There is an impressive and growing body of data suggesting that massage therapy is effective in decreasing some symptoms of pathological conditions as well as facilitating growth, reducing pain, increasing alertness, diminishing symptoms of depression and anxiety, and enhancing immune function. Preliminary studies suggest that massage therapy decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression, and lowers salivary cortisol levels in a wide array of childhood and adult neuropsychiatric disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, attention-deficit-disorder hyperactivity, depression, bulimia and anorexia-nervosa. Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterised by the presence of a constellation of signs and symptoms for at least 6 months in duration, with some type of functional disability or decrease in quality of life. The signs and symptoms of GAD include a myriad of somatic symptoms including muscle tension, headaches, backaches, fatigue, restlessness, insomnia, as well as psychological feelings of worry, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed. Both pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy are effective in decreasing the signs and symptoms of GAD. Unfortunately, the vast majority of patients with GAD never receive adequate pharmacotherapy or psychotherapy. Therefore, the development of a complementary and alternative therapy that has demonstrated efficacy for GAD might be well received by patients.

This study's goals are to investigate the efficacy of Swedish massage therapy vs. light touch therapy and better understand the biological effects of massage in patients with anxiety.

The therapy used was Swedish massage, 45 minutes, 2 x per week for 6 weeks

Read the full clinical study here