Sure, it feels fabulous. But a great massage can improve your mood, posture, energy level and just about everything else you need to get through the season. Here are all the excuses you need to go lie down in a quiet room just as soon as you can.
Cheery holiday greetings aside, this time of year can leave us frazzled, exhausted and looking and feeling anything but festive. To the rescue: Mind, mood and body healing massage. A thorough, expertly administered massage is not just a sybaritic indulgence, but a wellness enhancer that can improve the way you look, feel and function during the holidays.
So rather than thinking of massages as a splurge-y indulgence to give as a gift, think of it as the missing piece in your wellness regimen—the one addition that could deliver physical and mental benefits without asking anything of you but time. Here, a few reasons (if you need them) from local experts Marcia Cotner and Vycki Goldberg, both owners of Massage Envy spas in Louisville, for making time for massage during a time of year when you need it most.
LOWER YOUR STRESS LEVEL
There are physiological changes that occur in the aftermath of a massage. “Massage lowers the heart rate and blood pressure, making people feel calmer.” Says Cotner. “It also increases the production of endorphins - your body's natural feel-good chemical.”
At the same time, it stops the “fight or flight” response that our body experiences during periods of stress—reducing our production of cortisol, and potentially a long list of physical symptoms including headaches, digestive issues, and insomnia. In other words, it can eliminate the vicious circle of stress and stress symptoms that can wreak havoc with your holiday schedule.
INCREASE YOUR ENERGY
“Massage creates better circulation which increases the flow of oxygen,” says Cotner. The reduction of muscle tension and tight posture also promotes deeper breathing rather than short, shallow breaths. When your respiratory system is functioning properly, you feel energized and calm and able to conquer that escalating to-do list. Similarly, when your muscles are loose and relaxed, rather than clenched or tightened in a constant state of tension, you expend less energy which means you have more of it to devote to the enjoyable aspects of life, like wrapping presents and hosting the next big family gathering.
IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE
That hunched over, tense posture we tend to adopt when we’re truly immersed in stress is not only unattractive, it’s bad for your health. When you slouch, you increase back and neck tension, weaken muscles and strain others and create pressure on your internal organs which can affect digestion.
Massage—especially regular massage— can loosen your tightened muscles and stressed joints, allowing them to elongate and return to their natural, healthful position. You’ll experience fewer aches and pains, feel less tension and look better. Cotner was fortunate to be able to see these kinds of results in her own father. “In his massage session, he would be standing up straighter, he could walk better and he was smiling,” she says. “It wasn’t a permanent fix, but for a few days after he felt better and it definitely helped his attitude too.” (All the more reason to make time for regular appointments to keep the benefits going.)
Standing properly will make a difference in the dressing room too. With your shoulders back and lowered and your hips aligned so your stomach isn’t pushed forward, you’d be amazed at how much better that cocktail dress will look.
RELAX! WHERE TO GO TO DESTRESS
We’ve made this part easy for you. Here’s a short list of Massage Envy locations where you can go to reduce your anxiety and start truly experiencing the joy of the season.
4600 Shelbyville Road
12911 Shelbyville Road
3563 Springhurst Blvd. Suite 29
1025 Veterans Parkway