in treating symptoms of depression.

While effective, it is important to note that massage and acupuncture are not recommended as standalone methods of treatment. The efficacy of these in the treatment of mental illness is not as well researched as more traditional forms of therapy and, as such, massage and acupuncture are best to be used as supplements. Still, when used in combination with more traditional forms of therapy, massage and acupuncture could be just what you need to get over that hump.

Here at Beverly Hills Posture, we provide our patients with stretching, intentional movement, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, and more. We can use these modalities to help work out that extra stress and negativity, leading to a lighter sense of being, a clearer mind, and an overall more positive stasis. If you are interested in scheduling a one-on-one Pilates, Yoga, or Gyrotonic appointment and treatment with one of our certified acupuncturists or massage therapists, be sure to give us a call!

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