Mental Health and Massage

We’ve talked before about how massage can improve your mental health, but only in conjunction with other topics. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s talk about mental health and massage.

 

Depression and anxiety, clinically diagnosed or the amount most people deal with everyday, can make many situations debilitating: social gatherings, new jobs or job interviews, even checking your email or social media. Depending on the severity of your depression, anxiety, or other mental health situation, massage has the power to help you.

Depression and anxiety are not the only forms of mental health, although they are probably the two biggest and the two to which everyone can relate. Mental health includes bipolar disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There’s ADHD, addictions, eating disorders, panic disorders, phobias, OCD, schizophrenia and more. The most damaging result of a mental health issue is suicide. For more information on any of these and more, click here. While a massage might not return someone to their happiest state, while even if you get massage, you will still deal with your situation. You have to consistently work on things to keep going.

 

Physical touch in general can be deeply beneficial for those struggling with their own personal demons. “A review of more than a dozen massage studies conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine concludes that massage therapy relieves depression and anxiety by affecting the body’s biochemistry.” (Prevention) In that same article, that study showed that massage with over 500 people decreased cortisol levels by up to 53%! That’s amazing!

 

Cortisol is your stress hormone, and if you suffer from anxiety, you know that cortisol sets off your anxiety. If you have depression, you know that more stress, aka high cortisol, can send you into a deeper depression. High cortisol levels equals more stress, which leads to more imbalances, exacerbating any illness, disease, or dis-ease we might already have. Stress shows you where your weaknesses are, whether it’s a previous injury, nerve damage, or a psychological imbalance. Even the most balanced person will suffer from depression, stress, anxiety, and many other imbalances.

 

Massage and other types of bodywork, like acupuncture, aromatherapy, yoga, and reiki, have had a positive impact on many mental health issues. Ultimately, you have to figure out what works best for you. If you would like to know options of other types of alternative healthcare for your situation, please let us know.

 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Even if you’re feeling depressed or anxious, even if you feel like you have nothing to offer another, you do! Send someone a text saying how much they mean to you. Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while and see how they’re doing. Smile at someone you’re walking by in the grocery store. Hold the door open for someone, even if they don’t have a disability or have their hands full. And if you’re doing all of that and want to do more, or if you feel like you need help with your own situation, visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net. You can also visit the Colorado specific website for more local help.You can find all sorts of resources and get involved and get help.

Disc – O – Tech

It’s been a theme recently that I’ve been working with a lot of people with disc issues. Serious disc issues. When you have a disc issue, it can cause pain, stiffness, even numbness and tingling. If you’ve experienced disc dysfunction, you know how agonizing and painful and relentless it really is.

 

A disc is the spongy donut, essentially, found between each vertebra. This provides not only a cushion between each spinal bone, but also a larger opening for your spinal cord nerves to come out and provide that neurological stimulation for your body. These discs are important and necessary. They also receive almost no blood. Blood is what keeps everything new, fresh, and healthy. Your discs pump water with the movements you do with your spine, so movement is insanely important for disc health.

 

Picture found on wikipedia

The construction of the vertebra-disc-vertebra has almost no horizontal movement for fear of the disc slipping. Two of the most common types of disc slippage are a bulge and a herniation. Each one of these cause tremendous amounts of pain, but not all require surgery.

Randy A. Shelerud, MD stated on WebMD:

“A bulging disk extends outside the space it should normally occupy. The bulge typically affects a large portion of the disk, so it may look a little like a hamburger that’s too big for its bun. The part of the disk that’s bulging is typically the tough outer layer of cartilage. Bulging usually is considered part of the normal aging process of the disk.

 

“A herniated disk, on the other hand, results when a crack in the tough outer layer of cartilage allows some of the softer inner cartilage to protrude out of the disk. Herniated disks are also called ruptured disks or slipped disks.”

 

While surgery for a bulging disc is rare, surgery for a herniation still isn’t 100%. Each of these have the ability to heal with regularalternative therapies, such as massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, and physical therapy. So many discs have the power to heal without surgery if just given the right opportunity. It takes consistency and a team of well trained professionals who are all working for the same goal.

 

Surgery is not the only answer for many herniations, but there is a time and place for it. Oftentimes, after a back surgery for a disc issue, many patients have to do the same physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic care anyway to gain the healing it needs. So unless your doctor really advises you otherwise, try alternative therapies first. I am not saying that if your doctor has suggested surgery to ignore it. Please do not read this and disregard what your doctor has said. It is important to listen to your doctor. Most importantly, have patience. It takes time to heal.

Stay Healthy, Stay Happy

It might seem like this is a little preemptive, but fall is almost upon us. School is starting soon, and back to school always seems to be a time when people start getting sick. The sooner you start strengthening your immune system, the less likely you will get sick.


Strengthening your immune system is something we all should consistently try to accomplish. Here are some great tips:

  • Stay active! Your lymphatic system does not have a pump like your circulatory system does. It’s “pump” is your skeletal muscles. When school starts and fall comes, we tend to move a little less, creating stagnation to our immune systems. So keep pumping that lymph! The Thrive! Wellness Center just launched the Thrive! Yoga program. Check out the flier for more information. If you don’t have much time, bouncing on your toes for a little is a great way to keep that lymph pumping. If you can, stay active outside–the vitamin D from the sun will also aid in your prevention efforts.
  • Get enough sleep! Our bodies do the most healing and regeneration when we are sleeping. If our sleep is off, either restless or limited, our bodies become more susceptible to illness. Preventing illness is not the only reason to get enough sleep. Weight loss and metabolism, memory and learning abilities, safety, mood, and cardiovascular health as well as disease prevention are the main reasons the Harvard Medical School says that sleep is important.
  • Eat well! What we put in our bodies is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle. If you change your diet to all of the sweet goodness that fall offers, your body becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Here is a great article that talks about sugar and what you can do to avoid it. You can also make sure you’re eating some foods that are more vitamin D rich. Here is an article with the top 10 highest vitamin D foods. If you need further help with your diet, visit Enlightenment Nutrition Consulting.
  • Thieves Essential Oil Blend! I’ve talked about Thieves oil before, but I can’t say it enough–it helps keep you healthy! It fights off anything that is incubating in your body in the most gentle, natural way possible.
  • Get a massage! Or other bodywork. The same principle applies to getting a massage as staying active–your lymph system does not have a pump, and a massage helps to pump your lymph. Massage,acupuncturechiropractic, and the like all help boost your immune system. One of the great things about a massage is that you pump your immune system while you are relaxing, which is another great way to help your body heal and fight off infections.
If you follow these tips, I’m sure you will stay happy and healthy this season.