We all know that a massage is a wonderfully relaxing treat, but did you also know regular massage can be beneficial in managing haemochromatosis?
Regular massage relaxes our nervous system, opens our heart and helps our circulatory system provide fresh oxygen and energy to all parts of our body whilst simultaneously flushing wastes and impurities.
With increasing research confirming that almost 90% of disease is due to stress placed on the body, a monthly massage can be so much more than pampering – it is a powerful ally in a holistic and long term health and wellbeing plan and an essential part of my philosophy in living my best life with haemochromatosis.
So, if a massage is on your “one day” list, here are three reasons why you should consider booking a massage now.
1. A Natural Liver Detox
The liver is one of the hardest working organs in our body, playing a vital role in converting the food we eat into essential nutrients, aiding the digestive system, neutralising harmful toxins and helping to boost immunity. When our liver is not working as it should, toxins in the body can be pushed back into the blood stream where, over time, they damage cells.
For those of us with haemochromatosis, the liver is also a depository for excess iron, which unaddressed can lead to serious and permanent complications. Cirrhosis of the liver is one of the most common side effects of haemochromatosis and occurs when healthy cells become hardened over time, resulting in a build up of scar tissue which inhibits blood flow in and out of the liver and ultimately leads to reduced liver function. As there is no cure for cirrhosis of the liver, any treatment prescribed by your GP will usually aim to manage the symptoms and slow the degenerative process and associated complications. You can read more about keeping your liver healthy here.
The easiest way to reduce stress on your liver is to regularly remove built up toxins, and massage is a hands on (literally) way of doing this. Massage stimulates the muscles in our body, allowing our body to recognize toxins and eliminate them. It does this by stimulating the lymphatic glands, which are essentially the body’s natural sewerage system, collecting unwanted waste material and carrying it away for disposal.
Lymph, the fluid that rids body tissues of waste, is reliant on the squeezing effect of muscles and is therefore largely dependent on exercise and massage to keep things moving. In this sense, a massage works like a sponge – the long rhythmic strokes, deep kneading and circular movements of a massage squeezes toxins from between the muscle fibres and cells and releases them into the circulatory system for elimination. This is also why your massage therapists asks you to drink lots of water after your massage – not only to help in rehydration but to also remove metabolic wastes which accumulate as your muscles are worked out.
So, “me time” is actually beneficial in shaking off the sluggishness of a lazy lymph system, thereby ensuring your liver remains happy and healthy.
2. Easing Joint and Muscle Pain
In addition to relaxing tired and overused muscles, working on the muscle around a joint can also ease joint pain and soreness often associated with haemochromatosis. Now, whilst Swedish, remedial or deep tissue massage might sometimes be equated to an ancient form of torture, if you can breathe your way through the contracted muscle, knot or joint pain (where blood flow is impaired) you will reap the benefits. Visualisation is also helpful in helping your brain get muscles to relax, so picture the knot going away and take deep breaths. Believe me, it works.
3. Releasing Feel Good Hormones
Now for the benefit we all love – a massage releases endorphins which are not only “feel good” vibes but the body’s natural pain killers. Massage can also enhance sleep quality, give you greater energy and enhance concentration levels. Evidence also shows that massage can reduce blood pressure and the stress hormone, cortisol (which is produced when we experience stress and pain) whilst boosting levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter linked to happiness) and dopamine (a neurotransmitter involved in motivation and arousal). Happy days!
Budgeting time and money for a regular massage is therefore truly an investment in your health and wellbeing and will assist in living your best life with haemochromatosis. Start looking after yourself nutritionally, mentally and physically and you will notice the difference. Aren’t you worth it?
I always crave raw vegetables after a massage, which I expect is part of my body re-balancing itself. A snack like this Beetroot and Feta Dip with Crudités is perfect for restoring minerals lost during the massage. Beetroot is rich in antioxidants and is cleansing and detoxifying, onion and garlic contain sulphur and are an important nutrient for the liver, whilst the raw crudités provide abundant antioxidant boosting nutrients and health promoting living enzymes which aid digestion and improve overall health. Enjoy!
- 3 large beetroots, quartered
- 1 brown onion, quartered
- 4 whole cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 200g Feta
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice (roughly the juice of half a lemon)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Various crudités, such as asparagus, radish, cucumber, celery, capsicum and carrots
- 1. Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- 2. Wrap the beetroot, onion, whole garlic and coconut oil in foil and roast for 35-40 minutes or until tender and a skewer goes easily through them. Unwrap and allow to cool.
- 3. Dice the beetroots and place into a food processor, along with onion, feta, lemon juice and oil. Squeeze the flesh from the roasted garlic and add.
- 4. Pulsate until smooth and season to taste.
- 5. Serve with crudités.
- No need to peel the beetroot as the skins provide a rich earthiness to the dip which offsets the sweetness of the roasted beetroots.
- If you don't like feta, you can substitute with goats cheese or even 200g walnuts, almonds or cashews.