Dec 2016 17

Massage for the post brexit blues?

By: Dave Wheeler

An article in the New York Times published in the summer reported a large increase in Londoners seeking massage treatment for stress relief following Brexit.

Apparently City workers in the square mile, the political classes from Westminster and the hedge fund managers from Mayfair were all so stressed at the post-referendum financial, political and constitutional uncertainty that they sought refuge in massage to relieve their stress.

The newspaper reported that in one spa, bookings for massage were up by 30% in the weeks following Brexit as what it called "the harried swathes of London professionals" sought respite.

Whatever your views on Brexit, on bankers, or on politicians, there's no doubt that massage can have a really positive effect on stress levels.

The typical "therapeutic" massage that you get at spas can be a great time out, with the pampering and individual attention really helping you to relax.

It's not just this gentle massage that is relaxing though. The "pummellers" such as Thai massage therapists or Sports massage  therapists not only leave you feeling mentally relaxed but also genuinely relax the muscle tissue itself.

I've blogged  before about the physiological effects  of deep tissue massage on the nervous system  which controls the muscles of your body. The real boost to de-stressing that sports massage gives you, though, is in the brain. A deep tissue massage causes the same  level of serotonin (the body's "happy drug") to be released into your brain as a hard gym workout. So after a good massage you come out feeling on a  bit of a high - much as you would after a good workout.

Of course, you might also come out a little beaten up, but that might just be me.

The impact of Brexit on our psychological states may have dwindled, but there's another stressful event just round  the corner. It's always interesting for me to compare month-on-month the reasons that people come to me for treatment. December sees a big drop in the number of people coming for sports related issues, and a corresponding  increase in the number of people who are stressed.

Maybe it's trying to get everything done at work & home in time for Christmas, maybe it's the gift hunting amid the crowds, or maybe it's just the thought of impending family gatherings. Whatever the reason, I tend to do a lot of work on peoples' shoulders and necks at this time of year.

If you're suffering from pre-Christmas (or even post-Brexit) blues and can't get to a massage therapist, here are a few things that you can do to help:

  • Skive. Take a 5 minute break for yourself  each day. Away from work, house, family. Just you. No book. No phone. Just  you. Spend that 5 minutes thinking about your breathing and letting your mind wander.
  • Drop your shoulders. Think about your shoulders as much as possible throughout the day and drop them. They shouldn't be up around your ears.
  • Have a bath. A long hot one. Or go in a hot tub. Or at the very least put a hot water bottle at the top of your back between your shoulder blades.


As ever, if you think I can help, give me a call.