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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Massage for Stress and Anxiety

Apr 01, 2015 06:37AM ● By Lee Walker

According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), 75 percent of individuals surveyed in 2013 said their primary reasons for receiving a massage in the past 12 months were medical or stress-related. People no longer seek a massage solely for relaxation, says the AMTA, but many use massage therapy to assist with numerous medical conditions or to manage stress and anxiety, which translates physiologically as tension held in the body. In the 2013 survey, 59 percent of respondents said their physician recommended massage.

While the fight-or-flight response which produces the stress hormone cortisol was once a reaction to life-threatening situations such as encounters with wild animals, today this physiological reaction of the autonomic nervous system could be the result of perceived threats such as negative self-talk or a hectic workday, or could even be triggered as a side effect of prescription medication.

Many people carry a significant portion of stress as tension in the shoulders, neck and back, and posture plays a big part. However, the opposing muscles, such as those in the chest, also often contribute to the pain in the back of the neck.

A review of more than a dozen studies concluded that massage therapy helps relieve anxiety by affecting the body’s biochemistry. Researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine reviewed data measuring the cortisol in participants before and immediately after massage and found that the therapy lowered cortisol levels by up to 53 percent. Massage also increased serotonin and dopamine, which are both neurotransmitters that help reduce the occurrence and severity of depression.

Local Resources for Massage Therapy

Assuage, Fort Myers. 239-333-1450.

Axis Natural Medicine, Fort Myers. 239-288-0900.

Ayurveda Massage & Yoga Institute, Naples. 239-450-6903.

Best Body Massage, Naples. 239-293-0960.

Cleansing Springs, Naples. 239-596-1110, 239-571-9816.

Sculpted Beauty by Cavi Lipo, Bonita Springs. 239-221-0921.

Cura Holistic Health and Massage Center, Naples. 239-450-4325.

Eyes Wide Open Wellness Center, Bonita Springs. 239-948-9444.

Holistic Healing Arts, Naples. 732-266-5276.

InnerConnections Physical Therapy, Fort Myers. 239-398-3154.

Annaliese Klein, Silver Wave Acupuncture, Bonita Springs. 239-949-6002.

LA Green Spa, Naples. 239-963-4949.

Lillian Deng, Naples/Fort Myers. 239-263-7089.

Massage Envy, Naples, Estero, Fort Myers, Cape Coral. 239-274-3689.

Meredith Musick, Naples. 239-269-8846,, Naples. 239-514-4494.

RB Institute, Fort Myers; 239-939-4646.

ReHealth Massage, Naples. 239-595-9116.

Salt Cave, Naples; 239-403-9170.

Shangri-La Springs, Bonita Springs; 239-949-0743.

Paula Terry, Naples/Fort Myers. 239-821-3088.

Trim and Tone Spa, Naples. 239-596-5522.

Ultimate Relaxation, Naples. 239-793-8888.

Stuart Wright, Naples. 239-272-6433.

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