Feeling anxious? It might be time for a massage

It seems Swedish massage therapy might be a handy tool in fighting anxiety.

A new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found that a time-limited course of massage can be “an effective and reasonable treatment alternative”.

A person being massagedThe research compared twice-weekly Swedish massage therapy with light touch over a six-week period for people with general anxiety disorder.

Patients were assessed before and after each 45-minute session.

The study’s authors say people who took the Swedish therapy showed greater improvement of anxiety symptoms after just five sessions than those who received light touch.

There was also a clear reduction in depression symptoms.

“These finding are significant and if replicated in a larger study will have important ramifications for patients and providers,” says lead researcher, Professor Mark Hyman Rapaport from Emory University.

Massage has already been shown to help people with physical problems but Professor Rapaport believes more research should be done into how it improves mental health.