Neal's Yard Remedies Women's Balance Massage Oil, 100ml
Listen up – the start of the year is hard, but giving your ears some attention can make you feel better
With many of us still licking our war wounds from the last few seasons, the start to the year hasn’t exactly been a carnival, has it? We all need some serious mood-boosting. Luckily there is a lot we can do to lift our spirits.
Science supports taking some time out to enhance your wellbeing, and massage is an excellent place to start. After all, touch is a powerful tool, with psychologists even coining the term ‘skin hunger’ for the feelings we experience when deprived of one of the most basic senses that connects us to our fellow humans. The caring touch of others has even been shown to release the same kind of opiates as painkilling drugs. ‘If you would like to energise your body, release stress and tension, give your immune system a good boost, start adding massage into your daily routine,’ advises massage therapist Sarah Jane Watson
According to Sarah Jane, incorporating a little daily massage into your life can be as simple as employing some mindful attention when applying your cleanser, serum or body oil.
Concentrate on doing deep diaphragmatic breaths (7-11 breathing where you breathe in for a count of 7 and out for a count of 11 has been shown to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to help quell the fight or flight response we often have to stress) while really taking the time to massage in your beauty products.
Every little ‘soulful skincare’ gesture helps, even if you’re not au fait with specific massage techniques, and it’s a principal that can be applied from head to foot – whether it’s a quick head massage when you’re lathering up your shampoo or giving your feet a post-bath rub.
But what’s the most effective on-the-go massage? ‘Studies have demonstrated that ear massage in particular increases levels of endorphins in both the blood and cerebral spinal fluid,’ says Sarah Jane. ‘It can help boost the immune cells in the body, reduce feelings of stress or anxiety, release toxins, improve circulation, relax the body and promote general well-being.’
She points out that – with more than 200 nerve ending points, particularly in the lobes – the ear is considered a potent reflexology zone. What’s more, ear massage can be done almost anywhere. ‘Ear massage is very simple to do,’ says Sarah Jane. ‘If you want to have the added aromatherapeutic benefit of incorporating an essential oil, choose a gentle citrus oil such as mandarin and apply a drop to the temples so you can inhale the uplifting aroma during the massage.’
How to proceed? Sarah Jane suggests following these steps:
‘This can be done once or twice a day or at any moment the winter blues hit,‘ explains Sarah Jane. ‘You will experience lovely feelings of warmth being generated along with a much-improved mood.’