Fall usually sounds like the perfect time to relax a bit after an action-packed summer, but achy joints and cranky muscles may be keeping you from enjoying yourself fully.
Here are six unexpected reasons you need a massage this fall.
- You’ve been super active
Summer sports and activities like running, swimming, hiking, kayaking and even the family road trip can do a number on your body.
Though frequent exercise is great for your health and helps keep you flexible, it can also lead to dehydration and improper positioning (think about that overly aggressive swing when you shanked your golf ball into the pond).
After a summer season of activity, it’s important to help your body recover well before temperatures drop and joint pain can increase.
- You’ve traveled long hours
You’ve probably heard “sitting is the new smoking.” The fact is that while traveling can expand your mind, it can limit your range of motion and mobility for extended periods of time. Sitting on planes and in cars for hours on end without proper posture results in neck and back strain.
Pro tip: sit back in all of your seats to utilize the lumbar support provided and keep neck and shoulders erect and pulled back slightly to avoid the hunch.
- Summer sandals have been your style staple
Sure, summer is the perfect time for flip flops, but too often we’re walking for long periods of time without proper support. Sandals, flip flops and flats often allow for unfavorable ergonomics and can result in back pain.
- You’ve been gardening
Everyone loves a vine-ripened tomato or homegrown cucumbers. Undfortunately gardening often requires squatting and bending over, which puts stress on your back, knees, wrists and more.
Massage can decrease pain in these areas by dampening proteins known as inflammatory cytokines, which cause inflammation and pain. Massage has been proven to help in the geriatric community especially, with benefits like decreased blood pressure, joint pain relief and stress reduction.
- You suffer from seasonal depression
The summer sun can often help those with seasonal depression, but there may be anxiety about the upcoming change to winter. If, like many Americans, you suffer from seasonal depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), regular massage can help.
Integrative medical teams have said that massage can be likened to the effects of psychotherapy and also increases neurotransmitters that lower anxiety. Additionally, it can decrease your heart rate to put you more at ease.
- You’ve been getting poor sleep
It’s no mystery; with longer days comes shorter nights. Many people find it difficult to get their recommended 8-9 hours of sleep each and every night in the summer. Massage is proven to improve sleep and increase serotonin levels according to a study on back pain from the International Journal of Neuroscience.
Too often we look at massage as a luxury or frivolous expense and ignore the powerful benefits it can have on our bodies and minds. If you’ve had a long (& hopefully fun) summer, take some time to properly recover.
Fall is the perfect time to take care of yourself and to renew your energy. What better place than on your massage professional’s table?