So, you’re busy, and you probably just spent a ton of cash over the holidays. I get it. And trust me, I also know that the idea of bundling up just to head to someplace where you’ll have to peel of your all your warm winter gear, may make you feel like hibernating until the spring. But despite all that, I'm here to tell you that this is actually the best time of year to book a massage. Why? Because the bitter cold, shorter days, and grey skies of winter have all kinds of not so great effects on your body, and massage therapy can help you to …
1. BEAT THE WINTER BLUES (aka S.A.D.) We all need to pay attention to our emotional and psychological wellness in order to stay healthy and stress free, right? Well, did you know that massage therapy is a surefire way to shake off the winter blues that tend to show up with the coming of the cold weather and less hours of sunlight each day? Getting regular massages this season will help to boost your mood and help you ditch the stress – via the release of serotonin and endorphins that are released by your therapist’s soothing touch.
2. BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM. Let’s face it, winter time is prime time to catch colds and flus. But you know what is a natural and non-invasive way to give your immune system a boost as you brave the cold this winter? You guessed it, massage treatments. Why? Because massage – particularly Manual Lymph Drainage massage - increases lymphatic flow, giving your immune system a much-needed assist at this time of year.
3. IMPROVE SKIN HEALTH & HYDRATION. Dry winter air, bone-chilling winds, and near constant exposure to heaters can quickly leave your skin feeling parched. The oils and lotions used during a massage session will give you a head-to-toe dose of nourishing hydration, which will go a long way to improving the appearance, feel and health of your skin.
4. RELIEVE MUSCLE TENSION & JOINT ACHE. Whether you love or hate the winter, it’s likely that you’ve noticed that you experience more muscle tension and joint discomfort in the winter. Our bodies tend to tense up in response to the cold, especially if we’re out in the cold for a long time. And since the increased tension leads to tighter muscles and more restricted joints, the chance injuring yourself during common winter activities like shovelling snow or slipping on a patch of ice is pretty high if you don’t do something to ease all that tension. Fortunately, massage therapy is a super easy way to give your body the warmth and tension relief it needs to make it safely through the winter.
5. INCREASE BLOOD FLOW & DECREASE HYPERTENSION. The drop in the mercury that accompanies winter also makes our blood vessels to constrict, which slows the circulation of our blood, and increases blood pressure. Regular massage enhances your blood flow through the cardiovascular system, naturally lowering blood pressure.
So, do something truly good for your health and sense well-being this winter, and book a massage today!
This past week I treated a number of clients at my clinic who booked massage appointments out of sheer desperation. They were all in so much back, neck, shoulder and/or hip pain due to everything from longs hours spent hunkered down in front of a screen to days upon days of hiking. But no matter how long and intense their pain, when I asked each of them if they’d taken the time to stretch before, during or after doing the activities then knew were the main cause of their discomfort, in every case the answer was a very sheepish ‘no.’
As a massage therapist I spend a lot of my time trying to convince people from all walks of life (many of whom arrive for their treatments with aches and pains that are alleviated by the passive stretches I use during their sessions, and always leave feeling – to use their words –feeling ‘soooooo relaxed’), to stretch regularly. Ideally, daily. But since it seems that in most cases my pleas are falling on deaf ears, I decided that it’s high time post an article on the benefits of stretching.
Now folks, whenever you stretch you lengthen your muscles and the connective tissue or fascia that surrounds them. This of course, eases any built up tension in your tissues, and improves your overall flexibility, by allowing your joints and muscles to move more freely. But wait, there’s more! In addition, helping you feel more loose and limber, stretching also:
Increases Agility. Regular stretching improves flexibility and joint range of motion, which in turn makes you more agile and quicker on your feet.
Boosts Blood and Oxygen Flow. Stretching increases the circulation of blood and oxygen to your muscles, which promotes overall health by enhancing cell growth and organ function. What’s more, partaking in a daily round of stretching can contribute to a more even and consistent blood pressure level, increase your energy levels, and even lower your heart rate.
Helps to Improve Posture. Prolonged time working in the same position (think desk jockeys hunched over their computers) or performing repetitive motions can put added pressure on your bones and joints that may impact their alignment and function, due to the tightness that develops in your muscles. Lengthening your muscles via stretching eases this pressure and helps to bring your body back into proper alignment.
Decreases Feelings of Stress and Anxiety. We all know that feelings of stress cause our muscles to tighten up, and leave us feeling tense and uncomfortable. Taking the time to stretch when you’re feeling anxious gives you a few moments to reflect, loosen up tight your muscles, and will release ‘feel good’ endorphins that will help to relax.
If I’ve piqued your interest in stretching and are looking for more info on the why’s and wherefores of all things stretch related, check some of the links to follow for more information.
Till next time,
Stretching and Flexibility Defined
7 Smart Stretching Tips
Mindful Stretching Guide
Easy Stretches to Do at Work
If you're looking for a fast and easy way to improve you health here's a solid tip...
Include different coloured fruits and vegetables into your diet daily.
'Eating the rainbow' by conuming a variety of fruits and vegetables not only increases your intake of anti-oxidant rich foods (which are good for your health), but also ensures you get you all the nutrients you need. Especially, if you’re someone who doesn’t currently have enough variation in your diet, or if you’re looking to maintain a well-balanced and nutritious diet, as you attempt broaden your culinary horizons.
So be sure to eat white (bananas, apples, radishes), red (strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon), orange (papaya, oranges, pumpkin), yellow (pineapples, mango, corn), green (avocado, kale, cucumber), and blue/purple (blackberries, eggplant, beets) fruits and vegetables to all the minerals and vitamins each ‘colour of the rainbow’ has to offer.
And here's another tip for those of you who are reeling at the thought of fitting a rainbow's worth of fruit and veggies into your diet every day. Opt for drinking your fruits and veggies, by adding a good green supplement like Arbonne's Green Balance to your diet. It's packed with all the nutrients you need and can be easily added to water, juice or a delicious smoothie.
Interested in learning more about Decongestive and Breathing Exercises for lymphedema?
Then check out this article detailing how to do both; and a video of a very gentle decongestive exercise class.