Offered in work environments, clinics, malls, airports, and of course spas, the art of massage has taken the world by storm. But did you know that research shows massages can literally de-stress you and make you look younger? Regarded as the “number-one stress reliever” by celebrity massage therapist Dr. Dot, studies throughout the years have found massage therapy to reduce heart rate, cortisone levels and blood pressure while also bettering sleep quality and reducing migraine headaches.
In a study conducted by Tiffany Field, et al., the results showed a bevy of positive effects of massage therapy including decreased levels of cortisol and increased levels of serotonin and dopamine, suggesting relaxation in the brain and better sleep quality. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine studied the impact of massage therapy on the body, as well, and resulted in stellar findings. Analyses of individuals who were given a massage two times per week for five weeks revealed an increase in frontal delta wave power (suggesting relaxation), decreased frontal alpha and beta wave power (suggesting enhanced alertness), increased speed and accuracy on math computations, lowered anxiety levels and decreased stress scores.
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According to Kristi Dickinson, director of Spa and Fitness at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, managing stress is critical to maintaining a youthful appearance for several reasons. “When we are stressed, our bodies initiate an inflammatory response. The less time we spend in the parasympathetic state, the less time we have for cellular regeneration and proper digestion. When our digestion is sluggish, we fail to absorb and utilize nutrients needed for essential life processes and that healthy skin glow, lush hair and beautiful nails.”
While stress seems bad enough on its own, it also ages us—and not only emotionally—by shortening our telomeres (stretches of DNA at the ends of chromosomes, which allow cells to divide), which, according to Dickinson, is associated with aging and cancer. Even the anticipation of stress has been found to accelerate cellular aging, resulting in an older appearance. Additionally, individuals with high levels of cortisol almost always look older than they really are. An article in the Los Angeles Times explains that researchers estimate that each micromole per liter of cortisol ages an individual by approximately half a year.
For an enhanced de-stressing experience, look for a spa that offers color therapy, a treatment with a range of benefits from relaxing muscles and stimulating nerve transmission to stimulating the production of collagen. EAU Spa in Palm Beach allows you to pick the color you would like to surround yourself with while receiving a massage or any treatment to enhance your experience. Here’s a quick guide to color therapy before you book an appointment:
- Blue: This peaceful hue has been found to calm restlessness and pain while instilling a truly tranquil mood.
- Red: Red has been shown to restore depleted energy while also jumpstarting the nervous and circulatory systems.
- Orange: Said to eliminate fat, orange can also be used to relieve nervous tension and arthritis with its vitalizing radiance that has also been found to calm fear.
- Yellow: A warm, positive color with a purifying effect, yellow has been used to strengthen the nervous system, assist metabolism and stimulate skin.
- Green: Cooling and balancing, green helps reduce any swelling or inflammation of joints while simultaneously calming the body.
So what can we do to stop aging in its tracks? Do your best to book a massage appointment at least once a month to keep stress levels low. Turns out there truly is more to a spa day.