Stress is any change in the environment that requires your body to react and adjust in response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Stress is a normal part of life. Many events that happen to you, around you and many things that you do yourself, put stress on your body. You can experience good or bad forms of stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts.
How Does Stress Affect Health?
The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. Stress can keep us alert and ready to avoid danger. Stress becomes negative (“distress”) when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between challenges. As a result of constant stress, the person becomes overworked and stress-related tension builds.
Distress can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, high blood pressure, chest pain and problems sleeping. Divorce, bereavement, redundancy and trauma all have a major, negative effect on our immune system. Medical research now points to stress hindering our body’s ability to fight cancer cells and other illnesses.
Stress also becomes harmful when people use alcohol, tobacco, drugs or eat too many unhealthy foods to try to relieve their stress. Unfortunately, instead of relieving the stress and returning the body to a relaxed state, these substances tend to keep the body in a stressed state and cause more problems.
Massage Therapy and Stress
Research has shown that it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, relax your muscles and increase the production of endorphins, your body’s natural “feel good” chemical. Serotonin and dopamine are also released through massage and the result is a feeling of calm relaxation that makes chronic or habitual stress much easier to overcome.
In fact, stress relief is one of the first benefits that come to mind when thinking of massage therapy. It’s also a key component for anyone trying to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Clinical studies show that every session significantly lowers your heart rate, your blood pressure, cortisol levels and insulin levels, all of which explain why massage therapy and stress relief go hand-in-hand.
Benefits of Massage Therapy for Stress
Taking care of your body should be at the top of your priorities. By adding therapeutic massage to your routine now, you’ll feel, look and simply be healthier far into the future. In fact, stress relief alone can improve your vitality and state of mind. So what better way to prepare for a long, happy life than a relaxing, therapeutic massage?
In addition to stress relief, ongoing massage therapy can reduce pain, increase energy levels and improve overall physical and mental performance.