Miracle of Massage- The Healing Touch For Stress
You are not alone if you find the turmoil of daily life leaves you stressed-out and worn down. Most people suffering from anxiety of stress are unaware of the impact it has on their life and health. If you have never experienced the wonders of massage then don't delay any longer. Massage is a panacea for all kinds of physical, emotional and mental health problems and is the ultimate antidote to stress.
Whether you need to unwind, de-stress, let-go, or even just maintain a state of relaxation- prevention or cure, massage is an enjoyable and beneficial treatment for stress management.
Physical impact of Stress
Stress and anxiety are something each of us experience from time to time. The stress response (often referred to as ‘fight or flight’) is a natural reaction in humans to conditions perceived as life threatening. In fact, stress is necessary for our well-being sometimes, and can serve to assist us in critical situations. Our body, however, is not designed to endure stress for long periods of time, and when the natural balanced state is not restored, the resulting effects can lead to physical discomfort and illness.
These problems occur during periods of sustained or constant pressure and anxiety. The following are all symptoms caused by stress:
▪ Insomnia (sleep disturbance)
▪ Mental confusion
▪ Migraines (headaches and tension headaches)
▪ Chest Pain
▪ Breathing difficulties
▪ Hypertension (High blood pressure)
▪ Digestive complaints (nausea, constipation, diarrhoea)
▪ Muscle cramp & spasms
▪ Neck & back pain
▪ Increased sweating
▪ Tremors, shaking or twitches
▪ Poor circulation (cold fingers & toes)
▪ Menstrual problems
▪ Lower resistance to colds & flu
Effects of Muscular Tension
Many people are not aware of the physical tension they carry, or more importantly, the harmful effect it is having on their body. For example many people carry pain between the shoulder blades.
Often, it is only when we begin to relax that we notice our tension. Ever noticed aches and pains as you fall asleep at night? During the day we are in a state of tension and as we unwind before sleep we may notice the ill-effects of this.
Muscle Tension is an underlying factor in all of the symptoms listed above.
Prolonged tension in our muscles can interfere with all of the body’s functions, causing restricted blood supply to organs and can even result in lowered immunity and poor nutrition.
Muscle tension and The Stress Response
The stress response prepares the body for imminent danger. When there is a perceived threat, (even if this is in our mind), the body reacts by readying itself to confront or escape the danger.
The nervous system sends out chemicals to quicken our heart-rate and breathing, arteries constrict (directing blood to large muscle groups) and our muscles tense as they get ready to either fight or flee. The digestive processes are also halted to allow energy to be used in more critical bodily responses. This is why digestion can become compromised at times of anxiety and tension in our personal lives.
In a true emergency these measures are essential to our safety. However, often the perceived threat is not an actual threat to our life, for instance: when the stressors are work related, pre-exam nerves, financial worries or family, relationship and health related problems. In these circumstances feelings of stress are not useful to our well being and can actually become a source of problems
An Ancient Therapy For Modern Times
Massage has been used as a way of preventing (as well as therapeutically treating) muscular tension, since at least 3000BC.
In massage, the practitioner uses a variety of strokes to manipulate, soothe and relax the muscles, relieving aches and pains.
A massage therapist has knowledge of muscle groups and muscle fibres, and uses this understanding of the anatomy to interpret the source of physical discomfort and release sources of muscular strai
Benefits of Massage
▪ Relieves tension and pain in muscles
▪ Increases circulation and Oxygen supply
▪ Soothes nerves
▪ Increases flexibility and mobility in joints
▪ Clears lactic acid and harmful waste products from body.
▪ Relaxes mind and nervous system
▪ Balancing to hormones and neuro-chemicals
Each treatment is unique to the client and the therapist uses their skills to assess the individual’s needs at the present time, using appropriate strokes to suit their client. The therapist interviews the client in order to ascertain how best to treat the client.
The therapist may use a range of techniques, including light gliding stokes, pulling, wringing or kneading strokes that work deeper into muscle fibres, percussive strokes that involve rapid light touches or taps on the skin to stimulate circulation or vibratory and shaking motion, which helps to relieve knots, and are also soothing to the nervous system.
A good therapist will look for signs of discomfort and adjust their pressure to suit your needs, however you should always feel comfortable in asking your massage practitioner to change the pressure if you require more or less. Essentially, the massage is for your benefit and about getting in touch with your own body. So, lie back! Enjoy! and watch those stress levels drop.