There’s one season you don’t want to celebrate – flu season! Every year, on average, anywhere from 5% to 20% of us succumb to the feverish chills, sore throat and stuffy nose associated with seasonal influenza. This year, the flu is affecting every state in the country except Hawaii (at least for now!). Doctors’ waiting rooms are full. Hospitals can’t seem to keep up.

It’s a bad year for the flu for several reasons. If you had a flu shot, that doesn’t put you in the clear. Flu vaccines tend to be less effective against the particular strain of the flu that is prevalent this year (H3N2). That flu shot you got is probably only about 30% effective against H3N2. This strain of the flu is also harder on older people and children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year – even this year. You don’t have to leave up to the doctors, though. Good health habits like frequently washing your hands can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. Experts also recommend that you get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of fluids, eat a healthy diet, manage your stress and stay physically active.

Unfortunately, flu season is far from over. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues weekly updates on the epidemic. Fortunately, their experts aren’t indicating that we’re in for a historically bad season. In other words, it’s bad – but it could be worse.

On the bright side, a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that just one massage session may help you fend off the flu and other nasty bugs. In the study, participants who received light massage showed an increase in white blood cells – those are the ones known to help boost immunity – as well as cells shown to help decrease inflammation.

At the Spatheology spa in Asheville, NC, we offer a variety of massage services. We’re not scientists, but we would be so happy if we were able to help you stay healthy during this virulent flu outbreak.

If you’re stressed out about the flu, our Relaxation Massage. might be just what you need. Utilizing gentle pressure, soothing strokes and steamed towels, your massage therapist will ease the tension from your body and the stress from your mind. The Sacred Aromatherapy. treatment is a variation on the Relaxation Massage, that involves the use of therapeutic essential oils to restore harmony to the nervous system for deep relaxation.

Among the most popular services at our Asheville spa is the Therapeutic Massage. While you’ll also find it relaxing, this massage takes a different approach, targeting tight muscle groups for physical and mental stress reduction. The highly concentrated blend of lavender, rosemary, and menthol essential oils that we use to reduce inflammation and promote circulation during this service may also be particularly comforting during flu season.

Spatheology, one of the most innovative and locally oriented spas in Asheville, NC, also offers a River Rock Massage, Mother Massage, and a variety of Asheville-inspired spa services that incorporate massage. You can also enjoy Reflexology. or a Chair Massage at our Asheville NC spa.

You may also want to try our Privai Detox Massage and Skincare Ritual., featuring an immunity-boosting, dry-brush exfoliation, an antioxidant-rich body wrap and a purifying face masque from Asheville’s own botanically based Privai skincare line. The service also includes a detoxifying head, neck, and foot massage that will stimulate your lymphatic system.

In the meantime, for some do-it-yourself massage action, integrative physician and Revive author Frank Lipman, M.D., suggests rubbing a tennis ball along the bottoms your feet.