More than 45 million Americans have a mental disorder, almost 20 percent of the population, and 57 percent of them receive no therapy. The image is especially discouraging for children and adolescents. Over the past six years, severe youth depression has risen by almost 5%.1 According to a new survey by the National Advisory Mental Health Council Workgroup, 1 in 10 children and adolescents have a sufficiently serious mental disorder to result in substantial functional disability.
However, people with mental health problems are turning to a variety of wellness methods that involve massage therapy in the midst of these bleak figures. Latest research shows how massage therapy can mediate mood-influencing hormones such as cortisol and how mental health diseases linked to physical conditions such as heart disease and cancer can be helped. But it is important to do more. “There is a real need for more research,” says Mark Hyman Rapaport, MD, who has published many studies on the subject, including a 2018 study on massage therapy for psychiatric disorders. 3 Researchers hope to eventually track changes in the brain itself during massage therapy with imaging technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging.