Holistic Massage To Reduce Stress (5 Natural Anxiety Reducing Methods)

Holistic Massage To Reduce Stress (5 Natural Anxiety Reducing Methods)

If you have ever searched for natural methods to treat anxiety or stress you will find a myriad of suggestions.  This post focuses on holistic massage to reduce stress, a safe and proven treatment which is effective in significantly reducing the symptoms of anxiety.

Why Is Massage Effective For Treating Stress And Anxiety.

The following are 5 major benefits of massage and why it is such an effective remedy for symptoms of anxiety and stress.

Number 1: Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a recommended practice for reducing symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.

You are also likely aware, that it is difficult to find the time in the day to practice deep breathing, and when we find ourselves in elevated stress focusing on deep breathing is almost impossible.

The reality is that most of us are aware of the need for deep breathing, and we recognize the benefits, but we simply don’t make the time to put deep breathing into action.

If we have a massage session booked this means at least 60 minutes of time for relaxation. What better time could there be to practice deep breathing?  Research has shown that most people enter a deep breathing state during a massage.

This makes it a win win!

Number 2: Removal Of Stimuli

Research has shown that our stress and anxiety levels are reduced significantly when we are able to remove ourselves from external stimuli and focus inward.

Therefore if we make time for regular holistic massage treatments we also guarantee we are making space in our life to remove ourselves from external stimuli and the daily noise and activity which contributes to stress.

Number 3: Body Chemistry Benefits

Massage has been shown to reduce the levels of the stress hormone, Cortisol.

Reducing cortisol helps decrease anxiety and stress related symptoms such as increased blood pressure and elevated heart rate.

Massage treatments also positively impact the neurotransmitters in our brain.  This increases our serotonin and dopamine levels, both of which are proven helpful for reducing depression.

“A 60-minute massage can lower cortisol, a hormone that’s produced in response to stress, by an average of 30 percent. And when cortisol levels decline, serotonin — one of the body’s anti-pain mechanisms — increases by an average of 28 percent after receiving a massage. By lowering cortisol and increasing serotonin, you’re boosting your body’s ability to fight off pain, anxiety and feelings of sadness.”  Massage To Relieve Symptoms Of Anxiety Depression And Stress – Mayo Clinic

Number 4: Calming Music

During holistic massage it is normal for gentle music to be played.

Research has shown us that the playing of calm music helps our brain tell our heart to slow down.  The heart rate reduces its rhythm close to 60 bpm which helps our body, and mind, relax.

Number 5: Human Touch

Probably the most significant benefit of massage is the impact of human touch.

As humans we respond positively to physical connection as long as the touch is appropriate.

Our skin is actually the largest organ in our body and is connected to our central nervous system.

This is why the physical touch of massage can be a hugely relaxing and calming experience.

Studies have shown that the physical touch associated with massage has immediate calming effects on our nervous system.

It is suggested that a safe and nurturing touch helps satisfy our need for human contact, similar to the comfort we received at birth.

This is why good holistic massage reduces symptoms of stress and anxiety, it provides a nurturing safe place, where touch is appropriate and comforting, allowing us to rest physically and emotionally.

“Harry Harlow’s famous psychological study with baby monkeys, the monkeys that were raised by the softer, warmer surrogate mother grew up to better adjusted in their adult lives than their wire-only surrogate counterparts.”   The Nature Of Love – Harry Harlow

The Touch Research Institute has researched massage and it’s positive impact upon anxiety and stress. The studies suggest that the effects of combining focused and caring attention with positive tactile stimulation sends signals to our brain that we are safe allowing us to move to a more calm physical and emotional state.

The Touch Research Institute has conducted studies investigating massage for depression. These studies have shown that massage reduces depression and anxiety and leads to a decrease in the levels of stress hormones in the bodies of participants. – Massage for Depression and Anxiety, Pacific College

Cure Anxiety Naturally With Holistic Massage
Cure Anxiety Naturally

Aromatherapy Holistic Massage

Aromatherapy is one of the most popular, and recommended, types of massage for reducing stress and anxiety.  The addition of aromas aides in the feeling of security and calm. 

