Massage Can Even Help Your Depression! The Health Benefits of Massage

20140121-210417.jpgFirst a link: 10 Ways to Cheer Yourself Up on a Blue Monday. (click)

Did you know? Massage is a healthy, drug-free system for controlling the symptoms of SAD. (What is SAD you ask? Click to find out more about Seasonal Depression.)
20140121-210326.jpgReduces:
•depression
•stress
•anxiety

Improves:
•circulation
•sleep
•energy levels
•concentration
•immunity
•general sense of wellbeing
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Massage helps both the body and mind leave the “fight or flight” part of your nervous system.

Massage releases and increases endorphins (the body’s natural anti-depressant), which creates a euphoric feeling and fights depression.

You naturally move into your parasympathetic nervous system: your natural relaxation response.
20140121-211730.jpgMassage also helps balance your endocrine system, which is responsible for the release of hormones.

Massage is an ideal method for increasing serotonin levels.

Serotonin plays a role in mood, behavior, body temperature, physical coordination, appetite and sleep. (Serotonin is connected with melatonin and the pineal gland.)

The positive effects of massage treatments can be felt immediately, but for long-term effects it is advised to receive between two and four treatments a month during fall and winter seasons.

By receiving regular massages, (at least two a month), you will experience less intense SAD symptoms.

Finding a supportive massage therapist who makes you feel comfortable can also help your mood.
20140121-211536.jpgDo you live in Staunton, Virginia?

I have a massage special for anyone battling SAD:

**Schedule as many 30-min massages as you can in February and March for only $140.**

All you have to do is set up the appointments and show up!

If you are crushed by this winter weather, sign up for depression-control and positive vibes.
20140121-211627.jpgIf you're in a bad mood and have no motivation, massage will make you feel so much better.

((Trust me: I am a SAD sufferer, myself, and massage’s serotonin boost is miraculous.))

The faster you sign up, the more massages you can schedule!
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Space is limited!
Contact me via email @JoyBoardman@gmail.com.

Joy Boardman

Massage Therapist and Collage Art Therapist

Planet Joy: Otherworldly Massages for Women, Planet-Friendly Collages for Everyone

Find me here:

[PlanetJoy’s Blog]

[PlanetJoy’s Etsy Shop]

[PlanetJoy on Facebook]

[PlanetJoy on Pinterest]

Seasonal Depression, The Pineal Gland, and Activating the Seventh (Crown) Chakra

20140118-183815.jpgKeep your faith. You will make it through the crisis. You are strong enough.

The 7th chakra is what is impacted when we are at a crossroads in life.

Opening the 7th chakra can help you deal with depression.
20140118-183910.jpgSeventh Chakra AKA the crown chakra

In Sanskrit: Sahasrara, or “Thousandfold”

Color: Violet / White

Location: Top of the head or crown of the head
20140118-183940.jpgGoverns:
Endocrine Gland: Pineal

Considered to be the seat of the soul by French philosopher, Rene Descartes.

The pineal gland produces melatonin and regulates our internal “body clock”.

see how the pineal gland is related to Seasonal Depression here (click)

The Crown chakra is the control centre of the chakra system. The pineal gland is the control centre for the effective functioning of our physical, emotion, and mental selves.

Also governs:

Body parts: top center of skull, cerebral cortex, skin20140118-184012.jpgPurposes& Lesson:

*Connection to one’s spirituality, Faith, Enlightenment

*Self-Realization, Awareness

*Fulfillment, Wholeness, Purpose

*Living in the NOW, Presence

*Reprogramming dysfunctional patterns of thought and behaviour

*Selflessness, humanitarianism
20140118-193121.jpgBlocked 7th Chakra:
•Lack of purpose or meaning

•Loss of identity

Depression

•confusion

•swaying from one idea to the next

•Lack of faith and courage

•unwilling to grow and change

20140118-183834.jpgThe best physical exercise to do for tapping into your 7th chakra is to simply meditate.

Meditation Exercise:

Meditate on a regular basis – 5 to 10 minutes a day.

Meditation can be as simple as sitting quietly reflecting on your breath. Simply observe the different states of the mind and thoughts that arise. Continue to bring the focus back to the present moment.

You can also meditate by journaling, or even walking in nature.

However you decide to meditate is up to you. There is no right or wrong way to do it. The essence of meditation is to get you connected back with yourself so that you can connect back with the world.
20140118-183949.jpg
Questions for Reflection:

*What activities fuel your sense of connec­tion to something larger than yourself?

