Knock Out Your Stress: Massage Therapy

massage

Most of us don’t need an excuse to get a massage, but if you were on the fence, a new study from Emory University may be just the extra push you needed to convince yourself (or your significant other), that regular massages are a worthwhile investment in your mental and physical well-being.

The study that found regular massages resulted in lower levels of cortisol (hormone that causes stress) and an increase in disease-fighting white blood cells1.  The study also proved that, unlike some other stress relievers that have a temporary effect on your mental state, the stress-relieving effect of massage lasted several days after it was performed.  Regularity (the participants in the study received a massage at least once a week) was key to the benefit, so although that once-a-year massage you receive for your birthday or Valentine’s Day is a treat, it won’t have the same benefit as making massage a part of your regular lifestyle.

For many of us though, the expense of a weekly professional massage is not in our budget.  If that’s the case for you, try these self-massage techniques (or better yet, convince your partner to do them for you) from Maureen Moon, former President of the American Massage Therapy Association[1]:

1)      60 Second Facial Massage.  With a firm touch, run your fingers up and down your forehead and along each eyebrow.  Apply gentle pressure to your eyelids and temples.

2)      60 Second Foot Massage.  Using your favorite massage oil (bonus stress reliever points if you chooselavender) rub the tops of your feet with brisk, smooth motions.  Focus your attention to each toe and firmly radiate your hands outward along the soles of your feet.

3)      60 second Hand Massage.  Tug and rotate each finger and then use either your fingers or your knuckles to push on the palm of your hand in a circular motion.

 

[1] Drummond, Katie.  “Is Massage Actually Good For You?”  Prevention.  August 2012.  Retrieved fromwww.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/massage-shown-reduce-stress-and-boost-immunity