Schedule a pre-work massage

Morning appointments and at-home techniques can reduce the negative effects of stress.

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High-performance individuals often book morning massage sessions as a way to manage stress, says Liz Bartucci, a licensed massage therapist and spa coordinator for The Spa at Equinox Gramercy. Research supports their habit: Studies have found that two 25-minute Swedish massages per week can significantly reduce work-related stress.

“Massage has the ability to turn on all the systems that cortisol has turned off,” Bartucci says. She points to studies conducted at the University of Miami that found that the practice increases blood flow, lowers blood pressure, and helps rid the body of toxins.

Other research shows that Swedish massage can cause a decrease in cortisol in the body and an increase in oxytocin. Lowering cortisol levels is especially important for athletes, she says, since having too much of the hormone can suppress your immune system and slow testosterone production, which inhibits recovery.

Getting a massage before work can help you react more calmly to stressors during the day. If you don’t have time for an appointment, try this: Grab a Trigger Point therapy ball (a tennis ball works, too) and place it between your body and a wall. Gently roll the ball back and forth over tense areas in your shoulders, back, neck, and chest for 30 to 60 seconds, enough time for the tissue and nervous system to respond, Bartucci says.