Monday 28th December, 2020

Can massage help anxiety

Clinical trials show that regular massage can help with anxiety


Many clinical trials have shown massage reduces anxiety. From studying the types of massage that worked, self massage using a vibration massager should work fine. The good news is that these and other trials have shown that if you use this massage it should also help with a range of other symptoms such as pain, depression and high blood pressure.


What the trials tell us
A practical way to get these benefits
Trial details

What the trials tell us

To work out what types of massage would help anxiety we studied the types of massage used, noting what worked and what didn't.

What you need

Type of massage

The trials tell us that practically any massage we would consider "remedial massage" worked. A remedial massage is your typical massage that works on tight spots, loosened muscles and helps stimulate blood flow.


The massages needed to be regular and frequent. Examples were daily and 2-3 times a week.

What you don't need

The trials were successful without the relaxing add ons often associated with therapeutic massage, such as special oils and relaxing music. Neither did they need to use any special points or rituals.

Using a vibration massager
Regular massage is easy and affordable using a vibration massager

A practical way to get these benefits.

The trials showed that frequent repeated applications of remedial massage therapy are needed to get these results. The effective and affordable way to do this is to do self massage using a vibration massager. This could be made super easy and convenient by having one plugged in next to your favourite lounge chair. What you need to do is.

  1. get a good massager
  2. check out our instructions

Trial results

Trial one: hospital patients with high blood pressure (1)⁠

This trial used 120 patients hospitalised with high blood pressure. The patients were given three 15 minute sessions of back massage each day for six days. Those receiving the massages had excellent reductions in anxiety and blood pressure.

Trial two: those caring for cancer patients (2)⁠

Those caring for cancer patients were given a 15 minute clothed “chair massage” each day for a week. The massages were shown to improve anxiety, blood pressure and sleep quality.

Trial three: “normal” faculty and staff at the university (3)⁠

A 15 minute chair massage was used twice a week or five weeks. Those receiving the massage not only had reduced anxiety, the researchers found that it caused them to increase speed and accuracy doing math computations.

Trial four: people with shoulder pain (4)⁠

People with shoulder pain were given nine 30 minute sessions of Thai massage over three weeks. The massage was shown to reduce pain, muscle tension and anxiety.

Trial five: adolescent wrestlers (5)⁠

Adolescent (sports) wrestlers were given ten 25 minute sessions of “sports massage”. The trial showed that the massages significantly decreased stress and anxiety. The researchers speculated that this may improve there mental health, and thereby improve their performance.

Trial six: workers facing retrenchment (6)⁠

Workers facing retrenchment were given six weekly “chair massages”. The massages were shown to reduce anxiety.

Trial seven: cancer patients (7)⁠

This huge study used 1290 cancer patients. A variety of “Swedish” massages were used ranging from “light touch” to more normal massage, and from 20-60 minutes. The choice of massage was determined from an assessment of each patient. The trial found that massage gave considerable improvement in anxiety, pain, fatigue, nausea and depression.

Trial eight: post operation patients (8)⁠

This trial involved patients following abdominal surgery, so massage was applied to the hands and the feet. Three 20 minute sessions of “Swedish” massage were used, and was shown to significantly reduce stress and anxiety.


  1. Ramu K. “ A Study to assess the effectiveness of Back massage on Anxiety level , Heart rate and Blood pressure among Hospitalized Hypertensive patien ts at selected Hospitals Tumkur ”. 2018;7(5):87–93.
  2. Pinar R, Afsar F. Back massage to decrease state anxiety, cortisol level, blood prsessure, heart rate and increase sleep quality in family caregivers of patients with cancer: A randomised controlled trial. Asian Pacific J Cancer Prev. 2016;
  3. Field T, Ironson G, Scafidi F, Nawrocki T, Goncalves A, Burman I, et al. Massage therapy reduces anxiety and enhances EEG pattern of alertness and math computations. Int J Neurosci. 1996;86(3–4):197–205.
  4. Buttagat V, Eungpinichpong W, Chatchawan U, Arayawichanon P. Therapeutic effects of traditional Thai massage on pain, muscle tension and anxiety in patients with scapulocostal syndrome: A randomized single-blinded pilot study. J Bodyw Mov Ther [Internet]. 2012;16(1):57–63. Available from:
  5. Zadkhosh SM, Ariaee E, Atri AE, Rashidlamir A, Saadatyar A. The effect of massage therapy on depression, anxiety and stress in adolescent wrestlers. Int J Sport Stud [Internet]. 2015;5(3):321–7. Available from:
  6. Shulman KR, Jones GE. The effectiveness of massage therapy intervention on reducing anxiety in the workplace. J Appl Behav Sci. 1996;
  7. Cassileth BR, Vickers AJ. Massage therapy for symptom control: Outcome study at a major cancer center. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2004;28(3):244–9.
  8. Youssef NFA, Hassan ADA. The Effect of hand and foot massage on alleviating pain and anxiety of abdominal post-operative patients at a University Hospital: A randomized control trial. IOSR J Nurs Heal Sci. 2017;06(03):56–65.
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Dr Graeme

About Dr Graeme

Several years ago Dr Graeme, a Chiropractor practicing in Victoria, Australia was looking for a serious hand held massager his patients could use at home to get the extra quality massage they needed. The ones he found in the shops and on-line for home use looked nice but were not serious, and... read more

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