Massage Therapy, Winter, & the Off-season

Fall'10Summer has come to an end and winter is just around the bend. Winter is when I see the most injuries and muscle related complaints. During the winter it is cold outside and potentially icy; we are cold, tense, and our circulation is not great lending to muscle tension and a greater risk of injury. Additionally, winter can be stressful; it involves Holidays, bad weather, multiple family gatherings, travel, and extra expenses.

Massage therapy is an essential component of your health care routine throughout the year, and the winter & off-season are no exception. Let’s take a look at just a few of the reasons why:

Cold, Snow, & Ice! It is now only a matter of time before we, in the Front Range, have our first snowfall of the season. Then it will begin, the driveway shoveling, tense excursions to and from the car, exercising/training indoors & outdoors: skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling in slippery conditions. These are all things that put added stress into our lives, specifically on our musculoskeletal system. Fear no more, for regular massage therapy year-round can help to maintain your muscular flexibility & health, and decrease the chances of injury during the winter.

Winter Sports & Activities Winter sports and activities can be a lot of fun, but there is a definite risk for injury and it is very important that you have a maintenance/massage therapy plan in place to prevent musculotendinous injuries, strains, and sprains from happening. Yet, not all injuries can be prevented, and if you do experience an injury, massage therapy can be a crucial part of your recovery and rehabilitation.RetroGC

Stress Winter can be a time of tremendous stress. Winter brings Holidays, bad weather, multiple family gatherings, travel,  and extra expenses, all things that can cause stress; and let’s not forget that even the things that bring us happiness and joy can also be added stress. Exercise and welcomed life changes are stressful, both mentally and physically. Massage therapy can provide much needed relief, a wonderful place for peace, quite, stillness, healing, and relaxation for the mindbodyspirit.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, winter blues/depression) During the colder months and shorter days, many people suffer from SAD, a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. Most people with SAD have symptoms that start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. There are also those who may not have SAD, yet experience lethargy and feel gloomy during the winter months. Massage therapy can help soothe and relax your nervous system and bring an overall sense of well-being. Massage therapy decreases stress and anxiety levels, and is very effective in uplifting your mood – massage therapy stimulates the brain to produce endorphins.

Cold & Flu Season Winter is typically the season when many people get ill with colds and/or the flu. Massage therapy can boost your immune system and decrease your chances of getting sick; I almost never get sick! This is another great reason to make massage therapy a regular part of your health care routine year-round! After recovering from a cold or flu, getting a massage can be help eliminate toxins from your system – Just a reminder: As a health care practitioner, I ask that you do not come to your session if you are ill, especially if you have a contagious illness. Massage therapy can exacerbate sickness, and if you come to a session ill, it also puts me and other clients at risk for infection.

So there you have it, these are just a few of the many reasons why massage therapy is essential during the winter & off-season (…& year-round). Receiving massage therapy on a regular basis and throughout the year, gives us a chance to boost our immune system, improve athletic performance, prevent injury, promote healing, manage pain, decrease stress, experience quiet, stillness, and promote relaxation. Massage therapy allows the mind to be silent so that the body can heal from the inside out!

I look forward to seeing you this fall & winter for your continued, regular massage therapy care.

Please checkout the convenient online scheduling on the “Book Now” page!!

Be Well,

Maia

Yay, Gift Certificates!

Give the Gift of MASSAGE to Anyone, Anytime – a Gift Everyone Loves!

Perfect for the athlete in your life: massage will keep them going and keep them healthy! Massage supports muscular flexibility, recovery & health, boosts immune function, relieves stress,  and decreases the chances of injury.

Perfect gift for the woman or man who has everything!

A great way to say “thank you”:

  • a gift to your husband, wife, father, mother, brother, sister, friend, etc.
  • host gift

A great way to say “congratulations”

  • new parents gifts
  • engagement gifts
  • wedding gifts
  • housewarming present

Gift certificates are available for purchase with cash or check. Please contact me with the details of where you would like the gift certificate(s) sent or to arrange for pick up. Gift certificates expire one year from the date of purchase and are non-transferable.GiftCert

Stress and the Reproductive System

The reproductive system makes life possible. An individual does not need the system to survive, but the human race does. Without the reproductive system, the human cycle would end. High levels of stress that go untreated can be particularly taxing on the reproductive system.

