Clients will often remark after a massage, "I feel taller!" Turns out, it actually may be true.
Two psychology students at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Kim Goral and Meghan Burkett, found that their subjects consistently stood about a half inch taller after massage. (story here) They were conducting a small research project investigating whether there might be a relationship between posture and anxiety. After massage, the subjects felt less anxious and had improved posture. Although the study only involved two subjects, the results were very consistent. Their advisor, Christopher Moyer, Ph.D., remarked, "The results are very strongly consistent with the hypothesis that massage therapy reduces anxiety by first altering the recipient’s posture. This would generate neural feedback from the body that would be incompatible with the emotion of anxiety. By standing taller, and having a body that is physically looser, a person's body would actually be telling their mind that 'you can't be anxious because your body is relaxed.'"
"Peanuts" character Charlie Brown commented on the relationship between posture and mood back in 1960 with his "depressed stance" cartoon. It's nice to see his observation confirmed by research!
So, if you want to feel better, try standing tall! And if you'd like help with feeling better and standing taller, get a massage!