The team’s theory was that “massage therapy might help reduce smoking or at least smoking cravings.”
Since the massage is self-administered, it would be a simple and easy way to keep the soon-to-be former smoker’s hands busy and might “help reduce the anxious behaviors that typically accompany nicotine cravings.”
The participants who were assigned the self-massage reported lower stress and anxiety levels, higher mood scores, and fewer withdrawal symptoms. They also smoked fewer cigarettes per day as part of their attempts to step down and quit. In other words… it seems to be working for them!
Participants who were not part of the self-massage group reported all the usual symptoms typically suffered by someone attempting to quit smoking, and a much higher number of cigarettes smoked per day during the attempt.
The best part of using massage to offset the symptoms is that there are no harmful effects. Dr. Hernandez-Reif says “that massage is not a ‘drug’ on which you can overdose.”
As with anything, each individual is unique and may have differing results.
But this method provides both an immediate distraction from the craving or anxiety, as well as a calming feeling that comes from massage.
With just these results, the massage is certainly worth a try as part of developing a healthier lifestyle without nicotine.
Besides… who can argue with something that tells you to pamper yourself?