Thwart Holiday Stress with a Relaxation Massage (& Other Stress-Relieving Tips)


For some, December marks the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year. For others, January cannot come quickly enough. But even if you attach antlers to your car and where ugly sweaters to work, it’s easy to feel the pressure of the season on your schedule and on your body.

When you’re stressed, even if it’s only minor stress of needing to get things checked off your holiday to-do list, your body will tense up. And when your body is tense, your mind feels even more tense, adding to the stress, and cycling back to the body and creating even tighter muscles and greater tension. Tight muscles can cause headaches and pinches, and stress and an uncomfortable body can make it difficult to sleep at night. And if your worries include work or finances, or disgruntled relatives or holiday travel woes, your body tends to react by locking up further.

A relaxation massage is just that. Its purpose to help you reduce tension overall, not to treat a particular ailment. This isn’t to say you can’t feel the benefits of a relaxation massage if you have a couple of minor spots of tension. In fact, that’s why you’re here.

A relaxation massage is a gentle treatment involving a massage over your entire body. The pressure your therapist uses can be determined at the outset—some people want a very light touch, while others want considerably more pressure. We don’t stretch or maneuver your body in a relaxation massage; it’s what we call a passive treatment, usually accompanied by soft music and lighting. Many therapists will use aromatherapy oils.

The strokes of a relaxation massage are long, designed for loosening up slightly tightened muscles, and usually mixed with some gentle kneading as well as a rolling of the skin and muscle. Some therapists offer additional aromatherapy treatment, or you may choose to ask for a hot rock therapy in addition to your relaxation massage (if available).

While you may think getting a massage is the last thing you have time for, the benefits of even a 30- or 45-minute massage can actually give you back hours of your day, as you’ll feel regenerated, more comfortable, and reenergized enough to tackle the rest of your holiday tasks.

In the meantime, when grappling with everything you have to do this holiday season, keep in mind these stress-reducing tips:

Structure your day. Making lists and sticking to them gives you a sense of control. Staying organized helps you manage your time and feel less at the mercy of a hectic world.

Exercise. Parking farther away at the mall is definitely a start, but spending 30 minutes walking or running (or doing yoga) outside, in some kind of natural world setting, has been shown to relieve symptoms of anxiety and stress. And with exercising, you boost your endorphins, which make you happy, and morning exercise helps you to sleep better at night.

Find time for you. Go somewhere quiet. Even if it is only 30 minutes, find a place where you can be alone and fully relax. Practice mindfulness or just decompress. This can be a walk, time with a book, or taking a bath. Maybe it’s an hour of quiet on your couch. This time can help your body come down off the highs of the stress, leaving you feeling less jittery and anxious, and ready for your second wind. Or maybe your “you time” can be that much-needed stress massage to get you through the rest of your holiday preparation.

At Massage Concepts, we are dedicated to helping clients improve health and achieve a more balanced lifestyle. For more information on relaxation massages, or if you’re ready to make an appointment or want to view a full listing of our services, call us at 858-847-2777 or visit us at