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How can Massage Therapy help you quit smoking?

Today is National No Smoking Day 2018. It's no secret that smoking is bad for you, but nicotine is addictive so giving up is not an easy task.

The NHS spends millions every year promoting and supporting non-smoking as it costs less to prevent the diseases associated with smoking than treating them. Luckily, there has never been more help, what with nicotine patches, tablets and gum to name a few. Some people switch to vaping or e-cigarettes and others might try hypnotherapy with some success, but at some point you may suffer the physical symptoms of withdrawal.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

How severe the symptoms of withdrawal you will experience would depend on how long you have been smoking, and how many a day during that time.

Certain activities may trigger cravings, if you normally smoke after eating for example, then you may experience a stronger desire to smoke at that time. Experts suggest that doing an activity can help take your mind off your desire to light up such going for a walk. The symptoms can include;

• fatigue

• headache

• dry mouth

• cough

• irritability

• depression

• strong cravings to smoke

• constipation

• anxiety

The last of these symptoms, anxiety, is often associated with the reason for smoking, it helps the smoker manage their anxiety, and it is the feelings of anxiety, irritability and low mood that massage can help with the most.

Benefits of Massage

Massage Therapy has a number of physical affects on the body. Firstly, the movements used will stimulate the circulatory (blood) and lymphatic systems aiding the body’s detoxification processes and the removal of residual nicotine in your body.

The manipulation of the muscles helps them to relax and reduces tension, usually found in the upper back, shoulders and neck, and if this is where you carry your tension, tell your massage therapist and they will specifically target the area. Regardless of where you carry tension, studies have shown that massage increases your body's levels of oxytocin and serotonin, which results in lowered stress.

As your muscles relax, your breathing gets deeper and slower, your heart rate slows and your blood pressure is reduced. The after effects of massage will carry on for up to 48 hours and so should aid you in having a more restful sleep and falling asleep more easily.

Top tips to get the most out of your massage;

Tell your therapist the purpose of your visit, letting them know you wish to reduce your stress, anxiety and muscular tension regardless of the cause, will help them to help you better.

Once your massage starts, try to relax your mind and not talk about what is causing you to worry or make you anxious as it will be hardier to relax. Talking is allowed though if that's what you prefer :)

In fact, speak up if you want more or less pressure, or for your therapist to focus in a particular area, and please move if you need to adjust your position to be more comfortable.

And finally, don't feel self conscious about unshaven legs, spotty backs, hairy shoulders or other perceived imperfections. Every body comes in a different shape and size, they are all perfect in their own unique way, and your therapist will not be judging yours!

If you would like to get more support with stopping smoking, then please go to the NHS Smoke Free website for further information and advice.





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