When confronted with a sudden threat, the human body instinctively prepares for "fight or flight" as a stress response: the heart pounds, blood pressure rises, breathing is shallow, adrenalin production increases, palms become cold and sweaty, and blood flow to the extremities is decreased. This natural response is well designed for life-threatening situations.
When the threat is over, a relaxation response is automatically triggered: the muscles relax, breathing deepens, blood pressure decreases, and the heart slows. The body gradually returns to the normal pace designed for everyday living.
Modern Day Stress
The problem with modern day stresses is that they are not typically of the immediate life-threatening types that produce the quick "fight or flight" and relaxation responses. They are more likely to be caused by such on-going stresses as relationships, job performance, deadline pressures, and financial problems. Instead of being occasional events, these stresses can become a part of one's lifestyle. As a result, many people experience continual stress, which means that their bodies are constantly producing biochemical, physiologic, and psychological changes that can affect their well-being, productivity, and personality.
Results Of Unrelieved Stress
When stress is not relieved by the relaxation response, the results can become life threatening. The constant presence of stress hormones in the body can weaken the immune system, making us more susceptible to disease and dysfunction.
In today's high-pressure society, the effects of stress are increasingly evident. People from all walks of life are affected...from executive to laborer, parent to child, infant to elderly.
Stress is exhibited by many symptoms: anxiety, headaches, sleep disorders, digestive problems, loss of productivity, inability to concentrate, neck aches, changes in blood sugar, nervousness, irritability, increased blood pressure and breathing rate, heart palpitations, poor circulation, chronic muscle spasms, chronic fatigue, and inhibition of the immune system.
A Beneficial Regimen
Receiving massage or bodywork on a regular basis has proven to be beneficial in the reduction of stress. Once a week is optimal, however a bi-weekly or once-a-month regimen will accomplish a satisfactory level of stress reduction. The tremendous benefits derived from a program of regularly scheduled massage or bodywork sessions far outweigh and easily justify the investment of time and money.
Massage/bodywork techniques trigger many relaxation responses: to breathe more deeply, to ease muscle tension, and to slow down to our body's normal pace for everyday living. It is useful in relieving fatigue and tension, improving circulation, providing increased mobility, and acting as a sedative to the nervous system.
Benefits Of Massage And Bodywork
Massage and bodywork can help individuals become more aware of their daily stress level. It can also help them to recognize what true relaxation feels like so that they can more easily recreate it for themselves before stress becomes chronic and damaging. Having this downtime from stress can enhance one's ability to enjoy and cope with life, as well as increase one's energy level and vitality. The stresses and strains of modern living have given massage and bodywork new recognition and acceptance as part of an overall beneficial plan for maintaining good health.