Total Therapy Blog
Taking Care this Season
The rain, cold, and dark of November are here, with winter fast approaching. We’re all feeling a little slower, a little more achy, a little more tired. November marks the start of the flu season, short days, and the holiday rush build-up. During this time, it’s increasingly important to take care of yourself. Stress, combined with fewer daylight hours and an increased presence of flu-causing bugs can set you up for a miserable winter. Don’t let the season get the best of you.
Washing your hands is one of the best ways to stay healthy this season, but there are also other things that you can do to boost your immune system and enhance your well-being. An extremely important, but often overlooked, part of well-being is touch. Humans need physical contact. Multiple studies have shown that the simple act of touch can reduce perception of pain, enhance a person’s sense of well-being, and even give a boost to the immune system (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964339709000706). Likewise, those who are touch-deprived are more likely to report higher levels of pain/discomfort, are sick more often, and are generally less optimistic about the future.
For these reasons, massage therapy is frequently used in the management of chronic conditions such as arthritis, headaches/migraines, and recurring low back and neck pain. Massage therapy can also provide a transient boost to the immune system, increasing the count of white blood cells that attack “germs” circulating in the body (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8707483). Finally, massage therapy has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol – the “chronic stress” hormone – promoting a sense of relaxation and calm (http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/pro/41/4/325/). More than just a form of musculoskeletal therapy, massage therapy has an important positive impact on a person’s overall well-being.
Whatever your method, make sure you take time to take care of yourself this season. That way, you can get the most out of your November, and start the holiday season in top form.