Massage and Stress

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Once someone said to me, “well, all you do is provide stress relief”. Well, besides that not being true, what is more important than that? Ask almost any person what is the most significant contributing factor to their well-being and they will tell you stress. Financial or familial, stress is every where in our lives. And it is not an exclusively negative thing. Without stress you would have never learned to walk or speak or have gotten through school. It is when stress becomes unbearable, that it becomes a problem. The nagging problems that follow you home from work. The breakdown in communication between you and a loved one. All contribute to providing negative stress response in your life.

Stress 101

What happens when we are stressed? In short the body prepares for “fight or flight”. This means energies and organ systems are converted to prepare to react to the stress. You may find your blood pressure rises. Your senses become more alert. The parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for relaxation and digestion, shuts down and your sympathetic nervous system takes over. This is a natural response and, in most cases, a healthy one. Once the perceived threat is over, your body returns to its previous relaxed state. But what if you are experiencing chronic stress? What if the body cannot tell the difference between a real threat and a minor one? This is where you see stress disorders and chronic illness.

Massage and Stress Relief

When stress overwhelms their daily life, many people turn to massage therapy as a means of relief. Massage can not only help with generalized muscle tension and trigger points, but with helping to lower blood pressure and balance hormones, as well. It can help to support and bolster the immune system to help the body better respond overall to stress.

Above and beyond the mechanical side of massage therapy, many people can benefit from the power of positive touch. In an increasingly disconnected world, positive touch can be very therapeutic. Research has shown support for the benefits of energy work, such as acupressure, in addition to more traditional massage modalities like Swedish and Myofascial Release.

Working with a qualified, license massage therapist regularly can help you to manage the every day stresses in your life. You will find yourself in a better mood, healthier and experiencing greater vitality. You cannot remove all stress from your life, but you can make it easier to manage. To quote Audre Lorde, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation..”. Make self-care a priority for yourself to manage your stress level.

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