*What are some ways in which you cultivate and strengthen the seventh chakra?

* Do you retread familiar thought and behaviour patterns?

* Does your personal identification begin and end with job or economic status?

*List words describing the essential you. Add to the list daily

* Is there an issue in your life which you are battling to control through sheer willpower?

Practice letting go of your desired outcome. Take a deep breath and tell yourself, “I trust that the outcome will be for my highest good, no matter what it may be.” Then let go.
20140118-183804.jpgAffirmation or Mantra for meditation:
*I receive the un­limited abundance of the universe.

*Everything I need to know is re­vealed to me at the appropriate time.

*I am open-minded.

*My beliefs are non-violent.

* I am starting to accept myself as I am, with love and gratitude.

* I am a unique, radiant, loving being.

* I choose to live my life from a place of love and contentment.

* I choose to transform my life and become free.

* I release all limited thoughts and lift myself up to ever higher levels of awareness.

* I am who I am and I glory in that.

20140118-183958.jpgGemstones:
Amber, Diamond, Moldavite, Amethyst, Clear quartz

Aromatherapy:
Lavender, Frankincense, Rosewood, Cinnamon, Clove and Peppermint.
more aromatherapy for the crown chakra (click)
20140118-183823.jpgYoga:
Connect with higher Self, balance energy of lower and upper chakras.

The Lotus or Half Lotus pose helps you to go inward and connect with your wisdom and inner knowing.

The Headstand is an advanced pose and it nourishes the Crown chakra by drawing blood to the head.

Fish pose opens up the entire region of the heart. The chest is fully stretched (the dorsal especially). The neck and throat are stretched.

The Corpse pose challenges you to be still in the present moment.

More poses to try:
Mountain Pose, Tree Pose, Backbend, Sun Salutation, Squat, Shoulder Stand, Cobra, Child’s Pose
20140118-183739.jpg
3 Great yoga classes for crown chakra:
yoga for the crown chakra #1 (click for video)

more yoga for the crown chakra #2 (click for video)

Melissa West yoga for crown chakra #3 (click for video)20140118-193115.jpg
Related Foods and Plants:
Blackberries
Dark Blue Grapes
Garlic
Also: fasting. 20140118-183847.jpgRelated Herbs:
Gotu Kola
Nutmeg
20140118-183930.jpg

More info on the seventh chakra:

crown chakra guide (click)

Activating the crown chakra (click)

initiating the crown chakra (click)

how to open the crown chakra (click)
20140118-183921.jpgAdditional yoga for seventh chakra:
yoga for seventh chakra (click)

yoga for the crown chakra (click)

Remember: Activating your seventh chakra can help with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Let me know how it helps you! Enjoy!!

Joy Boardman

Massage Therapist and Collage Art Therapist

Planet Joy: Otherworldly Massages for Women, Planet-Friendly Collages for Everyone

Find me here:

[PlanetJoy’s Blog]

[PlanetJoy’s Etsy Shop]

[PlanetJoy on Facebook]

[PlanetJoy on Pinterest]

Yoga and Nutrition: Conquering Seasonal Depression (SAD)

20140111-175504.jpgSeasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression arising from the limited exposure to sunlight in the winter (shorter days).
20140111-175511.jpgSeasonal affective disorder affects over ten million people in the United States each year. The average age of onset for SAD is 23 years old and is twice as prevalent in females as males.
20140111-175528.jpgSYMPTOMS:
•irritability

•headaches

•extreme fatigue and lethargy
(in low light the pineal gland constantly produces melatonin and a sleepy state is induced)

•increased appetite

•carbohydrate cravings

•an inability to concentrate

•decreased libido

•Weight gain

•Avoiding social interaction (withdrawal)20140111-175521.jpg((It is the long duration of the symptoms that distinguish SAD from the so-called holiday blues.))
20140111-175542.jpgIn Autumn and winter (the yin cycle) there is a tendency towards isolation, sadness, and grieving.

For those people whose constitution is more yin in nature due to gender, genetics (over 50% of people who suffer from SAD have at least one first degree relative who has suffered from major depression), environment, and lifestyle, these feelings may be even more pronounced.
20140111-175535.jpg
Undue physical, mental, or emotional stress, a lack of sleep, and poor nutrition will only deplete the body’s energy further and increase the chances of experiencing not only depressed mood, but depressed immunity.20140111-180617.jpgWHAT CAN I DO?

LIGHT
Light therapy is recommended by doctors for winter time blues. Exposure to artificial light may cause headache, Irritability,Eye strain, Inability to sleep and fatigue.

