Massage Can Help Those with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

Do you or someone you know get the wintertime "blues"? Less sunlight in the winter, coupled with more time indoors, can trigger what is known as "Seasonal Affective Disorder" in many people. SAD can prove to be a serious form of depression and reduce the quality of life for those with the disorder.

Sad _250wOne of the many therapies that can help SAD is massage.  A recent article from the American Massage Therapy Association catalogs several proven ways in which massage therapy can counteract physiological mood factors that often accompany SAD. According to the AMTA, massage can:

  • Reduce anxiety and depression with a course of care providing benefits similar in magnitude to those of psychotherapy.
  • Increase neurotransmitters associated with lowering anxiety and decrease hormones associated with increasing anxiety.
  • Significantly decrease heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure.
  • Improve mental health by reducing depression in individuals with HIV, lessen anxiety in cancer patients, reduce anxiety and depression in military veterans and lower work-related stress for nurses.

Treating those with SAD is one of the many ways that massage therapists can offer real help to their clients as part of an integrative medical team. Want to learn more about massage therapy in an integrative medical setting? Just visit our website!

And if winter has you down, why not schedule a massage at the NUHS Whole Health Center in Lombard? You can also work with our chiropractic, naturopathic or oriental medicine clinicians to find additional treatments to help reduce the symptoms of SAD.

Holidays are a Time to Both Give and Receive Massage!

Holidays can be fun, but they can be busy and stressful as well. With family obligations, financial demands, and a full schedule of activities, many people experience tension or even depression this time of year.

That's why taking advantage of a professional massage is a great self-care tool during the holidays. Massage has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce pain and tension, and can be a great way to de-stress. 


It may seem impossible to find the time for a massage in between your holiday shopping, cooking and social commitments, so here are some tips: 

  • Book your massage in advance, as this time of year can be busy for massage therapists, clinics and spas too.
  • Ideally, try to plan your massage for a day and time where you can relax afterwards with low-key activities. 
  • If an hour seems too much to squeeze into your busy pre-holiday schedule, how about a half-hour massage? Or even a quick stop at the chair massage station in your local mall?

In addition to taking care of yourself, giving the gift of massage to others during the holidays is a great idea. Think of those you know who would enjoy feeling pampered, or who are interested in health and wellness, or who would appreciate the stress reduction of a professional massage. A massage gift certificate is often a creative, unexpected and welcome surprise.

For those in the Chicago area, National University's Whole Health Center in Lombard offers massage gift certificates year-round. Your friends and loved ones will enjoy a relaxing therapeutic massage in one of our comfortable massage therapy suites. (Hint: Massage gift certificates are also great for workplace gift exchanges, raffle prizes and thank you gifts.)

Calling All Massage Therapy Future Superheroes


Kelly Dixon graduated as valedictorian of her massage therapy class at National University. Her speech was extraordinary, in that she used her own story to show that massage therapists can indeed be superheroes. How? By the dramatic effect they can have on the lives of others.

Here are some excerpts from Kelly's speech:

"We start thinking about the future so early in life. Dreaming of being princesses, superheroes, doctors or astronauts. We are impatient to grow up and fulfill those dreams … Somewhere along the way… we began to doubt ourselves.

But during our time here at National, some of that doubt has melted away…Through our hands we have the potential to alter someone's reality. The very first time we each hear those words "You have changed my life," it will hit us hard, leaving us awestruck in the realization that we can have such a profound effect on another individual….

Seven years ago I was living with chronic pain and I didn't know it. It had come on so gradually that I hardly noticed. I never consciously felt the pain, just the effects. But then I got a massage and afterwards I sat in my car and cried. I hadn't realized I hurt so much.  When I had that realization is when I decided to become a massage therapist….

So as we walk out the doors today… let us also take a moment and embrace the fact that we do powerful work. Let us embark upon this next chapter of our lives with all the enthusiasm of a young child heading out of their room towards the backyard wearing cape or crown because now we have grown up to be something much more exciting than a princess or batman. Wearethe superheroes. We may not save the damsel in distress from the latest villain, but we will save the restaurant servers who work all day from their sore backs. We will save nurses from aching legs. And yes we will save college students everywhere from tension headaches during not just midterms but finals as well, becauseweare healers who will change lives.

Congratulations Kelly, and to all the future superheroes who will graduate from National University!

The Top 5 Health Benefits of Regular Massage Therapy

Photo of shoulder massageOctober 19-25th is "Massage Therapy Awareness Week." The health experts at National University of Health Sciences want you to know the top five health benefits of adding regular massage therapy to your health and wellness strategy.

Massage therapy from a licensed practitioner can:

  • Lower stress
    The long-term effects of stress can take emotional and physical tolls. Massage therapy may relieve stress and conditions associated with it, such as tension headaches.
  • Increase immune function
    Medical research
    indicates that massage therapy can help boost immune system strength by increasing the activity level of the body's natural "killer T cells," which fight off viruses.
  • Boost mental health and wellness
    Research suggests
    that symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression (all associated with mental health) may be directly affected with massage therapy.
  • Manage pain
    Pain can negatively affect a person's quality of life and impede recovery from illness or injury. Recent findings highlight the role of massage in pain management.
  • Improve physical fitness
    Elite and recreational athletes alike can benefit from massage therapy-massage can reduce muscle tension, improve exercise performance and prevent injuries.

(source - American Massage Therapy Association)

If you've never tried a massage for yourself, it's a great first step to exploring a career as a massage therapist.  If you live in the Chicago area, why not schedule a massage session at our NUHS Whole Health Center in Lombard? You can even schedule a meeting with one of our admissions counselors prior to your massage, so you can visit our campus and learn more about our massage therapy certification program.

Massage for Severely Ill Children

National University grad Karen Selph ('03) was recently featured on a local television news segment on bringing the benefits of massage therapy to severely ill children. Karen works as a massage therapist at Maryville's Children's Healthcare Center in Chicago.

Screenshot of video featuring Karen Selph

Karen is just one of our grads who are taking advantage of new applications for massage in an integrative medicine environment.