You are not alone if you have social anxiety disorder: this mental illness, often referred to as SAD, affects nearly 7% of the U.S. population. Social anxiety disorder causes you to constantly worry about being criticized in social settings, including talking on the telephone, and interferes with many aspects of your life.
Social anxiety disorder causes rapid heartbeat, extreme anxiety, muddled thinking processes, blushing, hypersensitivity, and other emotional and physical setbacks that can be debilitating. Other common side effects of chronic anxiety are physical pain and discomfort.
Many people who have SAD and other anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, experience lower back, neck, and head pain. Your doctor can prescribe medications to you to help manage your anxiety symptoms that you can combine with alternative healing measures like massage.
Learn how massage can help you manage your social anxiety disorder symptoms. Speak to your doctor before beginning any alternative treatments for your chronic anxiety, especially if you feel depressed or are currently not taking other measures to manage your symptoms.
Massage Helps Balance Your Mood
Perhaps the largest benefit of massage for social anxiety is this: massage helps the body release natural mood-calming endorphins to allow you to feel more relaxed and in balance. In particular, massage promotes the release of serotonin and dopamine, hormones your body produces to help you feel good. Serotonin and dopamine levels are often lower in people who have anxiety and depression, which leads to worsened anxiety episodes.
Shiatsu massage is especially ideal for those who have anxiety disorders, as the purpose of this type of massage is to reduce stress and depression, bring relaxation to muscles, and promote a calming sensation in the body. Shiatsu may be the best massage technique to help boost your mood, although you can also consider deep tissue or hot rock massage if you have deep body aches in addition to decreased mood.
Massage Helps Reduce Stress Chemicals
Cortisol is a natural chemical in the body that is beneficial for many reason: cortisol helps you manage your blood sugar levels while keeping your metabolism in check. Cortisol also aids in brain health by keeping your memory strong.
Unfortunately, this steroid-based chemical is also known as the stress hormone and triggers anxiety, especially in people who have anxiety and depression disorders. Managing your cortisol levels will help make your anxious symptoms less severe. Studies show that just a half hour of beneficial massage reduces cortisol levels in the body by as much as 50%.
Deep tissue or sports massage may be most beneficial for helping your body lower cortisol levels. The deeper tissue manipulation will help your muscles release toxins and relax naturally, which will help your stress triggers relax as well. Regular massage treatments can help keep your cortisol levels steadier - along with the assistance of medication and/or counseling - so choose a massage routine that works best for your needs.
Massage Helps Build Confidence
On a mental level, simply scheduling a massage and following through with the appointment is a massive achievement for those who have SAD. When you make and commit to a massage therapy appointment, you learn to challenge your body and mind in rewarding ways, which gives you a mental boost of confidence.
If you're feeling anxious about your first massage session, ask a trusted friend or family member to come with you and arrive early so you can take your surroundings before your therapist begins.
Try multiple massage techniques until you find one that works for you. Your massage therapist will explain how various massage styles work. Visit us at Oriental Massage & Spa for your relaxation and pain relief needs today.