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Benefits of Medical Massage for Relieving Stress
The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. Stress can be positive, keeping us alert and ready to avoid danger. Stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between challenges. As a result, the person becomes overworked, and stress-related tension builds.
Research suggests that stress can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases.
Stress that continues without relief can lead to disturbance the body’s internal balance or equilibrium—leading to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping.
Stress also becomes harmful when people use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs 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. Consider the following facts:
- Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
- 75 to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
- Stress is linked to six of the leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.
It’s long been suspected that a difficult life can make people look old before their time. New research shows that stress actually does age us prematurely—right down to our DNA. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, studied the DNA of 39 women who had spent years caring for their chronically ill children. They found that the more stressed the woman, the greater the wear on her DNA. The difference was so dramatic that the researchers estimated that the cells of the highly stressed moms had undergone the equivalent of 10 years of additional aging compared to the low-stress group. “Older” cells, in turn, can be vulnerable to a host of diseases.
Studies show that stressful situations can develop into more threatening health conditions. For instance:
A sudden or unexpected stressor can activate your adrenal glands, which sends adrenaline and other hormones into your bloodstream. This brings about an increase in your breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and blood flow to the muscles. This physical response was appropriate generations ago when it was needed for our very survival, but today much of our stress is emotional. With the high number of mental stress incidents that we can experience each day, these repetitive physical responses can begin to wear out all of the body’s complex systems.
When your stress is chronic, your body releases cortisol, a hormone designed to help the body handle a period of prolonged physical stress. This hormone is hard for the body to metabolize and consequently can lead to an immune system that becomes heavily suppressed, a damaged cardiovascular system, and a worn out endocrine system (the system responsible for handling stressful conditions).
The following are some of the common stress symptoms:
- Frequent headaches, jaw clenching, or teeth grinding
- Neck ache, back pain, or muscle spasms
- Frequent colds and infections
- Rashes, itching, hives or unexplained allergy attacks
- Chest pain, palpitations, or rapid pulse
- Excess anxiety, worry, guilt or nervousness
- Depression or frequent mood swings
- Insomnia or nightmares
- Difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, confusion
- Significant weight gain or loss without diet change
- Nervous habits such as fidgeting
- Constant tiredness, weakness, or fatigue
Regular massage is the ideal remedy for a stressful life. You first experience the relief from massage’s soothing movements that can loosen tense muscles, but there are so many more benefits.
Massage can open the lines of communication throughout your body. For instance, your blood and lymph circulation is increased, which helps all parts of your body to receive essential nutrients, dispose of waste products, and defend against disease.
Stress may take its greatest toll on the nervous system. Massage can address the imbalances that stress causes in your body by stimulating the sensory receptors that interconnect and harmonize all areas of your body, bringing it back into proper balance. This brings about that sense of happiness, feeling of well-being and awareness of mind- body connection.
Studies from the Touch Research Institute in Miami indicate that stress hormones consistently fall after therapeutic massage, no matter what the age of the client. Workers receiving massages showed brain waves that reflect greater attention, mental alertness, and capability for clear thinking, and their feelings of job stress were markedly reduced. Nighttime sleep patterns also improved.
Between massage therapy, try to lessen stress in your life by managing it:
- Identify the causes of stress and get help to cope with hard-to-solve problems.
- Share your thoughts and feelings and become mentally and physically fit.
- Simplify your life and develop a sense of humor and have some fun
- Manage your time & conserve your energy.
- Set short-term and life goals for yourself.