Chocolate? Roses? Jewelry? Last minute rush to the store for an over-priced card? Been there, done that! This Valentine’s Day, why not think “outside the box”? Instead of giving another “thing,” consider giving an experience – the gift of touch. Massage makes a great Valentine’s gift, and here are five reasons why:
Work, family and other responsibilities can weigh you down and impair your overall wellness by creating stress in your body and mind. Regular massage reduces feelings of anxiety by calming and soothing the nervous system. Stress hormones like Cortisol, Epinephrine and Norepinephrine are reduced by regular massage.
Massage therapy can improve circulation, flexibility and mobility. It can loosen tight knots in your muscles and enhance post-workout recovery. It has also been shown to reduce lower back pain, neck pain, headaches and seems to be effective in alleviating symptoms associated with conditions like fibromyalgia and arthritis.
Massage can elevate your “feel good” neurotransmitters and hormones. It promotes the release of the neurotransmitter Serotonin which regulates mood, hunger, sleep and contributes to an overall feeling of well-being. It also promotes dopamine which is essential to the reward system in the brain (this is why massage truly can be addictive! ). Oxytocin, the “love” hormone, is released during gentle massage causing feelings of warmth and contentment.
Booking a massage is a great way to show love to yourself. During a massage, you can take a “vacation” from the normal stresses of everyday life and empty your mind while giving yourself over to the care and nurturing of your massage therapist. While self-love may sound, well … selfish, it’s important to remember that you can’t take care of others if you don’t care of yourself.
Massage promotes deep relaxation. It has been found to lower heart rates while having a positive effect on both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Finally, massage therapy loosens tight muscles and pushes blood back towards the heart which eases strain on this life sustaining organ. This year, don’t just focus on the Valentine-greeting card-kind of heart. Consider focusing instead on the real one that beats inside you and the people you love and give a gift that truly says “I care about you” – massage! Check out Cornerstone’s massage specials for the month!