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Anxiety Attacks

How Massage Therapy Can Help Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of seasonal depression. If you have SAD, you’ll normally experience general depression, lack of energy, and irritability during the winter months every year. However, not every person afflicted with SAD experiences symptoms in the winter. Some people have the reverse experience and have symptoms of depression in the spring and summer months. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a sub-set of major depression, and the symptoms can include:

  • Feeling depressed nearly every day
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Changes in eating habits, appetite, or weight
  • Diffculty concentrating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

As you can see, these symptoms range from somewhat annoying to very serious. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, you should tell someone you trust, and get help immediately. However, if you have a more mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, there are many steps that you can take to relieve some of the symptoms. Eating well, getting plenty of exercise, and attending talk therapy can all help you cope with your SAD symptoms.

Massage can also be an important part of managing, and in some cases decreasing your SAD symptoms. Massage is a well-known way to lower anxiety and depression. The simple act of getting a massage can increase the neurotransmitters that work to lower anxiety producing chemicals in your body, as well as decrease the hormones responsible for stimulating your anxiety reactions.

Massage also decreases your heart rate and both your systolic and diastolic blood pressures. This is important because while an elevated blood pressure is a dangerous health condition, it is also a symptom of SAD that can impact your daily well being. An elevated blood pressure can cause you to feel tired, run down, and cause your body to metabolize food in an incomplete way. Improperly digested food means you are not getting all the nutrients you need from your food, no matter how well you’re eating.

Massage offers something that virtually no other therapies for depression offer. It offers the power of human touch. When you receive a massage, your body doesn’t just feel better because the aches and pains are gone, although that is a large part of it. As humans, our bodies need the comforting, restorative touch of another human. When you receive a massage, your body reduces its stress hormones, and your body pumps your system full the happy “love” chemical cocktail that makes us feel so relaxed after a massage appointment.

Don’t forget that your skin is the largest organ on your body. There are nearly 18 square feet of skin on an adult human body! When combined with other relaxing elements, a massage can be practically as effective as a session of psychotherapy. Taking time out for yourself and getting a massage is not a luxury. In many cases, it can be an important complementary treatment to help you get through the “winter blues” and make sure you can face your life head on, no matter what season it is.

Postnatal massage and its benefits

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What is a postnatal massage?

A postnatal massage is a full body massage given to a new mother to help her recover post delivery. After the delivery, a mother’s body goes through a lot of changes. During the first few weeks, the internal scars begin to heal at the site within the uterus where the placenta was attached. This is a gradual process which often results in a mother experiencing mild to severe cramps. Body aches, fatigue and anxiety are common from running around taking care of the baby and adjusting to the new life after the birth.

This is where the postnatal massage help which are given by experienced masseuses for about 40 days post childbirth. It covers your entire body starting from your feet and all the way up to your head. Massage helps you to relax, reduces stress and improves breastfeeding along with other health benefits.

What are the benefits of postnatal massage?

Postnatal massage is a great traditional practice that has been known to be effective for quicker recovery and better health for new mums. There are various benefits attached to this-

Healing from internal wounds

Childbirth can be taxing on a mother’s body. Massage helps in recovering from the sore spots and muscle tensions. It also helps recover from the after effects of a C-section, however, during the initial sessions, the experienced masseuse avoids putting much pressure on the abdomen area. Massage helps in regulating fluid flow in the body. It enhances the lymph circulation and eliminates excessive fluids and waste products.

Increases flow of blood and oxygen to the muscles and eliminate the toxins in the body.

Helps relax

Massage helps release endorphins, body’s natural pain killers and also feel good hormones in the body. It lowers the stress hormones and helps fight anxiety and depression better. According to a study, more than 60% of new mother experience from temporary depression post birth and about 10-15% from serious depression.  A good massage of the lower legs, feet, arms, shoulder and back followed by a head massage have a great soothing effect. An experienced masseuse helps the mother to relax and cope better with the transition to motherhood.

Improves sleep

A new mother undergoes a lot of fatigue post birth and taking care of her new child. The fatigue is more pronounced during the early days of motherhood when she is still adjusting to the changes in her life. The fatigue affects the sleeping habits of the mother. Massage plays a very important role in easing fatigue and thus aiding in better sleep.

Enhances breastfeeding

Massage helps in releasing oxytocin in the body which helps regulate prolactin levels, a lactation hormone. Gentle massage of the chest muscles helps open the blocked ducts, loosen clumps or hardened areas, increases circulation and milk production. Also, it helps relieve breast pain and improves newborn suckling.

When to start with the postnatal massage?

Generally one should begin with the massage session when she feels comfortable. However, it is advised to consult your doctor before you begin. If you had a C-section which is a major surgery, it is advised to let your wounds heal before you begin. It should generally take about a week or two, but your doctor is the one whose advice you should heed to before beginning.

At Squareone Physio, we have an experienced team of therapists who specialize in postnatal massage. If you are a new mother who have just given birth and needs help with massage, please call us on 905-232-2202 to book an appointment or you can also book it online here.

How to handle anxiety attacks

brain-anxiety-attacksAs anyone who suffers from anxiety attacks knows, these attacks can be debilitating. Symptoms include feelings of losing control or “going crazy,” heart palpitations or chest pain, feeling like you are going to pass out, or trouble breathing with a choking sensation. Knowing how to handle anxiety attacks is the first step towards keeping them under control.

The first step is to stop where you are and take some deep, calming breaths to try to relax. Breathe slowly and deeply in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Imagine yourself in a calm place, such as on the beach or in the woods. Say positive things to yourself such as “I can do this” or “I will do my best.”

To help keep anxiety attacks under control, practice daily exercises such as yoga and meditation. Practice envisioning yourself in a calm and centered state of mind and work on deep breathing. That way it will be easier to do so when you feel yourself becoming anxious in any given circumstance.

At Square One Physio, we also provide Yoga. During Yoga, we introduce you to various exercises and activities you can do to reduce anxiety and depression. If you are going through anxiety, talk to us today.

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