Feeling fatigued? Need more energy? Want to improve your mood? Some recent studies have shown that massage therapy can help reduce the winter blues. The winter blues, better known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a type of depression that occurs during the same time each year, mostly during the fall and winter months. Although Seasonal Affective Disorder is more common where weather is more extreme, it still occurs in places like San Diego. People with Seasonal Affective Disorder report symptoms such as a loss of energy, appetite changes, anxiety, and trouble concentrating. It is estimated that 10-15 million Americans suffer from this each year.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is treatable however and some studies have shown that massage therapy can help diminish symptoms by increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine, the hormones that are responsible elevating mood and improving appetite and sleep. In addition, massage decreases cortisol (the stress hormone) levels which helps alleviate anxiety. One study at the University of Florida by Professor Chris Janiszwewski found that the sense of touch trumps the sense of sight in people suffering from depression. This means that for some individuals, massage therapy may be more beneficial than light therapy to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder, a traditional treatment that uses bright light boxes to improve mood.
A benefit of using massage therapy to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder is that the positive effects of massage can be felt immediately. Massage therapy is a natural treatment, and can be combined with other treatments (such as diet and exercise) to complete a holistic approach. At Happy Head Massage they offer a variety of massages that can be customized to your physical and mental needs. Be sure to make regular appointments to combat the winter blues and elevate your energy levels!