Exposure to sunlight, or if sunlight is not available, sitting near fireplace is the remedy suggested in Ayurveda.

Also: For five minutes each morning stare at and reflect on the color gold. The vibration of the color is similar to natural light and can build stability, as its hue is a balance between fire and earth.20140111-181924.jpg
EXERCISE

MOVE!!!! Exercise plays a MAJOR role in the treatment of depression. It stimulates circulation and releases serotonins in the brain, the hormones that encourage contentment and an all around feeling of happiness. It is nature’s best tranquilizer.

Exercise also gives a feeling of accomplishment and thus reduces the sense of helplessness. Some form of active exercise (even dancing to your favorite music), should be undertaken each day at a regular hour. 30 -40 minutes is your goal.
20140111-181933.jpg
YOGA
The first thing a depressed person stops doing is moving. Regular exercise becomes intolerable. But Yoga exercise, starting with as few as three poses a day in just a few minutes’ time, coupled with correct breath patterns, can become so pleasant to you that soon you will want to do more and more.

Practicing yoga before dawn, in a warm place free of drafts, perhaps by the light of a few candles, can be a gentle way to start the day.

Getting out of bed on a dark, gray winter morning and stepping on a yoga mat is a triumph. Practicing will increase energy, boost mood, and motivate the you to stay out of bed and avoid napping.

Yoga practice also helps keep the pineal gland active longer to produce melatonin in a regulated fashion, normalize the sleep-eat-wake cycle, and eradicate SAD. 20140111-181526.jpgASANAS
Inversions (Stimulate the seventh chakra. Lift attitude, sooth anxiety associated with SAD, stabilize mood. Physically counteracts the slumped shoulders and droopy head associated with depression and stimulates neurotransmitters to release non- epinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin to boost the mood.)
•shoulder stand
•headstand
•handstand

Sun salutations (help to regulate the endocrine system)

Back bends (energizing and uplifting and can be used to help overcome the lethargy associated with SAD & also stimulate the fourth chakra (the heart chakra) This can help with the feelings of hopelessness associated with SAD.)

Spinal twists (release tension in the liver and spleen and sequencing twisting postures can help students release negative or distorted feelings.)

Boat and Warrior (help boost low self-esteem)
Mountain Pose, Chair Pose, and Tree Pose (for inner strength)

((Find more great yoga poses for depression here.))

PRANAYAMA
Emphasize exhalation. Try gently breathing in through the nostrils deep into the belly while mentally counting. Then, exhale and see if you can draw the breath out longer without forcing, to twice the count of the inhalation.

Kapalabhati (breath of fire): This pranayama technique brings light to the front region of the brain and creates a feeling of exhilaration. It creates heat, energizes the mind, and balances and strengthens the nervous system. 20140111-181940.jpg
SUPPLEMENTS:
20140111-180835.jpgVITAMIN D
Vitamin D is actually a hormone, needs UV B sun exposure in order to be processed in the body
Some studies suggest that as many as 7 out of 10 Americans don’t get enough of this “sunshine vitamin”—particularly during winter.
Need 2000 IU
Food sources include cod, salmon, sardines, herring and fortified cereals and milks.
((Tanning beds provide some UVB exposure and can increase vitamin D levels, but these put you at increased risk for skin cancer.))20140111-180843.jpg

OMEGA-3s
Some results suggest that SAD is less common in those who consume more omega-3 fatty acids, such as Icelandic people, who eat plenty of coldwater fish. Oddly enough, people in Iceland appear to be resistant to SAD.

Because our bodies cannot make these essential omega-3 fatty acids, we’ve got to eat them.

Oily, fatty fish (mackerel, herring, salmon, sardines, anchovies) are the best sources of omega-3s because they contain the “more potent” forms of omega-3s

VITAMIN B
vitamin B complex, 100 mgs 3 times daily (Vitamin B deficiency is often a physical cause of depression.)
Plus extra Vitamin B 5, 500 mgs daily (the most potent anti-stress vitamin)
•B-vitamins:
seaweeds (nori, hijiki, and wakame), asparagus, broccoli, bananas, brown rice and figs, whole grains, green veggies, eggs, fish

OTHER HELPFUL VITAMINS
•Vitamin C, 2,000-10,000 mgs daily in divided doses.
•Potassium 80 mgs
•Calcium 1,500-2,000 mgs daily
•Omega-3 oils (flax oil and fish oils):
flax seeds, salmon, sardines, dark green vegetables and walnuts
•magnesium (1,000 mgs per day): ((if you crave carbs, especially chocolate, you may be deficient in magnesium—a mineral involved in the synthesis of serotonin))
quinoa, Brazil nuts, peas, lentils, halibut and spinach.

