06 Feb Calm and Soothe the Nervous System during the Cold Days of Winter
This time of year is especially hard on the nervous system. The dry, cold weather can increase anxiety, promote insomnia, and generally wear us down.
Massage is one wonderful way to support the body and mind through this challenging season.
Most people know massage reduces tension in the muscles. But the time honoured treatment goes beyond the muscles to help regulate the nervous system by balancing neurotransmitters and reducing cortisol levels.
When in balance, neurotransmitters allow us to focus, heal, restore, rest and respond appropriately to situations.
Neurotransmitters are part of the mind and body’s communication network. These chemicals secreted by the nervous system help the body and mind communicate. Neurotransmitters play a role in all body functions and affect mood.
Ever wonder why receiving a massage feels good? Massage elevates levels of dopamine, which increases feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.
Dopamine helps us feel happy, focused, and motivated. Decreased levels of dopamine often result in difficulties concentrating or following through on tasks, and can lead to depression.
Massage also elevates serotonin levels. Serotonin regulates mood by calming the nervous system. It regulates cravings, sleep cycles, and digestion. Serotonin helps us rest, relax, and restore.
Massage releases our bodies’ natural pain killer: endorphins. Besides reducing pain, endorphins create a feeling of euphoria.
Massage lowers cortisol levels. Cortisol, although not a neurotransmitter, is a hormone secreted by the nervous system in response to stress. When stress is chronic, and cortisol levels remain high, it suppresses the immune system, makes us age faster, and increases weight gain.
Most of the research on the physiological effects of massage therapy has focused on chair massage, Swedish massage, and deep tissue massage. It has been shown that the positive effects like increased alertness and productivity begin after just fifteen minutes of chair massage. Longer treatments with Swedish or deep tissue techniques have more relaxing effects, like improved sleep, immune function, and instilling a sense of well-being.
We offer many types of massage therapy at Jasmine Day Spa, including chair, Swedish, and deep tissue. For clients who find heat relaxing, we incorporate heated stones and steamed Thai herbal compresses.
We also offer Ayurvedic treatments, traditional body treatments from India, which focus less on the muscles and more on the nervous system. Ayurvedic treatments use lots of warm oil to nourish the skin, which calms the nervous system. This style of massage uses rhythmic strokes with the intention of creating balance in the body and mind by customizing the treatment according to the client’s state of being at the time of treatment.
If your body is feeling worn down by winter, massage can help you rest, and restore by bringing balance to your body and mind.