Just what is stress
Stress is your body’s way of responding to any type of demand or perceived threat. The body enters a state of alertness to prepare you for “fight or flight”. The muscles tense, breathing becomes faster and shallow, heart rate and blood pressure increase as does the production of certain hormones in the body including adrenalin and cortisol. You can feel the effects of stress from a single large event or a series of smaller ones. Everyday life is full of stressors….the work piling up on your desk, waiting in line at the bank, sitting in a traffic jam on your way to work.
stress is good. It motivates us and can lead to positive change and
personal growth. In fact, without some stress life would be quite
boring. Stress becomes problematic when it is chronic and your body
never has a chance to wind down. Chronic stress takes a toll on the
mind and body causing a host of negative symptoms including
irritability, fatigue, headaches, weight gain, insomnia, difficulty
concentrating and stomach aches or intestinal distress.
The relaxation response
We can’t avoid all stress but we can counteract its negative effects by learning how to evoke the relaxation response, a state of deep rest. The relaxation response is a powerful antidote to stress. It brings your system back into balance. There are a variety of ways to induce relaxation , the benefits of which have been widely studied. These techniques include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, tai chi and massage. Awareness is the first step in coping with stress. Do you suspect that stress might be a problem? Take the stress test to find out.
Massage therapy for stress relief
Massage is soothing both physically and mentally. During a massage your soft tissues are manipulated allowing tense muscles to relax. Regular massage can help calm the mind, improve your mood and reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body and gradually counteract the effects of stress. Moreover, research has shown that massage boosts the immune system and triggers the body to release endorphins which are natural pain relievers.