HOW PHYSICAL THERAPIES CAN HELP
MENTAL WELLBEING

Have you ever been feeling low or anxious only to feel much better after a walk
or quick boogie to your favourite song?

happy

Odds are the answer is yes; many of us have experienced the powerful effect of physical movement on our mental state, and there’s tons of research to back up this fact.

Yet, while we know on a logical level that our physical health has a direct impact on our mental wellbeing, it’s still fairly common for this to be overlooked on a day-to-day basis. When we feel low or anxious, we often focus on how we can take mental action to overcome these feelings – perhaps writing in a journal, or talking to a friend about what we’re going through.

And while these activities can be extremely beneficial and certainly have an important role to play, the fact is that a more balanced approach to our physical and mental wellbeing could also be beneficial both short, and long-term. 

How this manifests will vary greatly depending on your unique circumstances and personal preferences, but finding ways to take care of your mind and body in tandem is hugely important. As you may have experienced through physical exercises, what we do with our bodies greatly influences our mental state. But it’s not just exercise that can have this impact; physical therapies such as osteopathy or massage can be equally powerful. 

The reality is that many of us hold a great deal of tension in our bodies. As a result our bodies become uncomfortable, but so do our minds. Because we haven’t released that tension, it means we cannot recover from it on a physical or emotional level. For some people the path to resolving this tension is through the emotional route, via counselling, CBT, or hypnotherapy for example. 

However, others actually find that it is through working on their physical being that they’re able to release that stress, anxiety, and tension. It’s one of the reasons massage is so effective. If you’ve ever had a massage before you’ve likely come out feeling not just better physically, but also mentally. This is because the massage process is not merely easing the physical pain in the body, but also helping to dispel a lot of the mental and emotional anguish at the same time.

The same can be said for other physical therapies such as osteopathy, acupuncture, and reflexology. On the surface, they all seem to be addressing physical ailments, when in reality they are mending both mind and body, because put simply, it’s all connected. 

Another way in which physical therapies can benefit your mental wellbeing is through the reduction of pain. Nobody likes to experience pain, and ongoing discomfort is a surefire way to bring about and sustain a bad mood. But if you’re able to reduce, cure, or even just manage that pain, then you free yourself up mentally to focus on more enjoyable things rather than being consumed by the pain. It’s why sports injury rehab can result in not just better movement, but also improved mood. Being pain free is incredibly liberating and exhilarating, especially if you’ve been suffering for some time. 

Science has shown that our minds and bodies are inextricably linked, you cannot affect one without affecting the other.

So while physical therapies are excellent at addressing physical issues, and mental therapies are great for addressing mental distress, the two do not work in isolation. They each have a role to play in keeping you well on all levels, and when you are suffering from low mood, stress, or anxiety, it may be worth considering if there’s anything you can do on a physical level as well as on an emotional level to address the issue.

Because, ultimately, it is only when we treat our mind and bodies as one, that our wellbeing truly improves.

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