Anxiety, stress, and the healing power of touch

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Living In Balance logoI admit to being a bit of a news and talk radio junkie. Thank goodness I don’t have a long drive anymore and a lot of time to watch TV or I might be a little anxious with all that is happenings in the world. I admit it was a talk show on Doctor Radio that got me thinking about anxiety, specifically general anxiety disorder (that was the main topic of discussion).

What is general anxiety disorder?

“All of us worry about things like health, money, or family problems. But people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are extremely worried about these and many other things, even when there is little or no reason to worry about them. They are very anxious about just getting through the day. They think things will always go badly. At times, worrying keeps people with GAD from doing everyday tasks.” [National Institute of Mental Health]

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 7.43.08 PMAccording to the National Institute of Mental Health, GAD affects about 6.8 million American adults. That is a lot of folks walking around with worries. I have suffered some from anxiety. I honestly don’t think many people have not on some level. Being a small business owner certainly causes anxiety. It is not a good feeling.

According to the AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association) massage can assist in reducing anxiety symptoms. There have been a few studies that have shown positive results with regular massage for those suffering from anxiety disorders.

I have seen many a client come in who are stressed from work or family that after their massage reply that they feel so much better. I get emails and text the next day saying that they still feel good. It may not be a formal randomized study but it works for me. My goal as a massage therapist (and as a human being) is to help those that ask for help. Be it a massage for pain or one for stress and even the simple act of listening as they get their massage this is how I help.

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 7.38.48 PMThe lack of touch in our society is amazing. A touch on the shoulder, a hand hold, or a simple hug can be all someone needs to feel better. There are times where all we need is a caring touch to make us realize how anxious, stressed or worried we are and how we hold it and feel it in our bodies. A tight upper back from a day of having your boss all over you to reach a deadline, a tension headache after a long day of a tired 3 year old throwing fits, a sore back from helping an ill parent move, or best/worst yet having a teen in your home whose whole goal in life seems to be pushing your buttons making you ache all over. These are all stress and anxiety inducing situations that also bring about a physical response.

When you see someone having a bad day take a moment to see if they are all right. A kind word can mean the world to someone struggling. A small hug to a friend for no apparent reason will touch their heart. Holding your partner’s hand while sitting on the couch can reconnect you after a long day. Reach out and touch. A hug or even a massage will not get rid of the situation causing the tension, but a massage can help relieve those tense areas. When your body feels better it helps to calm the mind.

I suggest giving it a try.


lisa poole Lisa Poole has been a licensed New Hampshire Massage Therapist since 2011. She is the owner of Peaceful Strength Massage Therapy located in Manchester, NH. She has an Associate of Science degree in Exercise Science with 10 years experience as a personal trainer. She worked for a major insurance carrier for more than eight years and has a great appreciation for the stresses of working behind a computer for 8 hours a day.

Lisa is a lifelong resident of New Hampshire. A parent of two boys (young men), and is married to her high school sweetheart. Exercise and wellness are tremendously important to her. Personal experience has taught her the importance ofScreen Shot 2015-11-08 at 8.42.13 AM balance between family, job and fitness. Lisa’s goals are to share her knowledge, help make people feel better and lead healthier lives.

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