Stress is a common feature of modern life. The most successful and healthy people learn to manage it in positive and constructive ways, rather than avoiding it.
Massage is a highly effective tool in helping you cope with stress in your life. It relaxes and calms the nervous system, helping you feel better both physically and mentally.
The response to stress
When the body is under stress it prepares you either to fight or flee from the source of the anxiety. This activates the nervous system and the body produces hormones such as adrenaline. The muscles automatically tense and there is an increase in the heart rate and the body’s blood pressure.
Unfortunately fighting or running away is rarely an appropriate response to modern day pressures such as moving or a job change. There are also many stresses in life, which are on-going, such as conflict, so there are often no clear signals to the body that it is time to relax and recover.
As stress increases
When stress continues without relief, it becomes more and more difficult to unwind. This can lead to muscle tension, resulting in problems such as shoulder and back pain or tension headaches, which in-turn lead to further stress. Anxiety and physical tension can also disrupt sleep, leaving you exhausted with no energy or mental focus to deal with problems.
Stress relief with massage
Massage can bring about immediate relief from the symptoms of stress and remove your focus from everyday worries. Studies have shown that stress can stimulate the relaxation response and bring the body and mind to a calmer place.
- Massage is extremely effective in reducing muscle tension which drains your energy. It helps keep the muscles and tissues surrounding them soft and will relieve any painful trigger points.
Massage improves circulation, removing the build-up of stress hormones and waste products, and allowing the cells to get the nutrients that they need. It also encourages the flow of oxygen to the brain, reducing mental fatigue and improving your ability to concentrate so you can deal better with stress
The quality of restful sleep usually improves following a massage. Therefore, the body can repair itself even further and energy levels can be restored
Massage can also help you psychologically by ensuring that you once again feel as though you are in control. When you know that there is something you can do to take care of yourself, external events will not feel as though they are taking over and you will feel more positive.
How do I relax?
Some people find it hard to relax but there are techniques that you can learn. Massage encourages deep relaxation, making it easier to consciously recreate the state in everyday life.
Supporting positive life changes
By caring for yourself in such a simple way you will find that you have more time for family and more energy for activities that have a positive effect on your life. There may also be additional therapies that can help including stress counselling, yoga, alternative exercises or nutritional support.
What works for you?
There is no hard and fast rule about how often you should have a massage. These can be scheduled when you know there are stressful events in your life as a one-off, or you can plan for a series of massage treatments if there is an ongoing stressful situation.