Stress is an unavoidable part of everyday life. Everyone has experienced it at least once in their life. While some stress can be beneficial to you, too much can be harmful to your health and, as a result, your ability to work.
Engaging in activities that allow you to feel more calm and present is the best strategy to combat and reduce stress. There are several ways to cope including exercising regularly, meditating, or taking organized timeouts. Another beneficial activity is massage therapy is a tried-and-true technique for reducing stress and its detrimental effects on the mind and body.
The benefits of massage are widely known. It is now available in offices, clinics, malls, and even airports. It has been proven to trigger the body’s natural happy hormones, leaving you feeling more relaxed and less worried.
Causes of Stress
The source of your stress may be already something you’re well aware of. However, given the significance of managing stress to reduce the negative impact it can have on your physical and mental health, it’s worth considering the potential that other factors are at play as well.
- Financial Problems
A study has shown that money is one of the leading sources of stress for Canadians. Financial stress has caused more than half of respondents (51%) to lose sleep, and one-third (31%) say it has also led to health difficulties, according to the 2021 survey.
Long-term, financial stress causes distress, which can lead to high blood pressure, headaches, upset stomach, chest pain, insomnia, and a general feeling of ill health. Financial stress has also been connected to depression, anxiety, skin disorders, diabetes, and arthritis.
Too much work, job uncertainty, displeasure with a career, and disagreements with a boss or co-workers are all factors that can lead to job stress. Workplace stress can also be influenced by a person’s mental health, overall well-being, and personal life, among other things. Putting your career first over other aspects can harm your life, including personal relationships and mental and physical health
- Personal Relationships
We all have people in our lives who bring us stress. It could be a close relative, a romantic partner, a friend, or a colleague. Toxic people exist in every aspect of our lives, and the stress we experience as a result of these connections can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health.
Personal connection stress is also linked to interactions with people on social media platforms like Facebook. For one, social media may encourage you to compare yourself to others, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and stress. It also facilitates bullying.
- Day-to-day Life
Misplaced keys, being late, and forgetting an important item at home are examples of daily inconveniences that can easily stress people out. These are usually small setbacks, but if they occur frequently enough, they can become a cause of anxiety, negatively impacting physical and/or psychological health. The stress of being overworked is also becoming increasingly common. People are busier than ever these days, which adds a lot of stress to their life.
- Personality and Resources
Your personal qualities and the resources you have at your disposal can also be stressors on their own. Perfectionists, for example, may inadvertently add stress to their lives as a result of their high standards, suffering more negative mental and physical health consequences than those who just strive for great success.
Those who have the financial means to hire help can delegate tedious chores, giving them an advantage over those who are struggling to make ends meet and must work harder to save money.
What Happens to Your Body When Stressed?
When your fight-or-flight reaction is constantly activated, it can cause a variety of symptoms that are potentially harmful to your health. Your body may react in various ways, but a few warning signs include:
- Breathing Problems
- Chest Compressions
- Excessive Sweating
- Heart Palpitations
- Rapid Heart Rate
- Stomach Pains
Stress-inducing events or circumstances force your body has to work harder to maintain good oxygen and blood supply. When you’re under a lot of stress, your body has to keep up with a spike in glucose levels, which increases your risk of Type-2 Diabetes and digestive problems like acid reflux and constipation. If neglected, it can weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to sickness.
How Does Massage Reduce Anxiety?
The positive effects of a good rubdown transcend beyond relaxation and reach much deeper than you might believe. The effect that massage therapy has on stress has far-reaching implications on your health as well.
Getting a massage for stress and anxiety can have the following response
- Triggers a relaxation response
The mere act of contact and methodical kneading helps the muscles to loosen. Massage allows the body to slow down, moving it from a heightened level of worry to a more tranquil, relaxed condition. Serotonin, the body’s inherent happy and relaxation hormone, triggers this emotional response. The same hormone aids with basic activities including eating, digesting, and sleeping, as well as mood stabilization.
- Lowers blood pressure
Massage has been found to help decrease blood pressure by calming the sympathetic nervous system and improving blood circulation. By facilitating the flow of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood around the muscles and internal organs, the body can grow, recover, and heal.
- Increase immune function
Massage increases the number of white blood cells in the body, which aids in disease defence. Additionally, it boosts the activity of the body’s natural “killer T cells,” which enhances immunological function in HIV patients.
- Improve sleep
Direct pressure and manipulation of muscles in the neck, shoulders, back, and even the legs and feet promotes melatonin production. Massage also lowers cortisol, a stress hormone that can interfere with sleep patterns. The hormone dopamine takes its place, stabilizing your mood and assisting in the creation of the calm state required for healthy sleep. Massage therapy can be enhanced with essential oils such as lavender to further entice the body into that pleasant state.
- Ease muscle tension
When you’re anxious, your body unconsciously tightens up, generating tense muscles. Muscles can shorten as a result of high amounts of tension in the body, inhibiting movement and causing pain. Massage relaxes muscles and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to reduce tension and relieve chronic pain. Patients may require more than one massage to relieve tension headache and muscle tension, but even with only one session, they will see significant results.
- Boost mental health and wellness
Massage has been shown to improve mood and well-being by activating the receptors, nerves, and hormones responsible for mood regulation. It has also been shown to increase vagal nerve activity, which is often low among individuals with depression. Cortisol levels drop when this nerve is stimulated, putting the body in a calmer and more pleasant condition.
Further research has found that after receiving a massage, activity in the right frontal lobe of the brain, the region connected with negative emotion, dropped and transferred to the left frontal lobe, which regulates mood and stress.
Are you in search of a “stress massage therapy near me?” Fairway Chiropractic Centre offers massage in Waterloo and Kitchener, so you are never too far from a relaxing and stress-free day! Call us at 519-748-5535 to book an appointment.