As the temperatures start to drop and we begin trying to acclimatize to the cold, our bodies shift in how they hold themselves posturally and start to manage the change in climate by keeping warmth to the core.
How does this affect your body and what can you do to mitigate the results of these changes?
Here are just some of the changes the body can experience with cold temperatures:
- Muscles tighten up to constrict blood vessels in the arms, neck and shoulders. This is thought to be a reaction to decrease heat loss from the limbs and body periphery, enabling body core temperature to be maintained to vital organs.
- Lengthy periods of muscles being held in a shortened, tight state can increase our perception of pain.
- Feelings of anxiety and fear can be enhanced in cold weather which leads to increased negative nervous system responses and sometimes increased anxiety.
- Discomfort and pain in the neck and shoulders are often related to poor posture (when we hunch and try to stay warm) when temperatures drop.
- It is common to do the following in cold weather: Lift and hold your shoulders tightly. Round your mid-back by slouching. Poke your chin forward. This change in posture can lead to pain and long term postural issues.
- Discomfort in cold weather can also stop us from moving as often and as well as we should be doing daily, which generates joint stiffness with decreased muscle flexibility.
- Cold weather also leads to dry itchy skin which can keep us uncomfortable.
Here’s 5 key ways Massage Therapy helps:
1. Helps Boost Your Immune System
Winter can mean colds & flu galore but massage can help your body fight these by boosting your immune system! This is accomplished by using massage to increase the lymphatic flow in the body. Loaded with lots of white blood cells, the lymphatic system then can function better to help fight illness in the body.
2. Improves Circulation
Your circulation may need a little help if your hands and feet are always chilly or if you’re having some aches and pains in the colder weather. Regular massage can help by enhancing blood flow and body warmth, which in turn increases the flow of oxygen around the body.
3. Helps Banish The Winter Blahs
Massage encourages positive changes in the endocrine system where hormones are created. These changes decrease cortisol levels (stress related hormone) & increase oxytocin levels (happy hormone) leading to the release of serotonin and endorphins, relieving the stress and enhancing your mood. Bye, bye winter blahs!
The build up to the holidays and the mental and physical drain it can take on our bodies, not to mention the low after its all over can add extra stress in to our lives! The dull weather doesn’t help…. Taking some time out for a massage can really help aide your well-being & help to reset the balance in your life by helping with the release of stress. It will also help to improve your sleep to give you more energy during the busy winter months.
5. Keeps us moving without injury!
With winter comes snow and ice and these 2 things can have a major effect on our movement whether because we aren’t staying as active as we usually would with the colder temps, or because of injury with added things like: snow shovelling or winter sports that our bodies haven’t been used to doing! Massage Therapy can work to alleviate sore, aching muscles or help speed recovery from injury or just keep our already active selves moving at their best! Muscles and joints respond differently in colder temps and we tend to guard our bodies in case of black ice/slippery snow and this can have an effect on our posture and gait…. Massage can help keep you moving!
Did you know? As the humidity drops in winter the cold, dry air makes the water in your skin evaporate quicker, making your skin drier. The oils and lotions used in massage contain lots of vitamins to nourish & hydrate your skin – making you feel better on the inside & out!
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