Sitting Too Much? Why You May Need A Massage Now More Than Ever
By Derek Anderson, licensed massage therapist at The Spa at Shangri-La Springs
People around the globe are altering their daily routines because of the pandemic, including working from home and spending more time on electronic devices.
But it’s not just our routines that have changed. Many people have changed the way they use their bodies. In many cases, people have become less active and are often sitting more than they used to.
A walk from the car to our office has become a stroll from the kitchen to the table to start another day of working from home. Walks to get some supplies or attend meetings at the office have become opening a new window on our computer.
Sitting too much raises risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Near constant days seated have also led to lower back pain and discomfort that I’m seeing from my massage clients.
Here are some of many known issues health officials agree can occur from prolonged sitting:
1. Postural imbalances. The body is not designed to sit for prolonged periods of time, which can result in slouching and holding your arms in an abnormal position too long for typing.
2. Back pain from sitting in ergonomically unfriendly positions. Lower back pain from sitting is a result of gravity pulling your torso into your pelvis, which can lead to sciatic nerve damage.
3. High blood pressure. Being sedentary results in a lack of blood flow.
4. Increased chances for depression and anxiety.
While it usually takes time to develop knots and tension throughout muscles, it also takes time to help break them down. Here are some tips to avoid muscle pain caused by extended sitting:
1. Check your ergonomics while you work. An uneven work posture can lead to unnecessary muscle strain. Many people working from home do not have an office set up with a supportive chair or proper keyboard and computer position.
2. Stay hydrated. Drinking water helps your body eliminate wastes and toxins and lubricates your joints, reducing pain and inflammation.
3. Stand up at least every 30 minutes to shift your posture and get your blood moving.
4. Remember to stretch! Targeted stretching will address the tight muscles from long seated periods, helping create balance. For upper back and neck issues, I recommend stretching your shoulders several times during the day.
5. Make time in each day to move and exercise, such as walking, biking or swimming. Studies have shown that exercise can counteract the negative effects of too much sitting.
6. See a licensed massage professional. Massage increases blood flow, which can reduce diastolic blood pressure as well as pain and tension. The calming effect of massage therapy as well as the resulting increased blood flow can improve your mental state and quality of life. If you are new to massage therapy, I recommend starting with a lighter pressure massage. Other treatments include athletic or sport massage, stretching and targeted therapeutic work with trigger point treatment in and around problem areas.
Like work habits, massage therapy has changed during the pandemic. At The Spa at Shangri-La Springs, we have considered every step of the treatment process and have elevated our already vigorous hygiene and sanitation processes to follow Centers for Disease Control and state guidelines. Procedures include pre-screening clients for illness, timing appointments so clients don’t meet others, wearing masks during treatments, enabling touchless checkout, and sanitizing all treatment rooms and shared areas after each client.
Shangri-La Springs recently was awarded Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association’s Seal of Commitment for safety and sanitation, including our on-site spa.
Health officials stress the importance of supporting overall health, with surveys showing one of the long-term impacts of the pandemic may be preventable illnesses caused by delaying care. Massage therapy can improve pain or injuries that affect daily functioning.
In addition, massage has been proven to reduce stress, which can adversely affect our immune systems. Combined with a focus on nutrition, exercise and ample sleep, massage can be a key part in maintaining overall well-being.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Derek Anderson is a licensed massage therapist and esthetician who graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 2016. As a licensed massage therapist, he works with the players of the Florida Everblades as well as guests at Shangri-La Springs. For information on The Spa at Shangri-La Springs, visit shangrilasprings.com/spa or call (239) 676-7334.