Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: September 2018

End of summer getting you down?

If you're like me, summer always seems to fly by. Before you know it, fall is here and with it comes anxiety over a heavier work load, the stress of entering into a new academic year, or apprehension of cold, gloomy weather. But there's a cure for the autumn blues. Massage therapy can help you transition into a colorful, relaxing season you can enjoy. Here are 7 good reasons to get massage this fall:

Relieve stress: Several studies have shown that massage relaxes the body, decreases the stress hormone, cortisol, and increases production of endorphins that help you feel better.

Combat anxiety and depression: As longer nights and colder weather set in, many people experience anxiety and depression. (Anxiety disorders affect 40 million American adults every year, and an estimated 16.2 million Americans experience major depression at least once in a given year.) Massage can help by releasing serotonin and dopamine, which boost your mood and decrease anxiety. Massage also encourages the flow of oxytocin, a hormone that relaxes muscles and helps you feel calm and content.

Boost immunity: With fall comes cold and flu season. But massage can help you avoid sickness. Massage therapy has been found to increase white blood cell activity, which strengthens the immune system and helps fight off seasonal illnesses.

Improve sleep: Massage helps regulate sleep cycles and induces a deeper, sounder sleep at night. Why is this important? Optimal healing takes place during sleep, when our bodies are at rest. Only during deep sleep do our bodies produce Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which is essential for tissue growth and repair, and immune system support. Getting proper sleep also improves learning and memory, helps you prevent accidents and falls, improves your mood, helps you concentrate, keeps your heart healthy, and decreases stress hormones. (See my article on sleep.)

Reduce neck and back pain: Being stuck inside at your computer for long hours is taxing on both the mind and body. Neck and back pain are extremely common for computer workers - especially those who tend to slouch or have poor ergonomics. A wealth of research shows massage therapy significantly reduces neck and back pain. In addition, massage can improve postural alignment, which can help you reduce or avoid pain. (See great tips on how to optimize your alignment and keep your body pain-free when using computers or hand-held devices.)

Reduce arthritic pain: Colder temperatures can worsen pain and inflammation in those with arthritis. Massage can help reduce this pain by increasing blood flow, releasing tight muscles, triggering the release of opioids in the brain - the body's natural painkillers, promoting general relaxation, and changing the way the brain perceives pain. (Read more on that here.)

Ease pain from wearing summer shoes: Sandals and flip flops, although stylish, make for undesirable ergonomics, often resulting in foot, leg, back, or even neck pain. Let massage therapy alleviate those aches and help to realign the body.

So don't fall into the new season with pain, anxiety, and depression. Book a massage now and welcome in the autumn with a relaxed body and a sound mind.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Indiana Massage College
Matrix Spa & Massage

Self massage and meditation for anxiety and stress relief

Feeling stressed but can't get to your massage right away? Why not try self-massage? Sure, it's not the same as a professional massage, but this video will give you the tools you need to calm yourself down and lower your anxiety in only 15 minutes.

Some anxiety is good. It helps us avoid danger. But chronic anxiety wears us down physically, mentally, and emotionally. We are in a constant state of fight, flight, or freeze. We're so busy, trying to cram as much as we can into as little time as possible. But anxiety gets in the way of productivity, creativity, and happiness.

Taking the time to alleviate anxiety and stress will actually save you time. Not only that, decreasing stress will allow you to enjoy your life, rather than rush through it. Without the weight of anxiety on your shoulders, you'll have more energy and drive to do the things you want to do.

Follow along as I guide you through a meditation and relaxing self massage to help you gain body awareness, release anxiety, and ease the mind. Make this a regular practice. You can start small, with just 10 minutes a day of quiet time to yourself. If you stick with it, you will feel better, think more clearly, and improve your overall health and wellbeing. In addition, you may find yourself more productive, and less busy!

What's new with me ...

Today is Sienna's first day of Kindergarten! Hopefully we remembered all her supplies - the list was so extensive, we had to haul a heavy box to school. I really hope she's having fun!

Jesse, Sienna, and I had a fun weekend in Arlington, VA visiting friends. They have two young children, so Sienna had playmates. But mostly she colored. She's been really into drawing. I think we might have a budding artist! She's a lot like her dad :)

Two weeks ago, I took Sienna to the Children's Museum of Art, where she spent three and a half hours creating multiple projects. We only left because the museum was closing!

I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing Labor Day weekend!

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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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