In today’s blog post, I’m going to tell you all about how receiving a full body Swedish massage can benefit your mood, immune system, and soothe sore muscles from shivering and shoveling this winter season!
I’ve been a Licensed Massage Therapist since 2007, and I can tell you that in the 10 years of being a practicing massage therapist as well as an educator, the benefits of massage make such a huge impact on your health! I believe once you start receiving regular treatments you will wonder why you never incorporated it into your self care routine before!
A relaxing, systemic massage with long, soothing strokes stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system, a function of the autonomic nervous system in which the body’s natural healing mechanisms are activated. This truly is the antidote to stress, as the stress or, fight-or-flight response is stimulated conversely by the sympathetic nervous system. Has your stomach ever started growling 3/4 of the way into a treatment? I actually WAIT to hear that sound in my clients! Don’t be embarrassed! This means that the parasympathetic nervous system has been activated- literally the body goes into rest and digest mode. Digest in this case is not just limited to your GI system where the body assimilates nutrients- it is also a time where your mind and spirit can process and assimilate all that you encounter in your life. Traffic, work stress, family stress, money stress, traumatic events- all of the things that can take a toll on you your body can actually process and integrate during a restful treatment.This is one of the reasons why massage is so healing- it truly is a retreat for all aspects of your being.
Another fantastic function of a full body massage is the manual stimulation of the lymphatic system. If you imagine the lymphatic system within the body, it is essentially a filtration system with no pump! It relies on musculoskeletal movements as well as manual manipulation through massage to move the lymph through the body. Lymph is a fluid that contains white blood cells which helps your body fight off infection and disease. It is a very important function of the immune system! Receiving massage helps with lymph transport and therefore gives your immune system a much needed winter boost!
Having your therapist add essential oils to the massage cream through Aromatherapy is a welcome addition to any effective massage treatment. Some of my favorites for the winter are peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary and bergamot. Peppermint and eucalyptus are stimulating, rosemary is purifying and bergamot is uplifting.
Enjoy your massage (I recommend a treatment length of 80 minutes!), don’t be afraid to tell your therapist to adjust the pressure and drink a warm cup of green or herbal tea after and you will feel like spring is just around the corner! (and guess what?! It is!!!!)