Managing stress and overcoming its affects are critical for achieving and maintaining optimal health. My mantra has always been: Eat well, exercise properly and manage your stress for optimal health.
Eat a well-rounded whole food diet full of fresh (preferably organic) fruits and vegetables, staying away from packaged, prepared and genetically modified foods, and drinking plenty of clean, filtered water.
Exercise for balance, as well as strength and cardio. Our bodies and nervous systems were designed for movement. Humans are unique in our ability to stand up and walk around on two legs. In order to accomplish that, our spines curve in and out which allows us to balance in an upright stance. Advances in technology, however, require many of us to sit far too much and use our bodies in ways that were never intended causing repetitive strain disorders and muscular imbalances which cause skeletal imbalances. So, when you exercise, it’s important to balance the muscles used repetitively by focusing on their counterparts. Or cross train.
Stress management is a huge subject, because the causes of stress are so complex. Stress comes in many forms: physical, mental and emotional. Physical stress can be caused by such things as poor diet, injuries and environmental factors such as smog. Mental stress may come from your job, and emotional stress may come from relationships, or even a buildup of other types of stress in the body. The important thing to remember is that the body itself does not differentiate between the various types of stress – all of it is handled in exactly the same way: stored in your tissues somewhere.
The first step to controlling stress is to know and recognize the symptoms of stress. But recognizing stress symptoms may be harder than you think. Most of us are so used to being stressed, we often don’t know we are stressed until we’re at the breaking point.
And, while a little stress every now and then is nothing to be concerned about, ongoing, chronic stress, can cause or exacerbate many serious health problems.
We all experience some form of stress in life. Mental tensions, frustrations, and insecurity cause the most damage. Hormones released by stress shrink the vessels inhibiting circulation. A stressed mind and body means the heart works harder. Breathing becomes rapid and shallow and digestion slows. Nearly every bodily process is degraded. Studies show stress can cause migraines, high blood pressure, depression, etc. In fact, researchers estimate 80% or more of disease is stress related.
And yet, the antidote to stress is readily and easily available: Massage Therapy. Massage helps counteract the effects of stress. Massage knows no age limits. It works wonders on the young, the old and the in-between. It can be especially helpful for the elderly experiencing the effects of aging which can include thinner and drier skin, reduced tissue elasticity, loss of mobility, slower nervous system response, decreased bone mass, sleeplessness, constipation, and a less efficient immune system.
Getting a massage does you a world of good. Getting frequent massage does even more! This is the beauty of bodywork. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you’ll be and how youthful you’ll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health. As a wise man has said “The best time to start taking care of yourself was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.”