An estimated 19.1% of adults suffered from some form of anxiety in the past year. In addition, the effects can range from mild to debilitating. Treatment for anxiety typically is a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Many research studies have shown massage to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and produce a calm and relaxed feeling. The calmness is in part due to a parasympathetic response.
It is important to tell your therapist anytime you are uncomfortable or need some sort of accommodation, such as leaving the door open, working through clothing, or positioning on the table.
National Institute of Mental Health, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/any-anxiety-disorder.shtml
Garner, B., Phillips, L.J., Schmidt, H.M., Markulev, C., O’Connor, J., Wood, S.J., Berger, G.E., Burnett, P., McGorry, P.D. (2008). Pilot study evaluating the effect of massage therapy on stress, anxiety and aggression in a young adult psychiatric inpatient unit. Aust N Z J Psychiatry, 42(5):414-22.
Wentworth, L.J., Briese, L.J., Timimi, F.K., Sanvick, C.L., Bartel, D.C., Cutshall, S.M., Tilbury, R.T., Lennon, R., Bauer, B.A. (2009). Massage therapy reduces tension, anxiety, and pain in patients awaiting invasive cardiovascular procedures. Prog Cardiovasc Nurs. 24(4):155-61.
Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Diego, M., Schanberg, S., Kuhn, C. (2005). Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci. 115(10):1397-413.