What is depression?
Depression is common in our society at the moment but is difficult to define since it affects people uniquely according to what has triggered it and how our minds processes thought. It varies from the mildest and barely detectable to the more severe and life-threatening.
We all feel sad occasionally and this is a normal emotion in response to unhappy experiences; like your favourite television series is finished, or you fail an exam or you lose someone close to you. But when this feeling lasts longer than would be reasonable in the circumstance or interferes with your life, then it may be a sign that someone is clinically depressed. Other negative feelings encountered may be agitation, tearfulness, despair, loneliness, impatient or helplessness. All of these we will feel at some point but if for too long then this is a warning that depression may be upon us.
Depression also has physical symptoms since our mind and body are linked. These include; feeling excessively tired, poor attention, loss of appetite, loss of libido, increased sensation of aches and pains and a lack in sense of well-being.
Sadly, there is no one quick fix treatment but there are ways to help, talking therapies can be a good place to start. Taking exercise is also advocated due to its ability to help rest the mind as well as produce feel good ‘endorphins’. Medication is used in some circumstances and massage can also be beneficial.
How massage can help
Body massage soothes the mind and relaxes the body. It helps reduce physical tension in our bodies, much of which actually originates in the mind and enables us to experience what deep relaxation or our natural state feels like. It brings awareness to and an appreciation of our bodies which can be used to build confidence as we learn to detect warning signs and enables us to change our behaviour or get help before it becomes a problem. If we are feeling lethargic or poorly motivated it can lift our spirits and regain our focus.
There is also a ‘depressed posture’ which is a bit like slumping and involves a shortening of the abdominal muscles, rotation of the shoulders and a stooping of the head and neck. This restricts breathing and therefore oxygen supply to the brain and muscles. Massage can help to strengthen tired muscles in the back and loosen tight muscles in the chest and produce a posture that is
more upright and supported. This gives us a sense of feeling stronger and more able take part in life and move out of depression.
The smell of aromatherapy oils has the ability to relax the mind and melt away fears or worries. At YOU massage therapy we use a blend of oils specific to YOUR needs in our signature holistic massage.
Depression can sometimes be the result of having a chronic health condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis. Massage techniques can be used to soothe pain from conditions like these and therefore ease their burden both physically and mentally. Indian head massage can bring peace to a stressed mind. Did you know there are over 40 muscles in the face? And that it takes more muscles to create a frown than a smile? Indian head massage can relieve headaches caused by tense neck, upper back and jaw muscles. It can improve concentration and sleep patterns.
Postnatal depression is unfortunately common. With so much time being spent on looking after a demanding newborn or even toddler, a mother may begin to neglect her needs and depression can be a slippery slope. Massage can help by giving the mother some dedicated time to herself, allowing her to re-connect with her changing body and also give time to reflect on the needs of her and her family.