Massage for Mental Health
The past several months have been unforgettable even if most of us would rather forget them. The impact of the COVID 19 pandemic is immeasurable – we can see how it’s devastating lives and economies, and we have a sense of the toll its taking on our mental health, but the true depths of loss we are living through is less tangible. As our governments and health officials make difficult decisions to manage the pandemic, many of us are left struggling to cope. Nevertheless, self-care is never more important, so let’s look at some strategies that can help you stay well mentally and physically.
Adapt your Routines
Many of our usual strategies may not be available to us, so we need to adapt. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are not alone in this struggle. Accept that given the stresses imposed on us in this new world, we are not going to perform in our usual ways. Then take some time to find ways to create space for yourself. Nature walks, a relaxing bath, a conversation with a friend, or a nutritious meal are simple activities that can feed your mind and body so you find more peace. Making a change to your usual routines can be difficult, so it’s important to know that it’s ok to take it slowly. Can you find 5 minutes for meditation? Can you turn off the news and pick up a book? Can you sip a warm cup of tea and appreciate the now? Small, sustainable changes grow over time and can contribute to your long-term well-being.
Utilize your Resources – Massage for Mental Health
There’s no question that the way we spend our time has been significantly affected by pandemic guidelines and health orders. It may be difficult to see how our resources have shifted, but they have. For example, what you spend on entertainment is likely a fraction of what you spent a year ago. Likewise, the time you have to dedicate to self-care has also probably increased as competing priorities have been eliminated. How can you use these new resources to develop self-care routines?
You may have never considered regular massage treatments before, but now is a great time to realize their benefits. Registered massage therapists (RMTs) are highly trained health professionals who can help you mange stress, anxiety, sadness and other psychological symptoms. There is a wealth of evidence that massage therapy can enhance mood and reduce anxiety through a variety of mechanisms including changes in brain activity, decreases in cortisol in your blood, and activation of the parasympathetic nervous system.
Additionally, massage therapy may stimulate the immune response which may also mitigate the long-term effects of stress on your physical health. Left untreated, anxiety and poorly managed stress can contribute to chronic illness. Stress ultimately triggers the same pathways as the fight-or-flight response which is a sympathetic nervous system response. Utilizing massage therapy to activate the parasympathetic nervous system takes your body out of that stress response and allows your mind and body to recover. In fact, the majority of evidence for the benefits of massage therapy relate to its impact on mental well-being.
Our RMTs at Lonsdale Wellness are poised to help our clients navigate health from a holistic approach. Though we are well-trained in treating physical injuries, the techniques and approaches employed by our RMTs are also effective for maintaining total body health – including better mental health.