Stress seems to be running rife these days, with too many things on our “To-do” lists and longer hours at the office…. Not to mention cooking, cleaning and kids activities to facilitate!!
In times gone by the body’s stress response was extremely vital for survival – fight or flight. On the rare occasion it can still come in handy, however in society today, many of us suffering from chronic stress due to the “go go go” nature of modern life becoming “distress” – a negative stress reaction, and this is when the problems start to cascade.
Along with these feelings of overwhelm, many people are dealing with financial stresses, discontentment at work, family problems and health issues such as a recent injury.
Generally fatigue and muscle tension are the first signs of stress as the adrenaline and cortisol which are primary stress hormones stay at elevated levels in the system, however distress can lead to many physical symptoms including excess inflammation, headaches, upset stomach and digestion problems, elevated blood pressure, chest pain and sleeping difficulties.
Chronic stress usually leads to decreased immune system activity, which increases the risk of colds, flus and immune system diseases. Research suggests that stress can also bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases such as heart disease.
It can effect your mood, creating angry outbursts, anxiety and even depression. Unfortunately many of us resort to self defeating behaviors however this eventually just ends up worsening the situation.
Benefits of Massage Therapy for Stress
Virtually every symptom of stress listed by the American Psychological Association can be benefited from massage therapy and clinical studies show that even a single 90 minute session can significantly lower your heart rate and blood pressure, insulin levels and cortisol levels.
Massage therapy also increases the production of endorphins, your body’s natural “feel good” chemicals, along with the release of increased levels of Serotonin and Dopamine resulting in feelings of calm – all of which explain why massage and stress relief go hand-in-hand.
Massage may help restore normal circulation, improve immune system activity and play a role in restoring normal digestive system function, according to the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center.
In addition, ongoing massage therapy eases physical pain, increase energy levels and improve overall physical and mental performance.
Although finding time to get a massage can often be difficult, it is definitely worthwhile as it helps you shift your thoughts away from daily pressures and allows your body and mind to relax, combating anxiety and making long-term stress much easier to overcome.
Experiencing a massage in a quiet and dimly lit room, with soft background music and the use of aromatherapy oils can help you relax, so if you are tired and stressed, why not book in a Therapeutic Massage this week?