19/01/16 16:16 Filed in: Advice
January is the time of year when we are most susceptible to illness - not surprising really, given that December's the season for socialising and partying, hugging and kissing everyone (even people you wouldn't normally be that close to) work colleagues, distant relatives ..... all in warm stuffy places.
Then consider how compromised your immune system is, thanks to all the late nights, the sky-high sugar and alcohol intake over the festive period, and it's really not surprising that there are so many cold and flu viruses doing the rounds.
Many people turn to a drastic detox as the answer, and although there's nothing wrong with that in principle, aggressive detoxing can lead to all sorts of problems as your body tries to deal with a sudden overwhelming build-up of the bad stuff in order to help you expel it.
Instead of putting themselves and their bodies through all that, more and more people are having massage as a preventative treatment because of its profound effect on the immune system. Massage has been shown to increase the number of lymphocytes (white blood cells) which play a crucial role in helping your body to resist disease and infection, and it also reduces the levels of cytokines, molecules which cause inflammation and which in turn can lead to cardiovascular disease and depression.
The other important thing to note here is that massage is recommended not as an occasional treat (though that's always welcome) but as something you have regularly, before you feel unwell. In other words, it's preventative, rather than curative.
Finally, it's important to use massage as part of a wider wellness regime, so also consider the following:
* Wash your hands regularly and use an antibacterial gel or hand wash; lavender or tea tree oil used on the hands can also help. Paper money can hold the 'flu virus for an astonishing 17 days
* Take vitamin C every day - at least 1000 mg with zinc to support the immune system
* Several drops of Echinacea in a glass of water sipped regularly when you've been in contact with anybody displaying symptoms can really help protect you, if you are beginning to come come down with something it can reverse or lessen your symptoms
* Try burning essential oil of lemongrass to purify the air
* Avoid sugary food and alcohol as much as possible.
* Try and eat as healthily as you can. Include smoothies made from berries, wheatgrass and coconut milk and home-made soups from fresh vegetables like beetroot and ginger and chilli.
* Open windows daily, even just for a few minutes to clear the air
* Wrap up warm and take a walk
In conjunction with regular massage, these simple steps can really make a difference to your well-being, especially at this time of the year.