Relaxation and escape from stress is one of those aspects of life that a person doesn’t quite understand until it happens to them. What I mean is, sometimes a person feels outwardly just fine and they are completely unaware of just how tense they have become. This awareness of one’s stress dissipating may very well be the first awareness of just how tense that person was before.
As a practicing and full time massage therapist I am in an ideal position to realize just how badly I need a massage sometimes. Running a business turned out to be much more labor intensive, time consuming and stressful than I had ever imagined. Sometimes it feels like I spend more time doing laundry than I do actually massaging. Massage therapy itself is very labor intensive and considering all of my other responsibilities i’m very ready for a massage by the end of the week. Getting a good massage after a stressful period can be like starting over fresh.
For most of us, stress is more than something we experience on occasion, it is something we live with every day. We become so accustomed to our daily lives that we don’t even realize that some of the things that we take for granted are actually hurting us. Stress is one of those things that many of us take for granted, and we cope with it without ever realizing just how tense we really are. The only thing that really makes many of us realize just how stressed we are is experiencing how wonderful it feels when the stress is gone.
Stress is dangerous!
Recent and not so recent studies alike provide us with evidence that physical and chemical changes associated with long term stress are likely contributing factors of two of our leading causes of death in the western world, many types of cancer and heart disease. Chronic stress is not just a contributing factor to cancer and heart disease, but it also plays a role in many of the conditions that make our lives harder.
Some basic side effects of stress:
- difficulty getting pregnant
- hair loss
- muscle spasms
- erectile dysfunction
The American Institute of Stress sites 50 signs and symptoms of stress of which I’ll list only a few.
- Frequent headaches, jaw clenching or pain
- Difficulty breathing, frequent sighing
- Neck ache, back pain, muscle spasms
- Trouble learning new information
- Reduced work efficiency or productivity
- Diminished sexual desire or performance
- Weight gain or loss without diet
Now that I’ve listed a few signs and symptoms of chronic stress and perhaps given you the reader a little understanding of how damaging and debilitating stress can be, maybe you will decide to find out for yourself just what life feels like when that burden of stress is lifted from you, if even for a short time.
There are many ways for a person to de-stress, but for many reasons massage is my preferred method of unwinding. I’m not saying this because Massage therapy is my profession. The truth is, I am only one person and between Sandy and myself there are realistically only so many people out there that we can conceivably massage. Its my favorite method because it works. I’ve seen it work so often now that I couldn’t ever hazard a guess as to how many times. A client leaving while saying they feel “so light” is almost an every day occurrence.
I know massage can’t solve everything, but next time you’re feeling wound tight and you just can’t seem to unwind, consider getting a massage. You may be very surprised at just how much better you feel.