Anxiety seems to be affecting a greater number of people than ever before. In Canada, anxiety and mood disorders are the most common medical condition affecting 11.6% of the population.1 In the US, an estimated 19.1% of U.S. adults had any anxiety disorder in the past year.2 Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and agoraphobia.
Complimentary therapies such as massage, acupuncture and reflexology are used by many to lessen the debilitating impacts from anxiety. A good summary of the research is available from the AMTA.3 The research is ongoing into the effectiveness of complimentary therapies with respect to specific anxiety disorders. One recent study in 2016 concluded that massage therapy was found to be an effective acute treatment for GAD.4 Standard medical treatments such as counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy are also commonly used to deal with anxiety disorders with 20% indicating that they received psychological counselling in the past 12 months.1
Our massage therapists, acupuncturist, psychotherapists and class instructors work with many individuals dealing with anxiety. The moving meditative practices such as T’ai Chi and Qigong along with meditation yoga can also be a viable, cost-effective complement to other treatments. In fact, it was reported that 43% of those dealing with an anxiety or mood disorder “engaged in reflective or meditative practices.”1
1Public Health Agency of Canada. (2015, June 03). Mood and anxiety disorders in Canada. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/mood-anxiety-disorders-canada.html
2Any Anxiety Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/any-anxiety-disorder.shtml
3Massage Therapy for Anxiety | American Massage Therapy Association. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.amtamassage.org/approved_position_statements/Massage-Therapy-for-Anxiety.html
4Rapaport, M. H., Schettler, P., Larson, E. R., Edwards, S. A., Dunlop, B. W., Rakofsky, J. J., & Kinkead, B. (2016, July 27). Acute Swedish Massage Monotherapy Successfully Remediates Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Proof-of-Concept, Randomized Controlled Study. Retrieved from http://www.psychiatrist.com/JCP/article/Pages/2016/v77n07/v77n0707.aspx