There comes a time in each of our lives when we will face great amounts of grief. Grief shows its face in many forms. The loss of a loved one, the loss of a pet, the loss of a job, financial hardships, divorce, and the list goes on. In times of grief, we may turn to family and friends for support. Others may choose to handle their grief behind closed doors without anyone knowing. Some may turn down a wrong path and try to numb their pain with harmful substances. In some cases, grief helps an individual grow stronger, while other situations can really knock the person down and hinder their happiness and productivity within their lives. Commonly, grief turns into physical pain, which is why it is very important to take measures to relieve grief and lighten the pain and suffering. One way to soften the pain and begin the healing is through massage therapy.


While suffering through times of grief is inevitable, studies have shown that massage therapy greatly reduces stress and pain caused by grief. According to an article on Balsma Root Massage , massage therapy aids in getting the individuals body, mind, and spirit back in balance. According to Susan Swetnam, Balsam Root Massage,“Grief massage seeks to mechanically stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, the “rest and restore” response that occurs once a perceived threat is past.  When muscles relax and anti-stress hormones are released, the body can re-balance itself”,  In a time where stress levels are at an all-time high, and happiness levels at an all-time low, massage therapy will naturally lower cortisol, the stress causing hormone, and increase serotonin and dopamine, the feel good hormones.

During times of grief people will offer their advice, condolences, or words of support and encouragement. While these words might temporarily ease the pain, the long term pain is still prevalent. Sometimes the greatest support comes from those who don’t say a word. It comes from the friend or the family member who is just simply there. There to hold your hand, there to give a hug, a back rub, or just a hand on your shoulder. According to an article on Body Ecology, human touch has been proven to reduce anxiety, help you sleep better at night, lower blood pressure, increase the feel good endorphins, release happiness hormones, and increase the number of white blood cells. Many people have trouble sleeping during times of grief. Massage therapy aids in relaxing the mind and body in order to promote a more restful, restorative sleep which can be crucial in making it possible for someone to cope with their grief. Well rested individuals often handle situations more rationally and logically, making it easier to heal and handle the grief. Often times when dealing with great stress, one might begin to experience frequent headaches. Massage therapy greatly reduces the frequency of future headaches and can even take away a current headache.

Within the last month, we have treated two women who were recently widowed. They turned to our massage therapists here at Libertyville Massage Therapy clinic to provide them with relief from physical and mental pain. They turned to our massage therapists for a feeling of consolation and to be reminded that they are not alone. One of our massage therapists shared that when treating a client who has recently suffered a loss of a spouse she tries to provide an open hearted, open eared space for healing and non judgement.

two young women sitting on grass hugging rear view

Whether you find yourself in a time of extreme or mild grief, you can turn to massage therapy to brighten your day. You will leave your massage feeling just a little more relaxed, relieved, and assured that everything will eventually be ok. Your feel good hormones will be doing their job and the stress hormones will diminish. The tightness in your neck and shoulders or wherever stress tends to build in your body will slowly fade away.