Whether you believe winter starts the second water freezes or more officially on December 21, we can all agree the changing of the seasons can create moodiness. Believed to be related to the decrease in sunlight and amount of chemicals our brains release with the change in seasons, Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD for short) – which is also known as Winter Blues – is a real thing. Check out this guide for some additional information about SADs, and how you may be able to find an effective Seasonal Affective Disorder treatment through massage therapy.

Don’t be fooled – SAD can hit you at any time of year, but seems to be especially prominent during the colder months. As I mentioned, the chemicals your brain releases can change during seasonal changes. Your brain creates all different types of chemicals, one of them being serotonin (which can be tied to sunlight). When the sun isn’t out as long, your brain creates less serotonin, which gives you motivation, energy, etc. It’s also a mood regulator, so when there isn’t as much produced, it can lead to feelings that are similar to depression or fatigue. Other symptoms include wanting to sleep or eat more, and lethargy. Not only that, but if you already have other types of mood disorders, this can cause an even greater effect.

Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatment through Massage Therapy

While some may find they are prescribed medication for these times to help fight imbalances, there is actually another great alternative – you can find Seasonal Affective Disorder treatment through massage therapy! We already know that massage has a lot of great benefits to your health – but now you can add this to your list.

Those with SAD generally have higher levels of anxiety, increased symptoms of depression and can see a lack of sleep. This can lead to soreness and increased cortisol levels. Massage can help create Seasonal Affective Disorder treatment by activating neurotransmitters that lower those stress hormones. It can also lower heart rate and improve blood pressure. This can help you feel more calm, as well as more energetic. Massage also offers a gentle touch, which can give you a sense of comfort you may have not felt you were getting.

Remember how earlier I mentioned your moods can be affected by SAD? Another major thing that can be affected is your circadian rhythm – that little internal clock that keeps you awake and helps you sleep. Find yourself tossing and turning? You can help regulate your circadian rhythm by getting a massage – which helps relax sore muscles, ease the mind and make your day a little better through self care. All of those factors can be beneficial when it comes to getting adequate sleep and keeping your circadian rhythm on track, despite the change in sunlight, hormones, etc.

Other Ways to Combat SAD

Additional ways to fight off the effects of SAD include developing an exercise routine (ideally one that includes some sort of cardio as well as weight training). Making sure you’re getting enough sleep and exposing yourself to as much natural sunlight as possible, even as little as 30 minutes, could be beneficial too.

Post written by FFC Boystown massage therapist Ariel Leonard.

About Ariel

Ariel is a massage therapist at FFC Boystown; she graduated from the Cortiva Institute and specializes in a mix between deep tissue, sports and relaxation massage, as well as prenatal massage and a number of other modalities. She likes helping people fell better about themselves, whether it be helping overcome mental or physical stress. She always prioritizes listening to and taking care of her clients and always makes sure to share some type of valuable information they can put into practice.

Want to set up a complimentary consultation with Ariel? Email her at aleonard@ffc.com!