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A Qualitative Study: The Impact of Massage on Mental Health within the Context of Recovery

Nikki Collins is an APNT and BCMA registered massage therapist, working privately in South Devon, UK. This paper was written in 2016.

What drew me to this writing was text that profoundly related to my own questioning on how massage is still considered a luxury as opposed to an ability to become part of a collaborative treatment plan between mental health practitioners and massage therapists.

"Massage is experienced as a treatment for mental illness and, if ongoing, provides an alternative and effective support, reducing the need for other interventions. Massage takes on new relevance for individuals as an important resource for recovery, one of many within the recovery ‘toolbox’. For some individuals, massage remains a ‘luxury’ and too limited in its impact to regard as treatment. The effects of massage share commonalities with mindfulness, notably the effect of deep mental relaxation. Massage contrasts with mainstream treatments, particularly in relation to the absence of negative impact – massage is viewed as a wholly positive experience."

Does experiencing bodywork, like massage, impact your mental health in a positive way?

  • Yes, very much

  • No, not at all

  • I do not know

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