There is a certain amount of stress that is actually considered a healthy and necessary component for optimal health. Stress is what puts our body and mind alert. It can help us to complete a task efficiently and effectively that we wouldn’t have mastered as successfully without the extra boost of cortisol. On the other hand, too much stress can impair our ability to perform and think, making even the simplest situations seem like life or death. If stress has you on the edge, soft tissue therapy can assist you in restoring healthy stress levels.
It is important to understand our body’s stress response to understand why massage is so effective in relieving stress. Stress begins when demands are placed on you. In your mind, you evaluate whether or not those demands are threatening in some way. When your brain decides that there is a possibility of harm, it triggers a stress response. This response is also known as the “fight or flight” response because it produces the same physical changes that enabled our ancient ancestors to fight or flee from predators.
All of the physiological changes that occur in your body during this response happen for one reason: to prepare your body for physical action. Your muscles tense, your heart rate and blood pressure increase, and your breathing becomes faster and shallower. Your digestive and reproductive systems shut down to conserve energy. Hormones are released to keep you awake and alert. Fats and sugars are released into your bloodstream for energy.
Unfortunately, fighting or fleeing are rarely helpful in dealing with most of the stresses we face these days, such as money worries, relationship problems, or work issues. And if you don’t have a physical outlet, stress builds up in your body and it becomes increasingly difficult to get rid of it.
Over time, you get caught in a stress cycle where you find it harder and harder to slow down and relax. Tension can turn into chronic headache or perhaps neck, shoulder, and back pain. You may not be able to sleep well, you never seem to feel rested. You have little energy to deal effectively with problems and it becomes increasingly difficult to cope with even small stresses.
If you are under severe or chronic stress, massage can be a quick and effective way to break the stress cycle. Massage triggers a relaxation response that counteracts the stress response and helps your body restore its balance. Your breathing begins to deepen, your heart rate and blood pressure decrease, and muscles begin to relax. Painful sensations gradually subside and your mind calms down too, feelings of anxiety are reduced, and your mood improves.
Massage also enhances your body awareness, allowing you to notice first signs of stress and tension faster. Pay attention to the early warning signs gives you the ability to control stress before it takes over your life. Book your stress break today or reach out with any further questions, I’m happy to help.