What Is The Best Form Of Bodywork To Alleviate Stress/anxiety?

It seems like all bodywork helps to some extent. However, I'm curious as to what is the most effective form. Traditional massage? Rolfing? Feldenkrais? Alexander? Something really cool I've never heard of?


My goal is long-term change too, not just short-term relief. I'd be willing to commit to 20+ sessions of something if it really made a big difference in reducing stress and alleviating anxiety.


  • HegReg33HegReg33 ✭✭
    edited April 2016

    Beware, potentially weird read, depending on how open-minded you are. But it could be exactly what you're looking for.

    I encourage you to read the whole page, as well as the practices listed on the left. The rest of the site is a scattered mess of related material, I recommend it all. But it's a doozy...


    Also, don't forget vibrating plates! Probably my favorite.


  • Thanks HegReg33. I will check that out. 


    In terms of vibrating plates, any specific recommendations there? I'm doing a QiGong shaking exercise ("shaking the tree") that I really like. I wonder how similar it is to vibrating plates.

  • Honestly, I've never actually used a vibrating plate. Only experimented with an electric razor that vibrated like crazy, and those foot vibrators at the fair, and it felt absolutely amazing. I would put it up to certain parts of my bone and just resonate. Crazy feeling. Back to the point, I would guess that having variable intensity and frequency would be a big plus. Search around the forums, there has to be some comparisons.

    Shaking exercises are great, and they let you relax the opposite muscle of the one being flexed, in rapid succession. Vibrating plates are probably a little different, allowing you to relax nearly ALL muscles. Probably a very beneficial effect over the shaking exercises, but they may both have their own unique benefit.

  • My favourite is feldenkrais.  Will change the way you look at your body and nervous system.  The best way I've found to make my life easier and every second you are moving.

  • DManDMan Master of Arts ✭✭✭

    It seems to depend on who you ask and it seems any kind of exercise me reduce stress. I would do something more intense for immediate relief and something like yoga or feldenkrais for longterm or even mindfullness and breathing. I guess both approaches work in different ways and together they work best.

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  • Qigong and yoga, without question.

  • Any thing that involves controlled breathing does it for anyone.

  • I like to get in touch with my 5 senses. Touch, taste, smell, sight sound. I start with touch (touch something and note it's texture, temp, etc) and then move through each of the 5 senses. It's akin to mindfulness. Can be done anywhere, anytime. It takes practice, but over time builds a natural and responseive habit of calming youself. This coupled with deep breathing techniques helps me tremendously.

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  • Certainly it depends on the individual but I would recommend checking out Osteopathy.

    It's a broad field and fairly unregulated but if you can find a skilled Osteopath it's a great form of bodywork. Like a massage and reset for your nervous system.

    I'll get a session every couple months and I find it has been greatly beneficial for my overall health and well being.

    I'm in Canada though where Osteopaths use a slightly different approach than those in the USA.

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  • I use riding fixed gear bikes. I hypothesise that it helps with present state awareness as well because you can not coast

  • @blueband said:
    Any thing that involves controlled breathing does it for anyone.

    Youd think, but I remember how neurotic I became over breath exercises and meditation and how long it took me to get over it. Now I say it was the neurosis, but I definitely would have gone about it another way had I known how disassembled it would make me feel.

    I guess slow movement is the safest generalization. Like Asprey wrote somewhere, "first you gotta learn to relax your muscles, then you can turn them on". With this thinking breath comes in almost by itself.

    I nowadays do yoga and feldenkrais type of things, plus a lot of conceptual dance. When I power I do sprints and heavy lifts. Basically, my whole day is exercise, and I wish that for anyone who is trying to learn to like exercising.

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