by Linda-Ann Stewart
Several years ago, a client came to me for hypnotherapy for stress reduction. She’d already tried various ways to reduce her stress and anxiety, such as massage, biofeedback, exercise, and a few others I don’t remember. After a couple of sessions, she said that hypnosis gave her a deeper sense of relaxation, calm and comfort than any of the other modalities, and the effects lasted longer.
I’ve seen various studies over the years that have stated that hypnosis was as effective in relaxing people as massage was. Now a trial study has been published that states that after 10 massages in 3 months, people reported a 50% reduction in anxiety. Which is significant and hopeful for those who deal with this issue.
But it also found the same level of improvement from a group who practiced relaxation therapy, while listening to soothing music. And a third group of treatment, having the arms and legs wrapped in warm towels had the same response.
All of them seem to have triggered the relaxation response, which is the key to physiologically reducing stress. All three groups not only reported reduced anxiety, but also less worry and depression symptoms.
I also think that the mindfulness that each group experienced during their treatment contributed to their improvement. “Being in the moment” has been proven to reduce stress and improve mood. All of it can be linked back to the relaxation response, where the body lets go of tension. That signals the brain that “all is well,” and the systems that have been on alert for danger can stand down and quiet their signal.
So if you can’t go for a massage, or have someone to wrap you in warm towels, take the time to settle down in a darkened room, listen to soft music, and relax your body. The more you do so, according to my client (and many others), the more benefits you’ll receive.
To read the original trial study this article referenced, go to Massage Eases Anxiety, but No Better Than Simple Relaxation Does.
Copyright 2010 Linda Ann Stewart
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