Volunteering For Health

Do you know how beneficial it is to give back to your community or to someone who is in need?

I moved to St. Croix in 1994, and when I started meeting people here, I was surprised and overwhelmed by their generosity. I must admit it was kind of a culture shock for me coming from a family whose motto was “Charity begins at home”. I remember my mother saying that to me when I wanted to donate to a cause I saw on TV. As far as I know, my parents never gave to charity and they never volunteered for any non-profit or other organization. My mother became very ill at a young age and died in her mid-fifties. My father is still alive, but he is not well.

Beach-cleanup-1We have been doing volunteer work here on St. Croix since well before we started our business. We have rescue dozens of dogs and cats, many of who still live with us and whom we care for every day. We also patrol our beaches weekly to check for endangered sea turtle nests, and while we’re there, we clean up litter. We volunteer with a local theater group, and we have been in the massage tent massaging triathletes at that annual event for many years. We also donate gift certificates to all registered non-profit organizations that ask us for them.

When we massage tourists and visitors, we often ask them how they are enjoying their stay on St. Croix. Nine times out of ten they will say they LOVE St. Croix and that most of the people they have met have been so nice and friendly. Could it be because many of us are doing volunteer work by helping others and our community?

More and more studies are showing that doing volunteer work is good for our health.

According to Stephanie Brown, Ph.D and Stephen G. Post, Ph.D., professors of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University in New York, doing good for others who need help causes your body to produce oxytocin, which has been called the compassion hormone. Oxytocin can help your body buffer the effects of stress hormones such as cortisol. They cite Harvard University Studies that show how our bodies also release beneficial immune supporting chemicals when we watch people doing helpful things.

A Carnegie-Mellon University study found that Adults over age 50 who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers. They also had greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression than those who do not volunteer.

So help yourself by doing something good for your community – we’ll see you out there. And then, when your muscles are sore, we’ll see you on the massage table!

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