HERBS
Triphala to support elimination of excess dosha and gently cleanse the colon.
((About 70 percent of the production of serotonin occurs in the digestive tract, so when the digestion is not optimal, it can result in lower production of serotonin.))
Phosphorus is a good choice if you feel worse on cloudy days
Rhus tox relieves the stiffness often provoked by rain.

WHAT SHOULD I EAT?
In the winter it is natural to crave those foods that provide a quick source of energy and that are high in calories since extra energy can be stored as fat in the body to help keep the body warm. 20140111-181246.jpgEat wisely. This means eating sensible, complex carbs to stimulate serotonin. Eating wisely also means watching the caffeine, which suppresses serotonin. If you must drink coffee, save it for after you eat.

Make dinner your main carbohydrate-containing meal because evening is usually the time when the symptoms of SAD are at their strongest.

DO NOT over eat.

PROTEINS:
healthy protein sources(at least 3x per day &always pair them with each carbohydrate serving):
•nuts
•Peanut butter
•seeds- pumpkin seeds
•dairy- cottage cheese
•organic meats
•eggs
•lentils

COMPLEX CARBS:
•fruits- apricots gradually raises serotonin levels and helps keep them there, as do apples (with milk and honey!), pears, grapes, plums, grapefruits and oranges.
•grains-Basmati rice. (The sugar in this rice is slow to release into the bloodstream, which helps blood sugar levels stay constant instead of going through highs and lows.) Other foods with a similar effect on blood sugar are rye bread and pasta.
•Cereals-unsweetened muesli, shredded wheat, and bran flakes are slow to release sugar into the bloodstream, which helps raise serotonin levels.
•oatmeal
•vegetables- 4 cups of brightly colored veggies every day
•Popcorn
•pretzels
•low-fat biscotti
•potatoes

ALSO:
•soup and stew
•sprouts
Add turmeric, garlic, ginger, black pepper, cloves and basil to your foods.
((A few helpful meals you can make when you’re SAD.))

DRINKS:
•mint tea
•Blanch 5-7 rosemary leaves in a boiling cup of water, add honey, wait 3 minutes and drink.
•Add some fresh Rose petals to a cup of boiling water. Add sugar and drink whenever feeling depressed.
•Water is essential in any healing process. Distilled water is the best. 6-8 eight ounces glasses per day.

THINGS TO AVOID:
Carbohydrate cravings can contribute to and aggravate feelings of depression by altering blood sugar levels. Drastic changes in blood sugar can lead to weight gain, which is a side effect of SAD.

DO NOT EAT:
white flours
sugars
coffee
alcohol
(try eliminating all white, starchy foods for two weeks — bread, rice, potatoes. You will be amazed at how good you feel but you need to stick to it to see a difference.)
Limit cold drinks and raw vegetables.
20140111-181342.jpgADDITIONAL TIPS FOR DEALING WITH SAD:
Since our body must already use a lot of energy in the winter to fend off the wind and cold, it is natural to feel more lethargic and emotionally and physically sensitive to our surroundings at this time.

•Allow yourself to rest more.
•Think positive, happy thoughts.
•Try not to worry or be fearful.
•Conserve your energy.
•Practice quiet, yin activities like restorative yoga, Tai Chi, qigong, walking or journaling.
•Rebuild your energy to prepare for spring.
•We have a very primal need to see living, verdant foliage: without it, we feel lost, sad, and hopeless. Go on a shopping spree and find some bright, colorful plants to fill your home.
•Communicate openly with those close to you so that you can nourish your personal relationships
•Enjoy any activity that brings “fire” to your life.
•Encourage the cultivation of joy in your life.
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COOL, HELPFUL LINKS:
•I am in love with this UK depression-awareness bakery and their melancholy sweet treats.
Banish winter blues naturally.
8 fun strategies to reduce SAD.
A naturopathic view of SAD.
A completely excellent yoga guide for SAD.
•BRILLIANT. A playlist of happy songs for handling SAD20140111-181736.jpg

Joy Boardman

Massage Therapist and Collage Art Therapist

Planet Joy: Otherworldly Massages for Women, Planet-Friendly Collages for Everyone

Find me here:

[PlanetJoy’s Blog]

[PlanetJoy’s Etsy Shop]

[PlanetJoy on Facebook]

[PlanetJoy on Pinterest]