How to Incorporate Massage into Your Home and Office Routine to Improve Mental Health
This week marks the annual National Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 6-12), which is dedicated to spreading awareness and understanding mental illness across the country through support, education, and advocacy.
Michelle Ebbin, massage therapy expert and author of The Touch Remedy, believes that holistic practices like massage can play a larger role in helping people keep their mental health in check. According to American Massage Therapy Association, a review of more than a dozen studies concluded that massage therapy helps relieve depression and anxiety by affecting the body’s biochemistry, and it also promotes better sleep.
“Massage has been scientifically proven to lower the stress hormone cortisol while increasing the release of feel-good hormones (endorphins) in the body,” says Ebbin. “Massage is an excellent way to relieve stress, anxiety, tension, worry, and even depression, and it can be easily incorporated into one’s wellness regimen at home and work.”
Ebbin’s Tips for Maintaining Mental Health at Home and at Work:
Ebbin recommends getting a massage on a monthly basis so that you’re not bearing loads of stress and tension that gets unintentionally released in your interactions with partners or family members. There are many different types of massage, such as Swedish, deep tissue, sports, reflexology, and assisted stretching, which can suit your desired level of intensity and address specific needs.
Massage can be combined with other holistic practices like yoga, meditation, and ongoing exercise to relax the body and mind. On-demand services like Soothe deliver the massage therapist directly to your home, office, or hotel room with as little as 60 minutes advance notice, which makes it convenient so that you don’t have to drive anywhere.
Many employees experience work overload or workplace burnout, so having a workplace benefit such as a weekly chair massage or assisted stretching can really chance an employee’s outlook for the rest of the day or even the entire week. A 10 to 15-minute massage can make a world of difference in stress levels, and massage is a great way to start the week because it improves mental clarity, focus, and boosts energy levels.
Alternatively, if workplace massage is not an employee benefit and you don’t have the budget for a regular massage, you can always buy a simple self-massage tool for less than $30 to massage tense neck, shoulder, and forearm muscles, which work extra hard when you sit at the computer for extended periods. Ebbin recommends using the self-massage tool for 5 to 10 minutes during your breaks.
You can also buy small ‘tune up’ balls for use at home, which you can roll your back, neck, shoulders, and legs into to loosen stiffness and tightness. Ebbin recommends doing this for 10 to 15 minutes daily, in addition to doing deep bends where you fold over at your hips and allow the upper body to hang like a ‘rag doll’ to release back and back tension.
[Images courtesy of Soothe]
Kamala Kirk is a University of Southern California graduate and has been an editor/writer for more than a decade. She has written for E! Online, Total Beauty, TravelAge West, Malibu Times Magazine, and many more. She resides in Los Angeles and is a proud pug mom. Follow her on Instagram: @kamalakirk