Reduce Anxiety

As a spouse, a mother of two school-aged children and the owner of Thrive Massage and Bodywork,  Heidi Johnson knows something about balancing career and family. And with her two decades of training, knowledge and experience, Heidi knows as much or more about providing immediate relief from anxiety disorder symptoms as any massage therapist in Ann Arbor.



Anxiety is part of our lives

“Everyone feels anxious at one time or another,” says Heidi. “You may feel nervous when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision. As a woman, whether pregnant or raising your children, at each stage of their lives you will worry about them. As a man or woman, you worry about your spouse/partner and yourself. What happens if one of you loses your job?

“If you are getting back in shape, you may feel anxiety about whether you are working out enough or too much, eating the right things, eating too much, or not eating at all. You may feel anxiety because you are not getting enough sleep or sleeping too much,” she says.

All anxiety disorders share some general symptoms:


  • Panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Sleep problems
  • Not being able to stay calm and still
  • Cold, sweaty, numb or tingling hands or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Tense muscles
  • Dizziness

Massage Therapy can help

“In scientific papers and journals, massage is recommended because it provides relief from the symptoms of anxiety and depression and enables you to better cope with the world,” Heidi continues. “And I see this in my clients, as well.”

Do you hold a lot of tension in your back or neck? Is the pain always worse when you are under stress? Any discussion of chronic pain often reveals an intense underlying anxiety. If the pain is always worse when you are under stress, does the anxiety cause the pain or is the pain causing the anxiety?

Heidi thinks it is both.

“Persistent chronic anxiety amplifies the pain,” the Ann Arbor massage therapist says. “It may also be a source of pain you would not otherwise have because anxiety makes you more prone to inflammation.”

Heidi recommends a review of the source materials available on the Internet, such as this passage from Wikipedia:

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behavior, such as pacing back and forth, somatic complaints, and rumination. It is the subjectively unpleasant feelings of dread over anticipated events, such as the feeling of imminent death. Anxiety is not the same as fear, which is a response to a real or perceived immediate threat, whereas anxiety is the expectation of future threat.”

The fight or flight syndrome, which may be very useful when confronting an immediate danger, is of little use when trying to cope with anxiety, as the owner of Thrive Massage and Bodywork explains.

“Because anxiety is often about some anticipated event that has not yet happened, and may not happen, your body and brain can do little but fret, and you may feel as if you are coming apart mentally and physically. An expert massage therapist can help you,” Heidi says.

“Do you have mathematical anxiety, sleep anxiety, stage fright, test anxiety, social anxiety, anxiety about strangers? Massage can provide important relief,” the Ann Arbor massage therapist says.

Anxiety vs. Worrying

“Anxiety disorders are different from ordinary worry,” notes the owner of Thrive Massage and Bodywork. “They are a group of mental illnesses, and the distress they cause can keep you from carrying on with your life normally. Worry and fear may be constant and disabling. Happily, with massage, many people can manage those feelings and get back to a productive and fulfilling life.”

Receiving a massage isn’t exactly as efficient as swallowing a pill, but it doesn’t have the gastro or brain-dulling side effects of some medications. And you may find an expert massage to be an extremely effective method of grounding and relaxation. You are not alone in having this positive response to knowledgeable bodywork. All primates groom one another, because social grooming calms and soothes and helps you cope. For humans, expert massage brings centuries of study to this form of natural healing.

“Studies show that massage reduces depression, and massage reduces anxiety,” cites the Ann Arbor massage therapist. “At Thrive Massage and Bodywork, we have been able to help people deal with their anxiety for over two decades,” Heidi says.

“Call, email or book online for your appointment. we may be able to provide important relief and help you get on with your life. If you are looking for a new inner calm, please visit us at our Ann Arbor Massage office to begin your journey!”

“Thrive Massage Ann Arbor at 2500 Packard Street,”