For most people, dealing with stress is something they have to deal with every day. Modern living means living a fast-paced lifestyle and this can contribute to stress.
Stress is a biological reaction is rooted to our body’s flight or fight response. This occurs when stress hormone cortisol and adrenaline flood the system during stressful situations. The fight or flight response helped our ancestors survive extreme weather conditions, predatory animals, and altercations with their own kind. These days, we experience a different kind of stress: from work, home chores, responsibilities, conflicts, bills, and so on.
The Effects of Stress
Mental and Behavioral Changes
Stressed out individuals are prone to angry outburst, social withdrawal and even stress eating. In some cases, stress led to drug or alcohol abuse. Sustained cortisol and adrenaline level in the body could also cause mood changes including anxiety, depression, lack of focus or irritability. It can also lead to depression, lack of motivation and restlessness.
Apart from mental and behavioral changes, too much stress can also take a toll on the body. It causes migraine headaches, muscle pain, chronic fatigue and disrupted sleep. Stress can also cause reproductive problems, gastrointestinal issues and even cardiovascular diseases.
An elevated level of cortisol in the bloodstream weakens the heart and the immune system. This makes you more vulnerable to heart disease, arterial disorders, and infections.
Massage Therapy in History
There could be hundreds of ways to deal with stress, but none is as relaxing as getting a massage. Massage is so popular that even stressed-out busybodies take the time to schedule a day in the spa. Stress relief helps restore vitality while clearing the mind. And what better way to invigorate the spirits than a relaxing massage.
Massage therapy is surprisingly an ancient treatment. It was first described in China 2,500 years ago. In 400 BC Greek healer, Hippocrates also used massage therapy to treat sprains and muscle pain. Alternative healing methods such as traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have their own versions of massage therapy to address various health issues.
Benefits of Massage Therapy
One of the most important benefits of a good massage is it promotes relaxation. Massage therapy soothes tired, tense muscles and eases frayed nerves. It’s a proven remedy for stress, anxiety and depression too!
One way to cancel out the elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the body is through a relaxing massage. Apart from soothing frayed nerves, massage therapy also floods the body with endorphins dopamine and serotonin. Endorphins are hormones that enhances mood and promote calmness. This is the reason why you feel happy and relaxed each time you get a massage!
Keeps the Heart Healthy
Studies show that an hour and a half massage effectively slows down the heartbeat, diffuses stress and reduces cortisol levels. A massage also helps regulate insulin level. All these keep the heart healthy and promote immunity.
Reduces Aches and Pains
Whether you sustained an injury or you’re suffering from painful joints, massage therapy helps reduce acute and chronic aches and pains. It helps soothe tired and sore muscles as well as painful nerves or inflamed tendons.