ASK THE EXPERT: Can massage help me get through a stressful holiday season?

Kelly McNamee is a licensed massage therapist and a fitness specialist here at the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. After an accomplished track and field career at the University of Washington, Kelly found her passion in sports massage and training.


Can massage help me get through a stressful holiday season?

A good massage can set you up with a strong foundation to fight off anything the holidays can throw at you—from sleep deprivation to stress at work and home. It’s important throughout the holidays to take time to regenerate your body in a healing way. One of the best and most effective ways to relax and recharge is taking the time to get a 50-minute massage.

Here are my top 3 reasons to carve out time for a massage (along with my personal recommendations for you!)

Holidays or not, are you just stressed out!?

Cortisol is the hormone marker for stress. Too much in your system can lead to weight gain in the midsection and other metabolic changes. This weakens your immune system and puts stress on your cardiovascular system. Massage therapy can reduce cortisol levels in your body by an average of 31%.

A moderate pressure Swedish massage can bring about a state of relaxation that lowers blood pressure and reduces stress for most people.

How is your posture?

Let’s face it, most people spend a good chunk of their day sitting at a desk. Sound familiar? Poor posture is the number one culprit of back and neck pain, and it affects more than just how people see us. Studies show slouching also negatively affects your digestion and circulation, which can lead to low energy levels. Improving posture will help to increase your energy levels throughout the day and get you back to the important things in life. Massage therapy can get your body back on track—literally!

Deep tissue massage and trigger point therapy can improve your posture by loosening tight and overactive muscles, increasing range of motion, and releasing painful pressure points.

Are you having trouble sleeping?

Do you feel fatigued throughout the day? You must get adequate sleep for your body to function properly. Doctors recommend at least seven hours each night. An estimated 50-70 million Americans experience sleep issues that affect their health. This leads to low work performance, slowed reaction time, obesity, and higher risk of long-term disease. Anne Williams, director of education, Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, and author of Spa Bodywork and Teaching Massage, says, “Massage helps people spend more time in deep sleep, the restorative stage in which the body barely moves, which reduces the neurotransmitter associated with pain.”

Swedish, Deep tissue massage, and Trigger Point Therapy are all modalities that will help improve sleep. Studies show that massage increases serotonin, which increases melatonin in your body. This helps circadian rhythms to reset, giving you a better sleep.

Set yourself up for success during the holidays, and the rest of the year too. The small things we do for ourselves make an incredible impact on health and wellness. Try to set aside some time during the day, week, or month to just unwind! Slipping away for an hour of “me” time will provide much needed relaxation, and our 50-minute massages will fit right into your schedule! Check out our menu of massage treatment options, pricing and book an appointment today!


Hey Bosses! Give yourself the gift of productive and happy employees by booking our Stressbuster Onsite Massage Program!


Anschutz Health and Wellness Center