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Massage Therapy may help Buxton Winter Blues


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is regarded as a depressive disorder associated with seasonal patterns. A less severe form of SAD is called mild seasonal mood disorder often referred to as the Winter Blues which affects a greater number of the western population approximately 20% more. If we combine both disorders together, it is estimated that one in five westerners are affected by seasonal change patterns due to colder temperatures and shorter days. Symptoms are often aggravated by the lack of sunlight which may affect a sufferer’s energy level and difficulty in rising in the morning. Other behavioural habits is the inclination to eat more foods particularly foods that contain more starches and sugars. Often this may leave sufferers feeling lethargic and depressed [1-2]. In this Health News article I will briefly overview the following;

  1. The Science - How Massage May Help

  2. Other Treatment Options for SAD and Winter Blues

  3. Does Light Therapy Work?

  4. Will this Affect my Injury Rehabilitation or Training?

  5. Final Thoughts

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Massage in Buxton

1. The Science – How Massage may help

Massage can work on many different levels particularly in the way our bodies react towards negative influences such as day to day stressors, mood of weather patterns, anxieties or health conditions [1-4]. 

People that may be affected by the Buxton Winter Blues may find relief by integrating routine massage therapy or holistic therapy into their health and well-being maintenance plan. Studies have shown that holistic therapies such as massage therapy may help improve a person's mood by helping to elevate energy levels by resetting circadian rhythms (body clock) to promote levels of energy and better sleep [3-6].

Today there is increasing evidence that massage therapy can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression or similar for a wide range of health issues alongside conventional medicine. For example a 12 week controlled clinical study researched massage therapy in HIV positive adolescents. At the end of the study patients felt less depressed and anxious. Another study found women with stage 1 and stage 2 breast cancer found massage therapy beneficial by reducing anxiety levels, feelings of anger and depressed moods. The randomised study suggests that massage therapy plays a vital role by helping to increase the body's serotonin values. Serotonin a chemical found in the human body (predominantly in the brain and blood platelets) is a neurotransmitter that carries signals along and between the nerves to regulate functions to the various parts of the body i.e. appetite, sleep, mood, memory and learning. By promoting the increase of serotonin values by means of massage therapy. The research suggests that massage therapy may help to regulate and set changes in patterns of mood, anxiety, stress and energy levels. Furthermore a study in to massage therapy suggests massage therapy to be beneficial by assisting the persons circadian rhythms. Research found during an investigation into the effects of massage therapy on the adjustment of rest to activity including melatonin secretion rhythms that massage therapy promoted coordination of the circadian system in full-term infants [3-6].

2. Other treatment options for SAD and Winter Blues

Other treatment options can include conventional medical prescriptions similar to treating other types of depression and alternative therapies such as light therapy. Light therapy is where a patient sits in front of a bright light each day that replicates sunlight [7-9]. 


3. Does Light Therapy work?

Presently the research is very limited due to the lack of high quality data. However there is some evidence that suggests that light therapy may be beneficial towards alleviating symptoms of seasonal depression. The systematic studies suggests that the exposure to bright light therapy early in the morning may be as just as effective as anti-depressant treatments. Although another study found little evidence that light therapy is as effective in treating seasonal depression to other types of therapies. Interestingly, a study did suggest that some patients that are taking anti-depressant drugs for seasonal depression may be more susceptible to headaches, insomnia and nausea [7-9].

4. Will this affect my injury rehabilitation or training? 

According to the research yes it will. Behavioural mood patterns of negative life events such as stress, mental fatigue etc may potentially lead to profound psychological and physiological rehabilitation barriers. For example, research suggests it may impair the patients healing response time and rehabilitation program and impair other treatments by approximately 60%. Research suggests it may reduce the patients muscle recovery from resistant exercise as well as an athletes running economy which may likely impair their training and performance [10-17]. 

Massage beating the blues

Kerrie West

His knowledge of anatomy was incredible. ...The pain I experienced disappeared almost instantly after I left the treatment room and has been a lot better since... Thanks Nick!

Tracey Chuwen

I was looking for an experienced massage therapist and was recommended to see Nick due to his professionalism and clinical knowledge by a Stockport college therapy lecturer.


