How Physiotherapy Boosts Mental Health

physiotherapy for mood

Written in collaboration with Lauren Mcneely

Our mental and emotional health plays a large role in our overall wellness as well as our capability to foster and maintain a good relationship with others. The convenience of modern life has led a lot of people to obesity and an increase in metabolic syndrome. Moreover, it has also ushered in an increase in cases of serious mental illnesses.

 

In recent years, there have been increasing studies crediting physical activities in improving mental well-being for the people. Physiotherapy helps in this field through the assessment and management of pain and through the prescription of physical activities which help improve both one’s physical and emotional state. Here are some of the ways physiotherapy can boost your mood.

 

Experience a natural high, reduce pain and stress

A common feeling after a challenging workout routine is what people tend to describe as a “runner’s high.” This sensation is often characterized by feelings of happiness, increased pain tolerance, reduced stress, and even euphoria. Actually, this is caused by the release of endorphins, chemicals in the brain which reduces our perception of stress and pain.

 

Endorphins create a positive feeling similar to morphine, but without the risk of dependence or addiction. While the concept has been around for longer, it was in 2008 that German researchers identified the mechanism behind this event by using brain scans on runners. In the subjects’ two-hour runs, they found a spike in endorphin levels in the prefrontal and limbic regions.

 

According to David A. Raichlen, Ph.D., an anthropologist at the University of Arizona, the euphoric feeling, or this runner’s high, might have stemmed from an evolutionary sense to encourage high aerobic-activities.

 

Achieving this rewarding feeling, however, is not limited to activities that are too intense or too difficult. You can start with activities that are comfortably challenging.

Regulate your mood and Sleep Well

Almost everyone knows that lack of sleep gets you all cranky in the morning. What most people do not know, is that physiotherapy activities can also get you a good night’s sleep, sparing you and your coworkers that ill temper in the morning.

 

Physical activity also releases other neurotransmitters in the brain namely: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Serotonin is another chemical that, when released, helps us feel good. This is widely regarded in its role in regulating mood and helps in digestion and sleep.  In fact, studies have established links between increased serotonin levels in the brain and exercise. On the other hand, dopamine is involved with our reward system and pleasure while norepinephrine increases alertness and focus, and also helps memory.

 

Aside from listing down the things you physically need to do, your physiotherapists can also recommend supplements to help you achieve more than just exercise. For patients having difficulty with stress, digestion, or lacking sleep, physio clinics are turning to Magnesium supplements. It is a naturally-occurring mineral available from a variety of fruits and vegetables which aid in the activation of some 300 enzymes in the body.

These activated enzymes affect the body from the skeletomuscular to the nervous systems. In fact, Magnesium deficiency can lead to frequent headaches, sleeplessness and frequent urination at night, constipation, and mood swings. 

Even though magnesium is readily available in a variety of different foods, it has been shown that over one third of adult Canadians are still magnesium deficient. For that reason, it’s always a good idea to check in with a therapist or natural health professional about taking magnesium supplements. They’re available from Natural Calm as drinks, gummies, or topically in the form of balms and sprays. 

 

Increase confidence

Seeing yourself in tip-top shape definitely contributes to one’s improved self-image and confidence. This is magnified when you set goals that are clear and attainable. With Whitby physiotherapy, trained experts and professionals help you develop a program that is suited to your needs and capabilities. Moreover, the program is time-bound and measurable, either you or your therapist can monitor your progress and the program is then adjusted accordingly.

 

While short term experiences from following guided exercise routines include rewarding feelings of happiness, pleasure, and relaxation, the long-term effects of continued physical activities include improvements on muscle strength, bone structure, and weight loss. These physical improvements then result in an individual’s improved self-esteem.

 

Another cause for increased confidence with the help of physiotherapy is the feeling of control over the process. As opposed to surgery or medication, physiotherapy includes a closely-monitored program for recovery from injury or general improvement of well-being. Most of the procedures require the patient to take an active role in the therapy, performing tasks and discussing their conditions and abilities to their therapist for further advice.

 

Improve social interaction

The sedentary lifestyle fostered by the Information Age has given us comfort in sitting behind computer screens and communicating with people anywhere in the world. Some people lack the social skills required for physical interaction.

 

However, physiotherapy helps you interact with other people and consequently increase the chances of having friends and associates you can connect to either online or offline. First of all, a qualitative study shows that patients appreciate their interactions with their therapists more than the physiotherapy sessions during the inpatient rehabilitation period. 

 

On the other hand, most physiotherapy clinics now recognize the importance of activities such as yoga and meditation in fostering holistic development. In line with this, therapists encourage including these classes for their patients, usually taken as a class together with other people. Since people attending a similar class for similar reasons, of fitness or recovery, conversation and acquaintance is facilitated when common grounds are identified.

 

Author Bio

Lauren Mcneely has spent over half a decade working in the medical industry. Besides learning new things about the medical world, one of her passions is writing & teaching about it.

 

She is working with HealthMax and helps produce and edit content related to medicine, covering topics such as treatments & symptoms for particular conditions, injury prevention, medical tips, and much more.

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