Winter has arrived. The temperature outside is dropping fast and our poor bodies find it hard to cope with these conditions. The winter weather can have some negative impacts on our body, but luckily, there are positive solutions to prevent the harsh winter conditions leaving us feeling cold and miserable.

Did you know that massage therapy has some incredible benefits to fight the winter bitterness?! It increases and strengthens our immune system, increases our psychological wellness, protects our skin and increases blood pressure and circulation!!

Our body contains Lymphocytes, more commonly known as White Blood Cells (WBC). These Lymphocytes are one of the main lines of defence protecting us from disease. Generally, the human body contains around 4,000 – 10,000 WBC per cubic millimetre….in other words….around 100 billion WBC are produced in our bodies per day! Studies have shown that after receiving a massage, a person’s WBC count had increased! This means that there is a stronger line of defence in your body ready to fight whatever nasty bugs the winter air brings.

Not only do massages impact cells, they also impact hormones in our bodies. Having a massage lowers Cytokine levels. Cytokine are molecules that play a role in inflammation. High levels of inflammation can be found in conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease and depression. By lowering the Cytokine levels in inflammation, it therefore decreases the risk of these conditions presenting themselves. Massages also decrease the level of Cortisol, a hormone that is primarily related to stress, and also Vasopressin, a hormone believed to play a role in aggressive behaviour. Both stress and aggression are common during Winter as there are fewer things to do to distract ourselves during the rainy season, so by lowering the hormones that bring on these feelings, we are putting ourselves in a more positive, beneficial , healthy place.

Lastly, in regards to our immune system, massages increase lymph flow. Lymph is the fluid that flows through the lymphatic system; a system that returns fluid from the tissues in our body to the central circulation. This lymph flow fights off infection and bacteria, therefore increasing our chances of staying healthy during the cold weather.

Moving on to our emotional and psychological wellness! We need to take care of ourselves in order to stay healthy and stress free. Winter is such a dreary time of year, and having a massage is a wonderful way of cheering ourselves up; like taking a mini vacation from our regular everyday routine. By treating yourself to some relaxation time, a massage can increase serotonin and dopamine production which will then reduce anxiety, depression and seasonal affective disorder….and it increases your chances in forgetting it is almost zero degrees outside!

It can be difficult to maintain a positive mood when it is miserable outside, a task that is even more difficult if you don’t feel good physically. The dry wintery air, blistering winds and blazing heater inside can dry out your skin very quickly. Massage therapy is proven to improve skin hydration! Oils and lotions used in massage contain healthy amounts of Vitamin E, which your skin will absorb better through the circulatory motions done during the massage. This will leave your skin feeling nourished, hydrated and look flawless. However, not only does winter affect your skin, it can leave your muscles feeling cold, numb and tired. Deep tissue massages can decrease inflammation and help repair damaged muscles, particularly in your lower back, shoulders and forearms.

Last on the list is circulation and blood pressure. Cold temperatures can cause the blood vessels in our bodies to constrict. This decreases blood circulation in our bodies and increases our blood pressure. A decrease in blood circulation increases the feeling of discomfort, achiness, any pains we may have and also increases arthritis. Having regular massages enhances blood flow, naturally lowering blood pressure, increasing body temperature, and improving overall body function!

Overall, there are so many wonderful benefits to have a massage during the winter time; both internally and externally. Plus, there really isn’t a whole lot to do during winter so why not treat yourself to something that will be extremely beneficial to your health and wellbeing!

Written by:

Ashleigh Simmonds

Remedial Therapist