Nearly twenty percent of Americans suffer from a temporary depression that falls hand-in-hand with the changing of the seasons. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) occurs when the temperature starts to drop, and sunlight is harder to come by. This type of depression can be hard to get a grip on without disruptions to your regular routine. Studies suggest that something as simple as making a visit to your local massage therapist can decrease the symptoms of SAD, and help in keeping your Winter on track.
1. Stress Relief
There’s enough stress for everyone this time of year with the inconveniences that come with the change in weather (if anyone wants to volunteer to scrape off my car this year, I’ll take it), the impending holiday hubbub, and any end-of-the-year rush that may be part of your work life. Massage therapy can help relieve the physical symptoms of stress, as well as the mental strain.
2. Higher Energy Levels
It’s not unusual to experience a decrease in motivation during the colder months. Getting out of bed itself can be a challenge! During a massage, circulation is manually stimulated, which can make your body feel brand new when you hop off the table. Experiencing that extra pep in your step can help keep away the SAD sads.
3. Endorphin Release
Have you ever heard of a “runner’s high”? It’s the term for that mid-workout “I Can Do Anything, I Have Found My Threshold and Pushed Past it, I Am a Superhero, the ‘We Are the Champions’ Chorus at Full Volume” feeling, and it rocks. Massage therapy can help stimulate endorphins (the little fellas that give your brain that rock n’ roll feeling) and put you in a blissed out state of mind.
4. Depression Ache and Pain Relief
Depression HURTS. Inexplicable pain in the back and joints is an unfortunate side effect of depression regardless if it’s year-round or seasonal. Booking yourself a monthly massage (or if you can, bi-weekly massage, cue heart eyes face) can be helpful in keeping your muscles in fighting fit, minimizing the physical pains of depression.
5. A Better Night’s Sleep
Massage therapy has a direct and positive effect on sleep. I don’t want to get too scientific on you, but massage increases the brain’s production of a chemical that makes you happy, called serotonin. Serotonin then helps kick-start the production of a chemical called melatonin that incites drowsiness. Getting better sleep combats the insomnia that can occasionally go hand-in-hand with SAD.
While massage therapy can be so helpful for those dealing from Seasonal Affective Disorder, it is not a cure-all. If your winter blues are persistent, you should consult your doctor for further treatment.