An overload of stress prevents the release of the ‘master’ hormone that signals a cascade of hormones that direct reproduction and sexual behavior. It also inhibits the testes and ovaries directly, hindering production of the male and female sex hormones testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone.

In men, long-term stress can reduce the number of sperm produced or cause impotence. In women, stress can cause absent or irregular menstrual cycles, and reduce sexual desire.

So what do you say? Let’s keep the human race alive, book a massage session and help relieve the stress in your life.

Stress and the Endocrine System

endocrine_systemThe endo…what? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not what you do when you go over your handlebars. In simplest terms, it is a system of glands, each of which secretes a type of hormone directly into the bloodstream to regulate the body. The endocrine system is in contrast to the exocrine system, which secretes its chemicals using ducts. The endocrine system influences almost every cell, organ, and function in our bodies. It is instrumental in regulating mood, tissue function, metabolism, and reproductive processes to name a few.

So how is this system involved with stress? When the body is stressed, the glands of our endocrine system start to produce stress hormones. These hormones are released into the body and in response, the liver produces glucose, raising our blood sugar and keeping us in our ‘fight or flight’ sympathetic nervous system response when we don’t need to be there. Basically, it inhibits our ability to relax and recover from stress.

The ability to recover from stress and to remove ourselves from stress is very important in overall healthy function of the body.  Our society lends to a life of sympathetic nervous system living and not parasympathetic healing.  As a whole, we need more time in the parasympathetic nervous system response and ‘down time’ is the way to get there.  I’m not talking about down time in front of the television while folding laundry.  I’m referring to meditation, massage, relaxation in nature, sleep – I’m referring to time spent nurturing your soul and rejuvenating your systems.  Time away from a hectic schedule: working, training/exercise (yes, exercise is a form of stress & in moderation can help relieve stress – find balance), giving & caring for others (again, has it’s benefits, but it may take it’s toll if you do not make time to care for yourself) – make time for your healing and recovery.

The Endocrine System

  • Helps the body to restore and heal itself
  • Develops of a restful sleep pattern
  • Promotes appropriate levels of hormones (bringing the immune system back in balance)

Benefits of massage on the Endocrine System

  • increases general circulation in endocrine system and thus helps in transport of hormones
  • indirectly aids immune system, as some hormones produce lymphocytes to aid in immunization
  • normalizes endocrine activity through balancing effect on ANS (autonomic nervous system)
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Stress and the Circulatory System

circulatory systemThe circulatory system comprises the heart, along with all the arteries, veins, capillaries, and blood. These major organs and tissues have a host of responsibilities for keeping the body alive. One of those responsibilities is to move oxgenated blood throughout the body and return deoxygenated blood to the heart and lungs. Oxgenated blood allows all the organs, tissues, and the body as a whole to function normally.

Cardiovascular disease is the general term for diseases of the circulatory system, commonly the heart, arteries and veins. It is believed that the stress hormones make blood thicker and thicker blood clots more easily. Chronic stress could cause blood clots to form within the bloodstream and impact blood getting to and from the heart. This specifically leads to strokes. It is well documented that stress has a substantial affect on the heart – physically, physiologically, and emotionally.

It has been shown that massage will act as a second heart, pumping blood 5 times as fast to the area being worked. Massage has nothing but positive effects on the circulatory system. So please, don’t let your stress go untreated. Massage Therapy can provide the following benefits to your Circulatory System:

  • Increases blood flow (to tissues and organs), which can relieve much muscular and joint pain (especially associated with swelling)
  • Increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients (to cells and tissues), improving and relieving congestion throughout the body
  • Increases the number of red blood cells, especially in cases of anemia
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduces heart rate (helps develop a stronger heart)
  • Elimination of metabolic waste
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