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6 Ways Massage Therapy Can Benefit Your Overall Health and Well-being

6 Ways Massage Therapy Can Benefit Your Overall Health and Well-being

Some people may think of a massage as a simple indulgence, but to some it can be a great tool for overall health and well-being. Massages are known to ease pain and help with inflammation while soothing stress and anxiety. There are many practical benefits to treating your body to a massage. Because persistent tension on the muscles and skeleton can restrict blood flow and nutrients, the connective tissue in the body get denser, and it causes negative effects on posture and breathing. Partaking in a massage will interrupt these stress-inducing patterns and will help the body to return to its natural state of balance.

1. Anxiety Relief

Psychologists have found that on average, those who received a massage had a lower level of anxiety, as opposed to those who did not receive the massage. Though there is very little scientific research supporting this, one of the more popular explanations is that the massage will lower the level of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for the fight or flight response. Massages can help the anxiety associated with traumatic or troubling events, circumstances, or settings.

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2. Lower Back Pain Relief

Up to 85% of young adults experience back pain at some point in their lives. The link between massages and the relief of lower back pain is real. With chronic pain, the alarm your body is sending is malfunctioning. Massages will not totally turn that alarm off, but it will lower the volume of the alarm, figuratively. One well-known explanation of this is the gate-control theory. This is when the body is experiencing pain that travels on small-diameter nerve fibers, sending the signal to the brain quickly. With a massage, larger nerve fibers are stimulated and send the messages to the brain faster. Basically, the feel of the massage overpowers the feel of the pain.

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3. Soothe Tension Headaches

Headaches are caused by tension, and massages are performed to relieve tension. In particular, Thai massages have been known to relieve chronic tension headaches. The massage applies pressure along a specific area using gracious gestures. It is suggested to get a Thai massage two times per week for four weeks to alleviate the issues that are associated with these headaches. The massages are focused on shoulders, the upper back, the area between the neck and shoulders, tips of the shoulders, the back of the head, the middle of the head, and the forehead.

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4. Reduce Symptoms of Depression

Research has shown that subjects that have received a massage had a level of depression that was less than 73% of the subjects that did not. This is right along the lines of conventional treatment of depression. Massages boost the body’s natural serotonin levels. It also encourages the body to release dopamine and oxytocin.

5. Lower Blood Pressure

Massages have been known to reduce blood pressure by significant amounts, but only temporarily. The trigger of the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, helping the body return to a state of biochemical balance and emotional ease after a stressful event.

6. Restore Deep Sleep

About 40-50 million adults suffer from sleep deprivation. This is a problem because it messes with the body’s natural chemistry, making it more vulnerable to lowered immunity, increased inflammation, and increased sensitivity to pain. Research has shown that massages can promote less disturbed sleep, deeper sleep, especially in those that have chronic conditions like fibromyalgia. Massages promote stimulation of the body’s nervous system to rest and relax (opposite of fight or flight), it gives the person a better chance of experiencing deep sleep to restore tissue through the night while allowing the body to cope in the morning.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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