Nick used aromatherapy oils as a medium and explained the benefits of each essential oil for my ailments involving me throughout the decision process.


Following the treatment I felt like I had just worked out in a gym! I also felt totally re-energised Nick you unblocked everything I needed to empty my bladder afterwards!


Well well well I can honestly say that was the best massage I have ever had! Nick is a natural healer spread the word...

Thanks Nick

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5. Final thoughts

There is moderate evidence that suggests alternative therapies such as massage therapy and light therapy may help towards alleviating symptoms of seasonal depression which carries minimal risks to the patient. There is also moderate evidence that conventional treatments such as anti-depressants drugs work too. Negative lifestyle moods can have a significant impact on a person’s healing process during rehabilitation treatments and training. If you, or if you know someone that is finding it difficult dealing with depression. My advice is see your doctor to discuss the most suitable treatments available for best course of action. 


As always thanks for reading this article, enjoy your sport. If you enjoyed reading this article you may also enjoy my other articles on Meditation and the Benefits and Effects of Massage.

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  1. Targum SD, Rosenthal N. Seasonal Affective Disorder. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2008;5(5):31-33.

  2. Westrin, A. Lam, RW. (2007) Seasonal Affective Disorder: A Clinical Update: Ann Clin Psychiatry 2007 19(4):239-46

  3. Diego, M., Field, T., Hernandez-reif, M., Shaw, K., Friedman, L., & Ironson, G. (2001). HIV Adolescents Show Improved Immune Function Following Massage Therapy. International Journal of Neuroscience, 35-45.

  4. Hernandezreif, M. (2004). Breast Cancer Patients Have Improved Immune And Neuroendocrine Functions Following Massage Therapy. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 45-52.

  5. Ferber, S., Laudon, M., Kuint, J., Weller, A., & Zisapel, N. (2002). Massage Therapy by Mothers Enhances the Adjustment of Circadian Rhythms to the Nocturnal Period in Full-Term Infants. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 410-415.

  6. Totora, G,J. (2014) principles of Anatomy and Physiology: John Wiley & Sons 2014 ISBN 978-1118808436

  7. Golden, RN. Gaynes, BN, (2005) The Efficacy of Light Therapy in the Treatment of Mood Disorders: A Review and Meta-Analysis of the Evidence: The American Journal of Psychiatry Vol 162 Issue 4, April 2005 pp. 656-662

  8. Nussbaumer, B. (2005) Light Therapy for Prevention of Winter Depression: Cochrane Collaboration Review DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD011269.pub2 :

  9. Gartiehner, G. Nussbaumer, B. (2015) Antidepressants for Prevention of Winter Depression: Cochrane Collaboration Review 2015 DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD011268.pub2 

  10. Gouin, JP. (2011) The Impact of Psychological Stress on Wound Healing: Methods and Mechanisms: Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2011 Feb; 31(1): 81-93!po=66.1290

  11. Lucas, VS.(2011) Psychological Stress and Wound Healing in Humans  Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond, Virginia 2011;22(4):76-83 

  12. Alford, L. (2006) Psychoneuroimmunology for physiotherapists (chartered society of physiotherapists) Elsevier publishing 2006 DOI:

  13. Stein, PK. (2012) Mental Stress and Exercise Training Response: Stress-sleep Connection may be Involved: Front Physiol 2012: 3: 178

  14. Ruuska, PS. (2012) Self-rated mental stress and exercise training response in healthy subjects. 2012 Department of Exercise and Medical Physiology,Verve,Oulu,FinlandDepartment of Internal Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oulu, Finland doi:10.3389/phys.2012.00051

  15. Stults-Kolehmainen. (2007) Psychological Stress Impairs Short-Term Muscular Recovery from Resistance Exercise: American College of Sports Medicine Vol. 44, No. 11, pp. 2220–2227, 2012. 

  16. Marcora, SM. (2009) Mental fatigue impairs physical performance in humans: Journal of Applied Physiology (2009) Vol. 106 no. 3, 857-864

  17. Otter, RT A. (2015) A Negative Life Event Impairs Psychosocial Stress, Recovery and Running Economy of Runners: International  Journal of Sports Medicine Dec 2015

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