Massage and Mental Health

In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, ABMP has compiled a list of some of our free resources, such as articles from Massage & Bodywork magazine, podcasts episodes from The ABMP Podcast, videos, and more.

Massage and Mental Health

"Massage & Emotional Wellness: From PTSD to Depression, Hands-On Work Offers Relief" (article)

Massage therapy offers myriad physical benefits, but we sometimes forget everything hands-on treatments can do for our emotional well-being. This article takes a look at the importance of touch and some of the specific ways it can help our mental and emotional health. By Ruth Werner

"The Mental Health Referral: An MT’s Obligation to the Client" (article)

Making a mental health referral can be a difficult decision for any massage therapist. Am I certain this client needs mental health services? Will they be offended if I suggest they see a counselor? Will they return after such a referral? These are a few of the questions massage therapists face as they consider referring clients for psychological services. By Jeremy Smith


Depression, Anxiety & More

"Understanding Stress" (article)

Stress is likely to have some degree of influence on every client you work with; it can also be a factor in your health and happiness as a therapist. It is essential that every massage therapist understand stress in order to recognize its impact on various conditions and diseases, on general health, and on a person’s sense of wellness. By Anne Williams

"Bipolar Disorder: Living at the Edge of Experience" (article)

Bipolar disorder, sometimes called manic depression, is a common, severe, and progressive mood disorder. It appears in several subtypes, but the unifying factor is fluctuation between depression and mania: the two extreme ends of the arc of human moods, with minimal time spent between them in the “normal” zone. By Ruth Werner

"Worrying About Worrying: Massage Therapy and Anxiety Disorders" (article)

Anxiety disorders affect roughly one in every eight adults in the United States. These conditions cross over all races and ages, but because they can make it difficult to keep a job or maintain relationships, and because medical intervention can be difficult to access, they are disproportionately high among the lowest socioeconomic groups. By Ruth Werner

"Antianxiety Foot Massage" (article)

There is a growing body of research pertaining to the effects of various forms of foot massage—including reflexology—on anxiety, depression, immune system response, nausea, pain, and stress. A general review of the literature between the years 1999–2007 found that foot work is demonstrating significant outcomes within a broad spectrum of populations, from postsurgical patients to people with cancer to middle-aged women to hospitalized patients. By John Mramor

Ep 96 – “I am enough”: Addressing Anxiety with Amanda Huggins (podcast)

Anxiety coach Amanda Huggins helps us get to the emotions underneath the umbrella term anxiety—fear, guilt, imposter syndrome—and lets us know the difference between the stories we tell ourselves (unpacking how beliefs began) and our truths.

Ep 99 – Addressing Anxiety Part 2 with Amanda Huggins (podcast)

Huggins discusses how to work with clients with anxiety (space holding, not advice; supportive affirmations, not comparisons) and advocates for all of us to “triple down on self-care.”

Depression — Pocket Pathology (resource)

Anxiety Disorders— Pocket Pathology (resource)


Disordered Eating

"Eat Your Way Happy: Body Respect, Distorted Self-Image, and Massage" (article)

This article examines some of the health and pathology issues related to chronic over- and under-eating, with special emphasis on the role massage can play as our clients live with these challenges. We will address three basic varieties of disordered eating: anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. By Ruth Werner

Ep 95 – Disordered Eating: “I Have a Client Who . . .” Pathology Conversations with Ruth Werner (podcast)

This story is a delicate one. The client has an eating disorder that the massage therapist thinks is pretty advanced, and may be getting worse. This episode dives into some of the serious consequences of eating disorders and the important role massage therapy may play. It may be upsetting for people who struggle with eating disorders, so please consider this a trigger warning.

Anorexia Nervosa — Pocket Pathology (resource)

Bulimia Nervosa — Pocket Pathology (resource)



Ep 15 – Emotional First Aid with Chopra Center Certified Angie Parris-Raney (podcast)

Learn how to move through clinging to past stories and the anxiety surrounding the future in order to find balance in the present. Move away from victim languaging and into clear and specific processes.

Ep 59 – Self-Care is Not a Luxury with Heath and Nicole Reed (podcast)

Find out how to claim more passion and power from your sessions, how to move from guarding to growing, and how to undo mental stress with doable daily self-care. Breathe, move, focus—the Reeds’ keys to healthy well-being.

Ep 91 – An Ayurvedic Lifestyle: Detox on the Equinox with Angie Parris-Raney (podcast)

Angie Parris-Raney lays the foundation for bringing fresh energy and movement to our seasonal transition into spring. She gives five tips on improving diet, exercise, meditation, tongue scraping, and self-massage. And, she informs us about avoiding FLUNC foods.

ABMP Self-Care Portal for Members (resource)

Use these resources created especially for massage and bodywork therapists to evolve your personal self-care practices. ABMP members can earn free CE hours for many of these activities in the ABMP Education Center.

ABMP Meditate & Move (video)

A series of short meditations featuring Angie Parris-Raney, LMT, Chopra Center Certified. #MeditateAndMove​​​​​



If you feel healthy, happy and relax, people around you will can feel your good energy. Giving happiness around you!


I have been a Massage Therapist for 25 years and just joined the ABMP and am thoroughly enjoying all of these posts and classes.  I want to share this list for my clients.  Having an integrated approach for whole health, especially having resources ( a list ) has made all the difference for me personally when I'm injured or need any kind of care  ( I'm currently  3 weeks post op from ruptured achilles).  Again, thank you! 


Vacancies on the Oregon Massage Board

There are two seats open to licensed massage therapists. You must be nominated by a massage organization for a vacancy, and ABMP can help nominate you. Let us know if you're interested and find out how to apply!

Massage School Programs at Risk Across the Country

The US Department of Education issued final rules on October 31 that will likely greatly impact clock-hour programs in states with minimum clock-hour requirements for licensure or certification, including massage therapy. The new rule is flawed and, if not changed, will cause devastating collateral damage to schools, instructors, students, and the public. Find out how you can advocate!

“150%” Rule Advocacy Template

School owners, operators, and instructors—use our advocacy template to send to your state senators and representatives to make them reconsider the "150%" rule amendment. Add your own opinions and experiences to make your letter more personal and impactful.



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