Do you suffer from the winter blues? Me too! This time of year many people experience many different symptoms: trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, lack of energy, lack of interest in things you normally like, overeating, craving sweets and carbohydrates, depression, irritability, anti-social tendencies and a weakened immune system. The thought to curl up in a ball and wait for spring often occurs to me! Commonly referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), many of these symptoms can be due to an imbalance in the body as exposure to sunlight decreases, affecting hormonal changes in the body. Not to mention the holidays can also be really tough for a million different reasons!
Unfortunately, most of us lead very busy lives that don’t allow much time for hibernation. So what can we do instead? Try getting regular Massage or Reiki treatments! One thing I love about these types of treatments is they don’t require much effort on my part. Once the appointment is made, I just need to show up and climb onto a table. From that point on, I can relax and let the therapist do all the work.
What are the Benefits? Massage releases endorphins, which creates a euphoric feeling and fights depression. It also lowers the recipient’s blood pressure, improves circulation, positively stimulates the nerve endings, removes toxins and improves energy and concentration. (Massage is also beneficial in relieving back pain, headaches, PMS, respiratory issues and boosting the immune system – and many other things). The Mayo Clinic mentions massage as an alternative mind-body therapy that may help relieve symptoms of SAD. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/alternative-medicine/con-20021047 ). The National University of Health Services also promotes massage as an effective treatment (http://www.nuhs.edu/news/2015/1/massage-can-help-those-with-seasonal-affective-disorder-(sad)/ ).
Reiki is known to help reduce pain, alleviate anxiety and calm depression symptoms. It reduces our feelings of stress and it produces a deep feeling of calm by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. In a study, according to the US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health, Reiki significantly reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety both immediately after treatment and 5 weeks post-treatment. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3660126/ For further reading on the topic, Psych Central offers this in depth article with several references: http://psychcentral.com/lib/reiki-healing-and-mental-health-what-the-research-shows/
How often should I get Massage or Reiki? The positive effects of massage treatments can be felt immediately, but for long-term effects it is advised to receive between two and four treatments a month during fall and winter seasons. You will experience less intense symptoms and will regain a more positive and healthy perspective on life. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t able to have the recommended number of treatments. Do what works for your budget and schedule. Doing some is better than none at all. To help with costs, Green Lotus offers a 3 pack of sessions which reduces the per session price.
Some other things we can do to prevent the winter blues are: eat a balanced, healthy diet, drink plenty of water, have a regular exercise routine, and be sure to get our faces in the sun whenever it decides to show up (in moderation, of course)!
Namaste and Be Well!