Aromatherapy has been used as a holistic treatment for centuries and combines the use of naturally sourced essential oils with the nurturing, comforting touch of massage .

It is widely accepted that essential oils, when applied to the body or used with an essential oil diffuser, can generate feelings of well-being and deep relaxation.

When soothing, nurturing massage, providing therapeutic touch stimuli, is combined with sensory essential oils we have Aromatherapy Massage.

Duration of Holistic Massage:

To gain the full benefit of therapeutic touch and fully utilize the healing properties of the essential oils the duration of your holistic massage should be at least one hour.

This is the time required for essential oils to be absorbed into the body through the skin and to activate body chemistry changes which lead to our sense of well-being. 

Essential Oils Used For Anxiety And Stress Massage:

Ensure that any essential oils used are natural, non-synthetic and organic .  The top 5 essential oils for use in massage to treat stress and anxiety are:


Lavender is probably one of the most popular of essential oils used in aromatherapy.

A 2012 research study on lavender oil for anxiety and depression, showed that using lavender in aromatherapy calms anxiety and reduces stress because of it’s impact upon our limbic system, the part of our brain which controls our emotions.


Jasmine oil has a beautiful scent, with research showing that inhaling jasmine oil promotes a sense of well-being.

Unlike many essential oils used to treat stress and anxiety, Jasmine oil is able to help calm our nervous system without making us sleepy.

Holy Basil (Tulsi)

Holy Basil, or Tulsi, contains eugenol, which is the compound giving it a spicy, minty aroma.  Research has shown that the eugenol makes Holy Basil an adaptogenic herb and beneficial for treating both physical and mental stress.


Bergamot oil is made from Bergamot oranges and is proven to relieve anxiety and improve mood.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang Ylang is used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation.


Inhaling a blend of ylang ylang, lavender, and bergamot has been proven to lower stress and anxiety levels.  It has also been proven to lower blood pressure, heart rate, and serum cortisol.

Resting Time After Holistic Massage Helps Further Reduce Anxiety And Stress

All good massage will incorporate a resting time at the end.

We recommend for every massage of 60 minutes in length you add 20 minutes of resting time afterwards.

During resting time we should try to drink ample warm or cold water, recline and relax on a lounger or day bed and allow our body to return to its normal state.  This will help expel any released toxins from our body, through our breath, sweat and/or urine.

Treat Stress And Anxiety Naturally With Holistic Massage

When being used specifically to combat an ailment or illness it is recommended that two to three aromatherapy massage sessions per week give the maximum results.

Many therapists advise that daily massage should not cause any problem, but I believe that a break of 2-3 days between sessions is more desirable as it allows time for the body to relax and excrete toxic substances mobilized by the massage without stress.

Aromatherapy massage has better effects when it is applied to the whole body.

If you decide to get a massage because the muscles of one leg feel sore, massage on just the specific leg will give relief but it does not protect the rest of the body nor does it identify why the leg was sore to begin with. 

A full body massage will assist healing the leg which is sore and also aides/protects the healthy leg as it is this leg that will be burdened and carry most of the body weight to counter the pain in the other leg .

If left unchecked this could cause a further burden to the pelvis area, the asymmetry could affect the spine and subsequently lead to numb arms and/or sore neck. Thus, it is important to give our body the care it deserves!

cure anxiety naturally
A Pure Essential Oil Blend Of Lavender, Ylang Ylang and Bergamot Combined With Carrier Oil Is Proven To Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Benefits of Aromatherapy Holistic Massage

Aromatherapy massage not only offers powerful physical and emotional benefits but also enables us to have a great relaxing and rejuvenating experience.

The benefits of aromatherapy massage are widely documented and known to benefit a wide range of health conditions in particular the nervous, circulatory, lymphatic, immune and muscular systems.

