depressionf6a0Research suggests massage therapy effectively decreases reported depressive symptoms—as well as comorbid anxiety and stress levels 1. Individuals suffering from coinciding conditions—including, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, cancer, and HIV—report improvements in their depression with massage therapy 2. Massage therapy may help those experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder and pregnancy-related depression 3.



  1. Coelho HF, Boddy K, Ernst E.2008. Massage therapy for the treatment of depression: a systematic review. Int J Clin Pract, 62(1):325-33.
  2. Dhingra, Sameer, and Milind Parle. 2011. “Non-drug strategies in the management of depression: A comprehensive study of systemtic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Journal of Neuroscience and Behavioral Health 3(5): 66-73.
  3. Ernst, E. 2003. The safety of massage therapy. Rheumatology, 42(9):1101-6.
  4. Hou WH, Chiang PT, Hsu TY, Chiu SY, Yen YC. 2010. Treatment effects of massage therapy in depressed people: a meta-analysis. J Clin Psychiatry, 71(7):894-901.
  5.  Kutner JS, Smith MC, Corbin L, Hemphill L, Benton K, Mellis BK, Beaty B, Felton S, Yamashita TE, Bryant LL, Fairclough DL (2008). Massage therapy versus simple touch to improve pain and mood in patients with advanced cancer: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med, 149(6):369-79.Moyer CA. 2008. Affective massage therapy. Int J Ther Massage Bodywork,1(2):3-5;  Moyer CA, Rounds J, Hannum JW. 2004. A meta-analysis of massage therapy research. Psychol Bull, 130(1):3-18; Sherman KJ, Ludman EJ, Cook AJ, Hawkes RJ, Roy-Byrne PP, Bentley S, Brooks MZ, Cherkin DC. 2010. Effectiveness of therapeutic massage for general anxiety disorder: a randomized control study. Depress Anxiety, 27(5):441-50.
  6. Field et al. 2002; O’Higgins M, St James Roberts I, Glover V. 2008. Postnatal depression and mother and infant outcomes after infant massage. J Affect Disord,109:189–192.