Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) affects up to 5% of the UK population, according to the NHS. We would guess that’s slightly higher in London.
Obviously anxiety at times of stress is completely normal, but GAD is more like a constant worry that can seriously affect the lives of sufferers. It’s a long-term condition and usually causes anxiety about a very wide range of issues rather than one-off events. Suffers can often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed, and are frequently restless, worried and have difficulty concentrating or sleeping. GAD can even present with more serious symptoms like dizziness/fainting and heart palpitations.
Common treatment recommendations include regular exercise, reduction of alcohol and caffeine, as well as learning to relax properly. Proper relaxation is probably the harder recommendation to implement, and this is where massage comes in. The generalised relaxation response to massage (including the deep breathing relaxation in Thai massage) can be effective in inducing a state of deep relaxation.
A 2010 study published in the Depression And Anxiety journal tested massage treatment on 68 GAD patients. Symptoms of anxiety reported by the subjects decreased around 40% after a 12 week course. While this clearly sounds like a good result, the subjects reported similar decreases after sessions of ‘relaxation therapy’ – basically deep breathing while lying on a massage table. The experiment did not have a control group, where subjects had neither massage nor relaxation therapy. Another study (2016) published in the Clinical Psychiatry journal compared the effect of Swedish massage and ‘light touch therapy’ on GAD patients, again finding significant reduction in anxiety symptoms among the massage group and lightly less improvement among the light touch therapy group.
So while you could always try and find an hour a week to lie down and listen to whale music, it’s not always easy to find that environment, especially in central London. So we think if you want to seriously relax, that it’s worth splashing out on a massage at Thai Kosai! We can also offer courses of massage (ask us about pricing). Call us today to book!