Why a Massage is the Perfect Gift for the Holidays 

We all know how the holiday season goes. You go from your busy, stressful work life to a fast-paced, crazy, over-booked (dare I say, stressful) holiday break and then back again. Carols are a-singin’, presents are a-wrappin’ and before you know it you’re back in your desk like nothing ever happened. The holidays can be fun-filled, exciting, whirlwinds of ribbon and eggnog but is it really giving you everything you need if you go back to work more tired than you left?

So here’s my idea, it’s a crazy one, so bear with me. What if, maybe just this one season, we take some time to relax and enjoy the holiday break. What if, maybe just this one season, we give ourselves the gift of time and decompress. 

Cue: Massage Therapy. I know there’s a lot to squeeze in- presents to buy, family to see, dinners to attend but trust me when I tell you, a massage is the perfect gift for this season. Either for you or for your loved ones, you will not regret it. And I’ll tell you why. 

1. Stress Relief 

Stress, in today’s society, is unavoidable. That’s not news to anybody at this point. Talk to anyone who missed their alarm this morning, forgot to pack a lunch, hit all red lights on their way to work, or got yelled at by their boss. And some days, that’s all before 9 a.m.  

However, our bodies are designed to manage stress. In bite-sized pieces. So since we live in a world where sometimes our bodies feel more like they are chewing on a Big Mac’s worth of stress, we could use a little extra help. Massage Therapy can help increase the capacity for your body to manage the stress that you have and lower stress levels in the future. Massage has been shown to reduce cortisol by up to 30%.  In addition to this, our body’s levels of serotonin simultaneously increases (this helps you feel good and manage pain better). So while you are relaxing on the massage table your body is slowly chewing on that Big Mac worth of stress, and releasing it, so you don’t have to deal with it. 

2. Boosts Immunity

Nothing says winter in Canada liking fighting off the cold and flu season. Especially around the holidays when stress levels are sky-rocketing. So once you’ve FINALLY had a chance to calm down, you get hit with a big whopping cold. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Research has found that massage can actually help your body increase your number of lymphocytes (white blood cells). These guys help your body to fight off bacteria and infection. So you can focus on enjoying time with family and friends without worrying about that holiday hangover cold.

3. Alleviates Digestive Discomfort (who wants that second-helping of stuffing?) 

Part of the beauty of the holiday season is all the deliciousness you get to stuff your face with. Unfortunately, more and more people are suffering from some form or another of digestive disorder. Whether it be food sensitivities, IBS, celiac, or heart burn. It has been reported that approximately 20 million Canadians are affected every year with a digestive disorder. Obviously I’m not telling you massage is the cure-all to your gastro-intestinal concerns. However, I am going to tell you that stress plays a large role in our bodies capacity to digest adequately. If we’re stressed, we stop digesting. Our body feels as though there are more important things to worry about at that current moment then digesting the sandwich you just ate for lunch. So when you give yourself a chance to switch into your parasympathetic nervous system, to rest and digest, in complement with the lower cortisol levels that we know massage helps with, your digestion becomes a lot smoother and more complete. So you can make it through all the feasts of the holidays without compromising your gut health. 

4. Better Sleep 

Ahhhh sleep. How beautiful and elusive you are. In between all that excitement and travel for the holidays, you have to squeeze in a little shut-eye, right? Well that sleep doesn’t do a whole lot for you if it’s not as restful as it should be. Multiple studies have shown that massage is beneficial in improving sleep allowing for deeper and better quality sleep. The release of serotonin, which we previously spoke about, allows for the release of melatonin and that’s the little chemical your brain releases when it’s trying to snooze. It might seem like there’s a little overlap here but trust me, it all works together. Less stress=better digestion=better sleep=healthier you! 

If this isn’t enough to convince you that you and everyone you know should be getting a massage for the holidays, I don’t know what will. Trust me, it’ll feel amazing, your body will thank you for it, and so will all of your friends. It’s a win, win, win. 


REFERENCES:

1. https://mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/can-massage-relieve-symptoms-of-depression-anxiety-and-stress

2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908094809.htm

3. https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/digestive-disorders-cost-canadians-18-billion-annually-in-health-care-andlost-productivity-study-finds-538836181.html

4. https://www.amtamassage.org/approved_position_statements/Massage-Therapy-Can-Help-Improve-Sleep.html

Photo by Monika Stawowy on Unsplash