Staying in Touch®
Hello, and welcome to the February 2021 newsletter! This time last year, we were just beginning to hear about a newly discovered virus that had the potential to develop into a serious threat to the world. And here we are.
During the coming months while the population is getting vaccinated, we’re all trying to stay healthy and avoid getting infected. It appears that the healthier you are, the better chance you have of avoiding a bad case of COVID 19.
Your overall health is determined in part by both your mental and physical condition. This month’s featured article gives a nice overview of how your physically relaxing massages are also contributing to your mental wellbeing.
Two therapists from the United Kingdom discuss the ways massage directs your body to take the actions that help your mind to be more relaxed and to ease your stress and tension.
Then read on to see how your water intake might be contributing to your happiness, as well.
Get healthy and stay happy. Enjoy your month; see you soon for your next massage!
How to use massage to improve your mental health
by Claire Chamberlain
Let’s be honest: who doesn’t love a massage? A full-body massage is the ultimate in pampering luxury, while a sports massage is the perfect remedy for post-workout aching limbs.
But aside from the obvious physical benefits, what is it about massage that makes you feel so good?
The importance of human touch— If you've ever gone without a hug from a loved one for any length of time, you'll know how important human touch can be. “Touch plays a vital role in our health, and studies show that both social connection and touch broadly shape biological responses and behaviours that impact our overall wellbeing,” says massage therapist Sarah Jane Watson. “Touch brings about feelings of reassurance and safety that were first developed during our infancy, through the loving touch of our mothers.”
What's more, therapeutic touch through massage therapy has a calming and balancing effect of the nervous system. “When you massage the body, the nerves and sensory receptors are stimulated and messages are sent along the nerve pathways via the spinal cord to the brain, affecting the parasympathetic nervous system, which slows down body activity, such as reducing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure,” says Watson.
“Oxytocin is the main hormone and neurotransmitter connected with touch, and research has found that it contributes to levels of relaxation, trust and psychological stability, as well as reducing stress responses such as anxiety.”
Massage and wellbeing— Massage is purported to help with other aspects of our mental health, too—even alleviating mild to moderate depression.
“Research shows that massage therapy is indeed a therapeutic modality,” says massage therapist Carrelyn Gardner. “The science behind massage treatment on our bodies shows that our stress hormone, cortisol—our fight or flight hormone—decreases during treatments, while serotonin—the hormone that affects how we feel—is increased by an average of 28 per cent after massage.”
“This rebalancing of the biochemistry in our bodies during and post massage treatments is how feelings of anxiety, stress and even mild depression can be greatly reduced using this method,” she adds.
Massage and mind-body connection— As well as helping to regulate hormones, Gardner says the unique way in which massage promotes the mind-body connection is also highly beneficial for our mental and emotional wellbeing.
“Massage is invaluable to facilitating reconnection between the mind and body,” she says. “By giving our minds the time to think about only our bodies—every specific area the therapist is working on, from our head to our toes—as well as focusing on our breathing during a treatment, we are able to calm our minds and meet with our inner peace, rebalancing the body’s natural energy flow while feeling completely reconnected with our physical self.”
Massage and sleep quality— If you regularly struggle to get a good night's sleep, you'd be wise to consider massage therapy. “Sleep deprivation can leave you feeling irritable and exhausted, and has been linked to physical problems, such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression,” says Watson. “Massage can directly influence the body's production of serotonin and the creation of melatonin, both of which are needed to promote a good night’s sleep.”
The benefits of improved sleep are tenfold. “Improved sleep is essential to our health as eating, drinking and breathing,” says Watson. “It allows our bodies to repair and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information, as well as playing a significant role in maintaining both physical and mental health.”
H20 = Happiness: People who drink 6 glasses of water daily are more optimistic, successful, energetic
by John Anderer
What’s the key to happiness? A new survey of 2,000 Americans finds the true answer may be staying hydrated. The poll finds those who maintain proper hydration tend to be happier, more successful, and more energetic.
Respondents who drink at least six glasses of water daily (41%) are most likely to agree with the statement, “I’m very happy.” Conversely, only 12 percent of those drinking less than one glass of water per day say the same.
Commissioned by Bosch home appliances, the survey also reports 40 percent of Americans drinking more than six glasses of water consider themselves an optimistic person. Only 10 percent of those drinking less than one cup share the same sentiment.
Hydration also seems to have a big impact on rest and refreshment. People who drink lots of water (6+ cups) only wake up feeling tired 2.59 times per week. Those who drink minimal water wake up feeling exhausted 3.14 times a week. Well hydrated people are also more likely to be successful and least likely to show up late for work. The survey was conducted by OnePoll.
It is not how much we have, but how much
we enjoy, that makes happiness.
— Charles Spurgeon
The content of this article is not designed to replace professional medical advice.
If you’re ill, consult a physician.
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