When I do corporate chair massage in the winter months I often find that my clients suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder due to lack of sunlight.
Having written a book on depression I had an interest in combining my chair massage techniques with tools that could reduce depression caused by sunlight deprivation.
Let me tell you more about SAD. Today, many people suffer from sunlight starvation. As winter approaches and there is less daylight, some people experience a form of depression that disappears during the spring and summer months. It is known as SAD. SAD is most common in temperate climates where people spend so much time indoors that they are unable to get their daily requirements for sunlight! People need the full spectrum of light that comes with sunshine. It's vital to life and health. Deprivation of sunlight is not just a winter phenomenon. It can be caused by many factors, including some ordinary behaviors.
One way to avoid sunlight starvation is through full spectrum indoor lighting. This type of light simulates the full color and beneficial ultraviolet spectrum of sunlight. The full visible and ultraviolet spectrum of natural white light promotes healing benefits and reduces depression symptoms as no artificial light can. Look for full-spectrum light bulbs at your local health food store, hardware store or light fixtures store. For extreme cases of use a high intensity “light box” to get the amount of light required to be healthy.
Although the cause of SAD has not clinically proven, many treatments seem to have a positive effect on the condition including; including amino acids, vitamins, light therapy, negative ions, color therapy, and magnesium supplementation. We combine these approaches with Onsite Chair Massage.
Michael Terman, Ph.D., director of the winter depression program at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center states, “Using bright-light therapy to shift the internal circadian clock is the most effective intervention we know about. But proper timing is critical.” (Psychology Today, Nov. / Dec 2002). Dr. Terman has demonstrated that the best time to use bright-light therapy is approximately 2.5 to 4 hours past the midpoint of sleep. By timing the light in this manner, the anti-depressant response can be doubled as compared to the effect of using light therapy at any other time of the day.
I want to note here that SAD affects men and women differently. It is hard to specifically define the level of depression in certain gender, age and cultural groups. Depression involves many factors and different segments of the population have different ways of relating to and expressing feelings of depression.
Recent research re-establishes the belief that not only is there a difference between men and women physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. Men and women use language, react to stress, seek out leisure activities, express feelings, respond to stress and even respond to mental health issues differently.
Since we offer chair massage in a corporate environment where the clients are clothed the easy way to integrate the two approaches is to have our clients visualize pleasant images, tell them positive aphorisms and use light boxes during a corporate chair massage session.