By Katie Tallent
Tis the season to be thankful! However, as the holidays approach each year stress, anxiety and depression can start to pile on our shoulders. The big question is: how can we maintain a higher state of happiness despite a constant flow of stress which overwhelms us during the shortest, darkest days of the year?
You can probably guess that my answer will be MASSAGE. But why massage? What can massage do during such a stressful season? We have huge expectations. They range from creating the perfect meal, to buying the perfect gift, or even the stress of having to spending a holiday alone. It’s the perfect storm causing us to focus more on what we do not have rather than counting our blessings.
These stresses cause the body to lose its ability to regulate the immune system and thereby creating inflammation which welcomes a whole host of diseases. Cortisol is the hormone that is partially responsible for reducing inflammation. But when left to run amuck the body’s tissue becomes less sensitive leaving us open to inflammation which leads to sickness and can lead us to….the dreaded holiday abdominal weight gain!!!! What a joy the holidays can be, right?
As a spa manager, you knew my best answer was MASSAGE! (But wait! Why does it work?…) Let me tell you the mechanics of touch and why it is exactly what you need during this season.
The act of intentional, physical touch reduces blood pressure and a potentially high level of cortisol due to stress. Researchers have found that massage literally increases our white blood cells. Massage is a mighty enjoyable way to fight colds and flu compared to a needle. Now while you might want to get a flu shot this year, keep it also in mind, that massage can also help defeat diseases. How? It directly reduces those pesky inflammatory cytokines commonly associated with autoimmune diseases….and nobody wants cytokines….right?
Now, I know you all of you will be running to your phone to make an appointment because massage is beneficial any time of the year but since we are nearing Thanksgiving I would like to add one other “task” to your holiday list. I have included a delightful video on the “Science of Happiness- An Experiment in gratitude.” http://www.youtube.com/embed/oHv6vTKD6lg Give it a look-see. You might shed a tear. Give me a comment and tell me how much you love it! I know you’ll thank me for it later!