Along with yoga and meditation, massage therapy is a complementary medicine that can be used alongside mainstream treatments for bipolar disorder.

How does massage fit into treatment?

There’s evidence that massage can reduce anxiety and stress. Some experts believe stress can worsen bipolar disorder. The symptoms of bipolar disorder can also cause a good deal of stress on their own.

Massage isn’t considered a mainstream treatment, but it can be a valuable contribution to the overall treatment of bipolar disorder.

How does massage work?

Massage involves a trained therapist using hands and parts of the arms to apply pressure, knead, or otherwise manipulate muscles and other tissues. There are a number of types of massage. One of the variations is intensity of the pressure applied by the therapist. Another is how the patient is positioned. Massages can be done on a table or in a chair.

Who can get a massage?

Massage is a common therapy option, but some conditions might require a discussion with your doctor before using this treatment.

These conditions can include:

  • unexplained pain or other symptoms
  • burns or open wounds
  • cancer
  • blood clots
  • fractures
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • severe osteoporosis
  • pregnancy

What are the side effects?

While a massage shouldn’t be uncomfortable, the Mayo Clinic warns that massage patients might expect some soreness.

In rare cases, more serious problems can arise, such as:

  • internal bleeding
  • nerve damage
  • temporary paralysis
  • allergic reactions to massage oils or lotions

Massage therapy is generally performed through licensed professionals. It’s becoming a common option alongside more mainstream treatments.


Massage involves the physical working of muscles and soft tissues using the hands and arms. This therapy is considered complementary to more conventional treatments, and evidence has shown it can help reduce stress and anxiety.