It’s that time of year again. Time for sneezing, headaches, congestion and days spent in bed feeling sorry for yourself. Winter is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?
We Australians are fortunate that our island nation has relatively balmy winters for the most part. Home-grown ski towns are few and far between. Our snow is more like a dusting of icing sugar than a coat of cream cheese frosting. But that doesn’t mean our skin is impenetrable to the cold – oh no.
We get sick of winter, and winter makes us sick. Germs spread, and since we’re a generous bunch, we tend to share them around. The train, the office, and even your favourite cafe, become a warzone. Nowhere is safe and everybody is a target. The sniffles, a sore throat, a dry cough or a constant, nagging headache are just some of the things we have to look forward to.
Or do we?
It doesn’t have to be this way. Turns out there are definitely things we can do to boost our immunity. There are all the usual mantras, of course. Eat a vegetable, take your vitamin, drink the water. Exercise lots, buy a humidifier, get in the bathtub. Meditate, think happy thoughts, have a good sleep pattern. Lock your doors, shut your windows. Don’t leave the house – in fact, just straight up hibernate. Wait out the germ storm – who needs fresh air anyway?
We’re kidding. Fresh air is another mantra, and you should definitely be getting that.
Truth be told, we already know how to look after ourselves. Yet even when we’re doing everything right and our wellness routine is perfected and we think we are a pillar of health, we get sick.
So finally, we found an alternative immunity-boosting mantra. This one has been scientifically proven, too.
“A Massage To Boost Immunity”
Massage can boost your immunity, and it can be a pretty significant boost. It does this in a few different ways, and we’re going to lay them all out for you.
1. Stress makes you sick.
You can check out this comprehensive study to review the relationship between massage and stress for yourself, but here’s a summary. Without getting too technical, negative feelings are the result of negative chemicals in the body. This means that when we feel stressed, overwhelmed or anxious, our body produces chemicals that either keep us feeling this way, or make us feel worse.
Massage therapy combats this by increasing feel-good chemicals in the body. As tension is released from our body, our mind is able to relax, calm down and let go. Since stress compromises our immune system, letting go of stress strengthens it. Therefore, massage has the capacity to boost immunity by directly affect the body’s chemical makeup.
2. Circulation is key.
The circulatory system is responsible for the transportation of oxygenated blood around the body. It’s also responsible for filtering and removing waste products. Our circulatory system is critical to our immunity as it is home to our white blood cells, called leukocytes. Though these superstars only comprise about 1% of our blood, they contain all the necessary weapons for fighting sickness and diseases.
Massage stimulates a healthy circulatory system by encouraging the flow of blood towards the heart. Some massage therapies are more focused on this than others, such as lymphatic drainage. A healthy circulatory system makes for a stronger immune system. You can read more about white blood cells in detail here.
3. Tailored to you.
There are many different kinds of massage therapy, and each sets out to accomplish something different. A Swedish massage is an indulgent remedy for stress, whereas a deep tissue massage targets stubborn aches and pains. Different people have different needs, which is why specialised therapies such as pregnancy massage and sports massage also exist. We are constantly expanding our modalities to keep up with the needs of everyone – because every person deserves to feel their best.
An aromatherapy massage incorporates essential oils into your regular session. Essential oils are a great way to detoxify, calm down, and relieve congestion in the body. This add-on is especially valuable during the colder months as our immune systems begin battling harder. Oils like eucalyptus, frankincense, lemon and lemongrass, peppermint and tea tree oil are all fantastic for immunity. Essential oils have different properties: they can be anti-bacterial, soothe inflammation, reduce fever and congestion, boost circulation. All of these factors assist in improving immunity.
The Immunity Challenge
At the end of the day, we only have one body. Taking care of it can be a challenge, and we can’t always control what we are exposed to. Taking care of yourself in winter is beneficial for everyone: healthy people make more healthy people. Staying on top of your health is as easy as developing a core wellness routine. This should always involve a healthy diet (yeah, we said this already), drinking enough water (yeah, that one, too) and exercise (yes, even when it’s chilly).
This is the basic trifecta for good health. Everything else that comes after this, whether it be investing in a humidifier, stocking up on vitamins, or even including an immunity-boosting massage into your routine, will help out. A strong wellness routine is easy to curate and essential during the changing seasons.
Looking after yourself means you’ll be looking after your family, friends, coworkers, and everyone else around you. Stay well this winter. Cook a new soup, like this one. Brew one of these teas. Wash your sheets, switch on the diffuser, eat some spinach. Top it all off with a massage – soothe the body, soothe the mind.