“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Yet for many people, it’s also the most stressful. Between shopping, financial pressures, ads and commercials everywhere you look, bake more, give more, spend more – it all equals lots of stress and anxiety that we don’t deal with the rest of the year.

As you’re trying to enjoy the season and get that to-do list done, there’s just one more thing you should add to that already-full to-do list:  GET A MASSAGE.

Can Massage Actually Help Counteract Holiday Stress?

There are numerous benefits to getting a massage, and it’s well documented that therapeutic massage can reduce the stress hormones ravaging your body. A massage sends forth a little army of endorphins that can boost your mood without the use of chemicals. These three endorphins get released when you get a massage:

Dopamine: Low levels of dopamine in your body can lead to self-doubt as well as a general lack of enthusiasm. If you feel like you just can’t get

into the holiday spirit, there could be a reason for it – stress. A little dopamine boost can turn things around so you’ll feel more confident and enjoy life more.

Serotonin: Lack of sufficient serotonin causes all kinds of ills, physical and mental. Low seratonin levels can produce depression and feelings of loneliness or isolation.

Oxytocin: Ah, that feel-good hormone – this is the one that encourages peacefulness and feelings of trust.

Stress rears its ugly head in our bodies, in addition to mental and emotional issues. Physical manifestations include things like headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances (nausea, diarrhea or constipation), increased blood pressure, and pains in varioially your neck. Did you know that those experiencing high stress tend to tighten up back and shoulders involuntarily? That can lead to neck and back pain – and that’s also where massage therapy has been shown to be beneficial.

And massage can help you sleep better, so your body and your mind are better able to cope with the demands of the season.

Stress accounts for over three-fourths of doctor visits, so if this holiday season you want to skip the medical appointments, schedule one with your massage therapist instead. Make it a point to enjoy this holiday season – make it a point to get a massage this month!