Why do massages work so well in helping manage stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues? Past research has come to similar conclusions: For example, a 2010 study found that massages could boost the immune system, and other studies found that massages improve sleep quality. We know that both sleep and immune function play a role in mental health.
But perhaps it all comes down to the importance of touch and intimacy in human emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Research has shown the frequent touches — like hugs, caresses, massages, or kisses — can help foster bonds between people, improve immune system function, decrease heart rate and blood pressure, and overall improve emotional well-being. In addition to the purely physical benefits of massages (lowering cortisol and relaxing muscle tension), they can also provide similar results as exercise or meditation: A release of endorphins that create a happy “buzz,” improved sleep, and sharper mind.
Article written by: Lecia Bushak for Medical Daily