According to Psychology Today, around 10 million Americans are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder with another 10-20% who are suspected to be mildly affected by seasonal change, “Winter Blues”, but do not seek treatment.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a major depressive disorder that has a seasonal pattern. The change from long, warm, bright, sunny days to less daylight and colder temperatures can easily affect anyone’s mood; making them feel more lethargic or unmotivated. For those with SAD, the change in the environment has a larger impact, leading to feelings of depression, hypersomnia, and anxiety in addition to lethargy.
Massage Therapy To Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder & Improve Mood
Studies have shown that getting a regular massage can help improve a person’s mood, encourage relaxation of the body and mind, stimulates healthy circulation and blood pressure, and promotes healthy sleep patterns and energy levels.
Studies have also suggested that massage might help with depression and relaxation of mind.
- According to a 2010 meta-analysis of 17 clinical trials, massage therapy can help reduce feelings and symptoms of depression.
- In 2010, an NCCIH-supported clinical trial reported that for generalized anxiety disorder, the effects of massage therapy can be as beneficial as meditating in a relaxing environment.
- Another 2012 NCCIH-funded clinical trial concluded that a 12-week massage session paired with brief yoga sessions twice-a-week showed a decrease in depression, anxiety, back, and leg pain.
When you receive a massage from a professional massage therapist, not a friend or family member, you can help to ensure that the right environment is present to promote the relaxation your mind is craving. In addition, with professional massage movements the tightness in your muscles is alleviated with minimal soreness afterwards. While massages are ideal for relaxation, many recipients of a massage report a higher level of energy. With their mind relaxed and their body is no longer stiff or in pain, they feel like they can finally take on new tasks.
Add in the warmth of the spa (literally and metaphorically) and the general mood of an individual with Seasonal Affective Disorder can greatly improve. With SAD, many avoid social interaction, so cutting out a block of time to interact with another person can go a long way in helping minimize symptoms of the disorder—without the weight most social interactions and gatherings bring since clients are not required to talk to their massage therapist. They can simple lay there in comfort, enjoy a massage and the presence of another person.