Aromatherapy massage is also a pleasant treatment which helps bring about mental clarity, relaxation and alleviates stress and headaches.

Aromatherapy treatments have both physiological and psychological effects.

The combination of massage and the medicinal and therapeutic qualities of the essential oils (molecules both inhaled [aroma] and absorbed through the skin) can soothe, revitalize, uplift the spirit, encourage positive thinking and boost the immune system enabling the body to heal itself.

Holistic Massage – Overview Of Major Benefits


  • Relaxes, balances and harmonizes the body.
  • Reduces stress.
  • Strengthens the entire body and supports the body in its own healing process.
  • Encourages a healthy immune system to fight infection.
  • Enhances lymphatic drainage – this helps to reduce fluid retention and prevent oedema
  • Induces a feeling of deep relaxation in the body
  • Helps to restore balance in the body
  • Increases the oxygen and nutrient supply to the tissues by increasing the blood circulation
  • Helps to increase energy levels as blockages and congestion in the nerves are eased


Psychological Benefits:

Aromatherapy massage can:

  • promote a general state of well-being
  • calm and soothe the mind
  • help to reduce nervous tension
  • help to lift the mood and reduces feelings of depression
  • treating anxiety naturally ensures positive mindset and encourages self belief

If you have ever searched for natural methods to treat anxiety and stress you will find a myriad of suggestions.  This post focuses on holistic massage, a safe and proven treatment which is effective in significantly reducing the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

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20 thoughts on “Holistic Massage To Reduce Stress (5 Natural Anxiety Reducing Methods)”

  • Hello Jason. Thanks for introducing a world of aromatherapy.
    I am a big fan of organic oils and massages. When I back in Europe, at home, I treat myself with few massages.
    They are a delight for body and for soul. After it, I feel as feather because it relaxes and removes all obstacles from mind, at least for few weeks.
    What I like about holistic massage therapy, that it employs a variety of forms, such as working with customers spiritual, mental, physical and energetic needs.
    Sometimes people do not realize that they have not just physical body. A relaxation, which is reached through holistic massage therapy, helps rest and fight against stress, which is constant thing in our lives. A stress can be harmful for mind in the same way as for body.
    Thanks for great and helpful read.
    All the best, Nemira.

    • Thank you Nemira

      Absolutely agree. Holistic massage is a brilliant remedy for the stresses of today’s world. As with all holistic treatments and therapies the combined focus on mind body and spirit truly helps find physical, emotional and spiritual balance.

      Love and light


  • Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace
    group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content.
    Please let me know. Thank you

  • as someone who is currently suffering from anxiety, i definitely find this article helpful as it shows me a natural way to lower my anxiety. however, after getting massages i find that my tension quickly builds up again in my shoulders, so im not sure if there is a difference between a normal massage and the massage you talked about in the article?

    • Hey Jazzy

      The issue with most massages is that they are relaxation only…so as soon as they end our mind then goes back to work and if you suffer from anxiety you will begin to think and rethink and this leads to stress being built up in your body (in your case shoulders). Try the mindfulness meditations and this massage and youll find that the massage also relaxes the mental/spiritual side and the healing occurs across the physical, mental and spirit.

  • I’ve been considering getting a massage again recently – most recently I had a hot stone massage, which was lovely but I hadn’t heard of an aromatherapy massage! I can understand how it would be a good way to relieve anxiety naturally – and it sounds great, I think I will have to book one of those in the near future. Thanks for posting!

  • Thanks for this great post.
    I don’t suffer from anxiety like some people do with anxiety attacks and being seriously affected. I do get periods of feeling quite tense and uptight which I think is probably normal.
    I love getting aromatherapy treatment, a massage or a body stress release treatment and find this always helps a lot.
    I think the physical touch in combination with aromatherapy oils is very relaxing.
    Have you heard of Body Stress Release? I go regularly for sessions and it helps me with physical pain and to help me de-stress too. I think that would make a great topic for a future post if you are interested 🙂

    • hi Lynne

      Thanks for your comments

      Many of us find massage wonderful for normal everyday stress. Body stress release is a fabulous holistic remedy which can be practiced in the comfort of your home as well as a therapeutic group setting .

