HEALTH CARE REPORT
Mental health practitioners see uptick in anxiety due to pandemic
BY JENNIFER SCHAEFER
anxious can show up in lack of eye contact or stuttering. “A lot of people are having a hard time engaging,” she said. “I don’t know if that is why people are having a hard time nding people to work.” Jamie Hill, a massage therapist with Living Lotus Massage, said she also saw an uptick in clients related to the pandemic. She said massage’s ability to relax the body can help people nd their inner balance. She said physically what happens during a massage is the body releases endorphins, which “roots the relaxed state of mind.” Hill said during a massage neu- rotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin are also released, leading people to a more happy and joyful state. She said massages also helped her clients adapt to working at home in dierent physical positions, such as from a couch or bed rather than a desk.
Due to an increase in anxiety levels during the pandemic, mental health practitioners are now seeing an increase in clients as people have begun to re-enter society in person. According to numbers released by the World Health Organization in March, incidences of anxiety and depression increased in the rst year of the pandemic by 25%. Kathie Bolles, a psychiatric nurse practitioner and founder of Mynd Works Psychiatry in West Lake Hills, said she is not surprised by this increase and that the two disorders actually go hand in hand. “If someone has signicant anxiety, it can lead to depression,” she said. “Once someone gets anxiety under control, the depression will often resolve.” Bolles said something she has noticed with some of her clients is a reluctance to re-enter society since the pandemic. She said some signs people are
Jamie Hill is a licensed massage therapist and owner of Living Lotus Massage in Lakeway. (Jennifer Schaefer/Community Impact Newspaper)
“It’s rewarding helping people help ease that tension and help them focus on work,” she said. Gayl Hubatch, a doctor of Oriental medicine at Blue Heron Center in Lakeway, said she uses a few tech- niques that help relieve anxiety, such as acupuncture, meditation, qi gong and tai chi. Hubatch said some of the tech- niques she uses focus on attention
and breath to lower one’s heart rate. She said the technique she uses is not just to manage stress and anxiety, but to transform that energy into a more positive feeling. “Creating a positive emotion sets o neural chemicals,” she said. “A release of dopamine or serotonin elevates our energy levels and gets us motivated. “Most people when I mention the
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