The holiday season is here, and what is supposed to be the happiest time of year can also be the most stressful. Our schedules get filled with events, we have endless amounts of shopping and cooking to do, and the weather here in the Pacific Northwest can get nasty. The holiday season can be especially difficult if we are missing our loved ones, whether they may live far away or they have passed on. It is no wonder that life can feel extra stressful from now through the New Year.
When we are stressed, our brain signals our adrenal glands to release a surge of hormones including cortisol and adrenaline. (Mayo Clinic). While these hormones are helpful for “fight or flight” types of situations, long term elevation of these stress hormones can have negative effects on our health. According to the Mayo Clinic, long term stress can increase your risk for anxiety, depression, digestive problems, headaches, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, and memory/concentration problems. Elevated cortisol levels lead to lowered immune function (you get sick more easily) and inflammation. This is why it is so important to learn healthy ways to cope with stress.
Massage therapy is an excellent way to help manage stress. We know that getting a massage “feels good,” however there is now a considerable amount of research that validates how massage helps stress. In studies in which cortisol was measured either in saliva or in urine, massage decreased cortisol levels by an average of 31% (DeMatteo). Massage also decreased blood pressure and study participants reported less anxiety, depression and stress (DeMateo).
This holiday season, take the time to take care of yourself and to manage your stress. Come on in for a massage, and you will be glad that you did. “Brush aside any thoughts that massage is only a feel-good way to indulge or pamper yourself. To the contrary, massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being, whether you have a specific health condition or are just looking for another stress reliever” (Mayo Clinic). West Hills Massage is here for you.