      Glad you find it helpful. I’ve tried the techniques and find it very beneficial


  • I LOVE getting a massage – it’s just simply adorable! I could use one right now if you could arrange it.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had a massage that lasts for 60-80 minutes but I’m more than willing.

    Actually, I didn’t realise it takes all of 60 minutes for the oils to “get in there” and do their job. I’m guessing you use different oils according to what therapy you are after. Which oils do you recommend for stress/anxiety?

    • If you can get to Mauritius, we can arrange it!

      We definitely use different oils, depending on stress, or anxiety or depression, even a combination of all. Thats why a consultation first is important.

      As a catch all, and great for releiving general stress and anxiety, use Bergamot, Basil and Sandalwood. You can use 1, 2 or all 3 mixed in with some good base oil. They all have different properties but can be used happily together.

      Bergamot – refreshing and uplifting helps relieve feelings of pain, sadness, anxiety, depression.

      Basil – soothing and relaxes. Helps relieve fatigue, depression and anxiety.

      Sandalwood has a slight sedative effect and therefore aides tension and relieves stress.

      Go get that oil!

      To your best health


  • Hi Jason.
    Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for the article on treating anxiety naturally.
    My Aunt has suffered with anxiety for years. She has tried aroma therapy with all the so-called miracle oils, but has never tried anything organic and never tried aromatherapy message. I’m excited to share your article with her and hopefully she can find some kind of relief.
    Thanks again ~Jeremy

    • Hi Jeremy,

      Thanks for writing. I am sure that your Aunt will find the combination of essential oils and massage therapy brings about alleviation from anxiety. Please tell your Aunt not to expect any miracle cures after the first session, sometimes people expect to be cured after 1 hour and when they are not it can make anxiety worse as they have something else to stress and worry about. Just allow the oils and massage to do the job and within 3-4 sessions she will know its working. Best wishes


      • Hey Jason.
        Just stopping by for an update.
        I’m not saying my Aunt is “cured”, but after the last several months of following your advice, the improvements are so big that it’s almost like being around a completely different person.

        We are so glad we stumbled across your site!

        • Hey Jeremy,
          Thanks so much for stopping by. I am absolutely delighted that your Aunt is making progress and is feeling a lot better.
          I am truly thankful that you let me know and I wish her continued good health and happiness.
          Best health to you also my friend.
          Love and Light

  • im concerned about my well-being and was looking for aromatherapy massages.
    My therapist assured me that synthetic oils work just as fine in aroma therapy, what can you say?
    I was not so convinced thats the reason i was looking for more info and landed on your site.
    Thanks for your anser

    • Hey Roamy

      Thanks for asking the question. Without any disrespect to your therapist, synthetic oils are not as good and not nearly as effective. They serve a purpose as they are cost effective (cheap) and are suitable for basic or relaxing massage where the focus is pure relaxation and pleasure but where no healing or health related concerns are involved. Synthetics usually have a pleasing smell and are OK in diffusers and massage oil but they do not contain the intensity of essential elements required for use in aromatherapy healing and health. Its a bit like using vanilla essence rather than extract – it kind of tastes and smells like vanilla but you know its not!

      I would consider looking to seek a therapist experienced with healing treatments and who uses pure holistic oils within their massage base.

      my best wishes


  • great information about aromatherapy massage. I used to practice this, and it has a very calming effect on the body and mind and is a natural way to relieve anxiety and stress.

    • Hi Krysten
      Great to hear from you and thanks for leaving a comment. In the next few weeks we will be looking at various holistic treatments for aiding stress and anxiety. Aromatherapy is a good introduction for people new to holistic healthy living, as you know, and regardless of stress levels is also a brilliant for a pamper and ‘me time’ treat!

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