You’ve probably heard that researchers from the National institute of Health have proclaimed that you can get real health benefits from just one massage. Specifically, whether you receive a deep tissue massage or one with a lighter touch, your stress hormone levels go down and your white blood cell count goes up. It’s an easy word to overlook, but these were not small changes, they were “significant,” which is an important distinction in scientific data. Reduced stress allows the body’s “rest and digest” reactions to ease digestion, promote better sleep, and take the strain off your circulatory system. Increasing the number of white blood cells boosts your immunity, giving added protection against colds, viruses, and infections. It shouldn’t be surprising that study after study continues to find massage is a pleasant way to increase your health, although all this good news does add up!
Sound sleep is an important part of good health. Some would argue it’s the most important component. If you suffer from chronic poor sleep, it’s found to have a cumulative effect effecting your heart, digestion, immunity, and memory. Here are a few tips from Dr. Mercola for helping you get to sleep and stay asleep.
- Keep the lighting as low as possible
- Keep the temperature in your room below 70 degrees
- Move your clock away from easy viewing
- Don’t watch TV in bed
- Read or listen to soothing CDs
- Avoid caffeine
- Exercise regularly
Don’t forget, massage can help establish healthy sleep patterns in your body. To learn more, visit http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/02/secrets-to-a-good-night-sleep.aspx
Did you know that muscle soreness can be decreased by what you eat? A recent study shows that ginger root eaten raw or cooked can decrease pain significantly. Ginger is a funny-looking bumpy root available in most common supermarkets in the produce section. You can just peel it and use it any way you like. It’s commonly used to flavor stir-fry dishes, soups, and desserts. I’ve even started adding it to juice. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties which help deaden pain and ease sore muscles. It also happens to be terrific for your digestive system, so you feel better and are actually healthier overall. Now, most over-the-counter pain relievers can’t even come close to that!
Everyone knows that massage is good for your muscles, but it helps many other areas of your body. Massage also helps your nervous system, providing stimulus to the rest and digest aspect of your nerves. And what about that nickname of rest and digest? We can all guess that massage promotes rest in the short term, and also better sleep patterns which help you rest in the long term. Massage also helps your digestive system in two important ways. It stimulates the production of hormones that calm your fight or flight symptoms, allowing more circulation and efficiency to return to the vital organs. It also works directly on soothing the muscles of the digestive tract which push food along and allow for nutrients to be absorbed.
This is one reason massage is a benefit for anyone with chronic conditions that may lead to insomnia or sleep disturbances such as cancer, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac, apnea, and acid reflux.
You’ve heard many times now that you’re supposed to drink water after a massage to flush out toxins. You may be wondering, just what is a toxin? The best analogy I have is that toxins are like dust bunnies. Dust bunnies are made up of all sorts of things and hide out in areas where the air and brooms aren’t circulating enough to get rid of them from the room. Your cells hold onto toxins mostly because there isn’t enough blood circulating in to clean them out. Massage increases blood circulation which can help clean the toxins out from your cells. If you drink water, it helps your blood circulate more efficiently so that those toxins are flushed right out of your body instead of being deposited under the bed of another cell.
Need to know more about toxins? As it turns out, some of them can be toxic if allowed to stay in your body. Deb Dittner, nurse practitioner and more right here at 550 Maple Avenue, defines toxins and offers many ways to get rid of them. Check out her latest article from the Saratogian: