Can massage reduce your stress this year?
What is stress?
We all know what stress feels like but what exactly is it? What is going on inside your mind and body during stressful periods?
Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed and being under too much pressure (emotionally or mentally).
When we are stressed our body does a lot of things without us knowing. This is because stress causes the ‘fight or flight’ scenario and our body needs to override our conscious thought and prioritise physical effectiveness.
Our blood pressure increases along with our heart rate. The rate of breathing is increased and our blood is diverted away from the skin to prevent blood loss.
This is all well and good if we really are in a life and death situation but the vast majority of the time we are not, and the physical benefits are not welcome or healthy long term.
This state of being will use a lot of energy; it will have negative effects on our state of mind too. We will become agitated, tense and irritable, we’ll lack control and our decision making process is hindered.
How massage can reduce stress
Now we have a more clear understanding of stress, what causes it and how it works we are well placed to consider how massage can help reduce it.
First of all you need to recognise that you’re stressed. It sounds easier than it actually is because self evaluation is always difficult, but in general you will notice.
When you know you’re stressed it is time to act. There are lots of ways of doing this but we’re exploring massage in this piece.
Massage is really beneficial to people who are stressed. It can make an instant impact physically by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. It can slow the rate of breathing and release endorphins (those lovely feel good hormones). It can also keep your body in good nick and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Then you can consider the mental well-being it brings. Massage will give you time to think things over, time to meditate and help you analyse situations calmly. It can also help you forget about your problems and completely wind down.
Combine it with the physical benefits which directly combat the effects of stress and the mental benefits and you can see massage is a really effective stress buster to get you back on track in the New Year.