I know from talking to a lot of my friends and clients that stress is the one biggy in terms of sleep being affected, headaches being caused and just simply that general feeling of being overwhelmed. Shoulders and necks tighten as our trapezius muscles shorten, the muscle fibres bunch together causing our long suffering bones to be pulled out of alignment.. cracks can be heard as you stretch your neck, trying to find that elusive release.. and these are just a small proportion of the short term effects that stress can cause, the long term effects can really start to cause you problems.
Ruby Wax talks in a TED lecture about how our bodies and minds are not formulated to cope with today’s fast paced life. The fight and flight response that cortisol (stress hormone) stimulates when faced with danger was great when it was the odd sabre toothed tiger was coming our way, we were either killed or managed to survive and then the danger was over and we would relax until the next one reared it’s head. However in the environment we live in now, cortisol is released in a constant drip feed throughout our bodies. The car not starting; the boiler breaking; forgetting to pay for a school trip; burning the porridge; an argument with your partner about who didn’t pay the phone bill. Each day our body is in that fight or flight mode and what happens to the body as a result of not going into relaxation mode afterwards? This excerpt from About.com lists the negative impacts:
- Impaired cognitive performance
- Suppressed thyroid function
- Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia
- Decreased bone density
- Decrease in muscle tissue
- Higher blood pressure
- Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, slowed wound healing, and other health consequences
- Increased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, the development of metabolic syndrome, higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems!
There are plenty of ways to combat stress but despite the joys of sinking one glass too many or gorging on food, these in themselves can have a negative impact on your health. This is where natural health therapies come in to their own. By having that time, whether it is for 15 minutes, half an hour or an hour and a half; when someone else is taking the time to focus on your mental, emotional or physical needs, you are in effect giving yourself permission to relax; to regenerate; to heal. Learning to meditate on a daily basis or practicing deep breathing exercises are non-financially dependent methods to enable you to take control of your stress levels. Click here for more information.
For those of you that would like to experience Relaxation in a Bottle however, I am thinking of holding Stress Buster Clinics at my house on a regular basis. They will be informal opportunities for you to have a taster treatment of your choice for a small charge and will hopefully give you the space to consider how you could be combatting chronic stress on a regular basis.
The treatments on offer would be; foot massage with wax or oils, reflexology, hand reflexology, head/neck/shoulder massage, arm and hand massage, reiki. There will be a lovely aromatic foot bath for those that would like to bathe their feet before their treatment. Herbal teas on offer with some delightful essential oils burning in the room.
I have compiled some polls to see your thoughts on attending a Stress Buster Clinic so please vote and depending on the answers will depend on whether or not they go ahead!