Running out of will-power to stick with your New Year's resolutions? It may be because you have too much stress. Dr. Amit Soon from Mayo Clinic explains the effects of stress on will-power in this excerpt from NPR's Science Friday...
The #1 Killer of Will-Power is......STRESS
As Dr. Amit Sood explains in the NPR Science Friday interview above, when we are stressed-out--which is a lot of the time-- we are more likely to revert to our ingrained habits, much like a "zombie".
Some of Dr. Sood's suggestions for keeping your resolutions stress-free are to keep it simple, specific, and realistic, and to be intentional about setting goals that have real meaning to you. Don't over commit yourself, and find a partner who can help keep you motivated. Dr. Amid Soot also reminds us that often these changes take time.
De-Stress Your New Year's Resolutions With Massage
Most Americans New Year's resolutions focus on taking better care of themselves, and often this includes finding ways to better manage stress and achieve a better balance in our busy lives.
"Anyone who enjoys massage should consider indulging regularly," says Mark Hyman Rapaport, MD, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine. “Of course, a single session will do great things for the body, but regular sessions seem to be even more profound.”
There is growing scientific evidence for the many beneficial, stress-relieving effects of a good massage. Massage therapy has been shown to boost the will-power hormone--serotonin. A stress relieving massage or reiki session could be just what you need to strengthen your resolve!
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1. Get Active & Stay Fit
Whether you are a professional athlete or just getting started with a fitness program, massage therapy has been shown to have major benefits for exercise, including enhanced performance and cardiovascular health. Massage therapy is also effective for pain management, faster recovery, and prevention of injuries, so that you can keep going. Massage therapy can be a key part of maintaining peak fitness.
2. Get Better Sleep & Feel More Energized
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. Lack of sleep contributes to many of the chronic diseases--such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression—which threaten our nation’s health. Inadequate sleep is associated with a number of medical conditions, and can negatively impact a person’s overall health. Massage therapy has been shown to reduce fatigue and improve sleep.
3. Lose Weight--With A Relaxing Massage!
Massage is at least as good as chocolate, but with zero calories. Massage therapy has been shown to boost levels of the "feel-good" hormones serotonin and dopamine, while at the same time lowering levels of the "stress-hormone" cortisol. This boost in beneficial neurotransmitters not only feels good, but it also helps ease stress and decrease appetite. Increased levels of cortisol can slow metabolism, trigger inflammation, and encourage the accumulation of belly fat. In addition to revving your metabolism, massage can also help out with any stiffness or sore muscles after that great workout!
4. Massage Therapy to Reduce Anxiety & Stress
Too much stress is the #1 reason why we lose our will-power and fail to succeed at our goals. Stress takes a toll on your health and quality of life. Massage therapy has been shown to reduce stress significantly on physical and psychological levels including decreased blood pressure and heart rate and improvements in mood and emotional states (who doesn't feel better after a massage?!) Massage can also be effective relief for anxiety and tension headaches.
5. Give Your Immune System a Boost with Massage
Don't let a case of the sniffles slow you down! In addition to lowering cortisol levels, and increasing our "feel-good" neurotransmitters, massage therapy may also improve immune function by increasing our body’s natural "killer T cells” and lymphocytes, which fight off viruses and protect us from infection and disease. Massage therapy is also being researched as a complimentary treatment to promote healthy immune and endocrine function in cancer patients.
Enjoy Greater Health and Overall Wellness with Regular Massage Therapy
Research shows massage therapy can aid in physical, mental, and social well-being, and may also help prevent disease by improving immune function and reducing stress. With such a long list of health benefits, resolve to make massage therapy a part of your wellness plan!
Originally published January 2015
Make your own homemade vapor rub using pure essential oils. Just as effective as Vick's VapoRub, but without toxic ingredients like petroleum jelly.
Recipe for Homemade Vapor Chest Rub
Gently warm and melt your preferred carrier oils, and then add the beeswax (pellets are great, otherwise shave into small pieces). Use a double-boiler, or a canning jar placed in a small pot of water, on very low heat.
As soon as everything is all nicely melted together, remove from the heat and allow it cool down. Once things have cooled down a bit, mix in your favorite essential oils and store in a small glass jar.
This non-toxic version of vapor rub works great applied to the chest and bottoms of feet!
Many health conditions may require gentler forms of massage therapy, or more specialized techniques and treatment plans. In many cases, your massage therapist can come up with a treatment plan that will work for you and your health situation.
It is important for you to fully complete your Health History and keep your massage therapist up to date on your condition. Not all types of massage are appropriate for all conditions.
Be sure to let your massage therapist know if you have:
In some situations, your massage therapist may request your physician's consent or direction.
Massage is absolutely not appropriate if:
Learn more: Cold, Flu, and Massage Therapy
Originally published November 3, 2014.
Learn about some of the research showing how massage therapy can help you keep healthy and feeling better during cold and flu season...
Only receive massage therapy when you're healthy--if you're not feeling well, reschedule your massage appointment and possibly consult your doctor. Massage therapists are also vulnerable to catching viruses and infections. If you feel like you are coming down with something, it may be best to just stay home and get some rest.
Cold and flu symptoms are often very similar--sinus congestion, coughs, achiness--so what's the best way to tell the difference? Take your temperature--in addition to feeling miserable, the flu often begins with a fever.
While most people will just feel crummy for a few days, it is important to be aware of the differences between the two. Occasionally, symptoms can develop into more severe illnesses such as strep throat or pneumonia. Check out these guidelines from Mayo.
How Massage Can Help You Stay Healthy
In addition to frequent hand washing, adequate sleep, and proper nutrition, massage therapy can help you maintain a strong immune system so you are not as susceptible to catching bugs when they do come around.
Massage doesn't just feel good--it really is good medicine. In addition to improving circulation, stimulating the lymph system, and increasing our "feel-good" neurotransmitters, studies have indicated massage therapy also improves immune function by increasing our body’s natural "killer T cells” and lymphocytes, which fight off viruses and protect us from infection and disease. Research shows that even a single session of Swedish Massage produces measurable biologic effects!
When Is It Not Okay To Get A Massage?
Even though massage has a long list of health benefits and can make you feel good, it's not always a good idea.
"When you have a cold or flu, a massage might seem comforting," says Patricia Coe, DC, ND, clinic supervisor for National University of Health Science. "However, when you have an infection, your body is already working hard to fight it and recover. A massage can be very stimulating internally and place certain demands on your body during a time when you should be simply resting..." Not to mention the discomfort of laying face down on a massage table when your sinuses are plugged or leaky....
Massage therapists are also vulnerable to catching viruses and infections. If you feel like you are coming down with something, it may be best to just stay home and get some rest. Once the bug has passed, massage therapy is a great option for reducing fatigue and replenishing your immune system!
Learn More: When Is It Not Okay to Get A Massage?
Originally published January 13, 2015