Massage Therapy for the Winter Blues

The winter months here in Washington State bring colder temperatures, lots of rain, fog and darkness. The shorter days of winter months combined with the weather can cause a feeling of depression, low energy, and stress. This “winter depression” can be especially bad for those suffering from seasonal affective disorder. Those suffering from this disorder can be sensitive to lack of light. To battle the blues this winter there are many lifestyle change you can make. One of these is adding massage therapy into your regular schedule.

winter-blues

How can massage help?

1.Boosts your immune system. During the holiday seasons many of battle stress and anxiety along with the long to-do list. When you are stressed, sleep deprived, and are indulging in unhealthy foods, the body is more susceptible to infections. Cold and flu season is in full swing. Massage can help boost your immune system to help your body defend these illnesses.

2. Recharges your body and mind. Treating yourself to a peaceful massage can help you feel more relaxed. Your body releases the hormone cortisol when you are stressed. Stress is not always a bad thing. However, when you are never getting relief from feelings of stress you body can become in a state of distress. Symptoms can include high blood pressure, stomach aches, headaches, insomnia, and chest pain. All of these symptoms can be reduced or relieved by adding massage therapy into your regular routine. Massage can reduce the cortisol in your body and help stabilize serotonin and dopamine which are neurotransmitters in charge of stabilizing your moods.

3. Reduces pain. Stress can lead you to carry tension in different points of your body (neck, shoulders back…). Massage will help you release this tension and relax your muscles. This leads to better circulation, reduction of headaches, and much more allowing you to lead a healthier and happier life.

 

Photo: Health.com

Photo: Health.com

Besides massage, what else can I do?

1. Exercise- the endorphins released during a workout are “feel good” chemicals that help provide energy and improve your mood.

2. Healthy diet- Eat to refuel and recharge your body with foods high in nutrients. Eating a diet high in processed foods and refined sugars will cause your body to feel sluggish with a lack of energy and could even lead to depression. Avoid white flour starches (breads, rice, pasta) and added sugar. Swap these carbohydrates for brown rice, wheat bread and also add in vegetables, fruits and healthy proteins.

3. Vitamin D– Deficiency in Vitamin D causes depression. During the cold winter months many of us do not go outside enough. Exposure to sunshine helps with your mood, but the winter has a lack of this sunlight. Go outside when you can, keep your shades up to let in light, change your light bulbs to “full spectrum.”

 

These are just a few ways that massage and a healthy lifestyle can help you battle winter and depression. Depression isn’t the same for everyone so if you are suffering from these symptoms or have any other negative side effects please contact a doctor or health care provider for help. If you are interested in massage therapy or would like to learn more about the benefits it can provide you please contact NW Therapeutic Massage today. Call 253-565-5828.

Speak Your Mind

*