Stress affects the body in various ways and while we usually speak about stress in a negative context, there are positive attributes to a little pressure spurring us on. A certain level of stress can be a motivator to help you achieve a goal. Physiologically, stress activates the fight or flight reaction in the body. It mobilizes certain reactions within our internal chemistry that helps our mind and body to be ready for action and push through whether that’s to meet a deadline, fight off an attacker or simply make it to the end of a long working day or week when we would have otherwise crumbled under the pressure due to fatigue or illness. It’s the body’s equivalent of hitting the turbo button. But just like an impressive piece of machinery our bodies are not designed to work at super high octane levels for a prolonged period of time. And just like an engine that has been super charged, if there is no rest from the high demands of fight or flight, things start to go wrong, we burn out and our internal chemistry goes into a tailspin.
By not allowing ample down time after periods of high stress, we do not give the body the chance to enter the other equally important phase which is aptly named rest and digest. The high stress fight and flight phase can be damaging to the body and in order to avoid long term or permanent damage to the body’s systems we must replenish ourselves with the rest and digest phase. When we don’t, as many of us are prone to, we find our impressive machinery starts to break down which has been highlighted by the scary increase in chronic disease that we see in today’s society.
Evidence based research has shown that as well as other lifestyle choices such as a poor diet, irregular exercise habits and improper sleep regimes, high levels of stress contributes to many avoidable health conditions. Such conditions include but are not limited to:
- Digestive disorders such as IBS, ulcers, and heartburn
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease including increased risk of stroke and heart attack
- Infertility (1 in 5 couples are considered infertile)
- High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol
- Depression and anxiety
- Autoimmune disease including but not limited to Lupus, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Thyroid Disorders
- Skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
- Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Lowered Immunity (frequent coughs and colds)
One way to help your body recover from the tortures of stress is to have a massage. It is well known that massage therapy is used to relieve muscular tension, increase flexibility and restore muscular function where injury or imbalance has resulted in pain, dysfunction or weakness. However there is also evidence to suggest that massage therapy may help increase digestive function, lower blood pressure, reduce acidity in muscle tissue, increase immune function, regulate hormonal imbalance, relieve tension, help with depression and anxiety as well as trigger the release of endorphins which are not only the body’s own natural painkillers but may be responsible for causing a natural feeling of happiness and wellness.
If you are feeling stressed, anxious or run down, call us today and book in for a massage. Not only is it good for keeping healthy long term, but it will bring a smile to your face as well!