Stress is a prevalent component in life which can no longer be eliminated especially now that we are living in a fast-paced world. It can affect life negatively in terms of health and psychological well-being. As they say, there is no cure for stress; however this can be controlled or avoided. Massage therapy has grown in popularity these days due to the increasing number of patients who are getting sick due to stress. Significantly, massage therapists have gone through extensive education and training to address this issue through the administration of various massage techniques. Research has proven that massage can help reduce stress and a number of patients have validated this fact.
How Does Massage Therapy Reduce Stress?
One indication of stress is hardened body muscles and this is what therapists focus on. Massage therapy can help relax tight painful muscles in various parts of the body. It also improves the range of motion in the joint areas and enhances the circulation of blood throughout the system. The body is composed of different stress points that is why therapists perform several techniques in order to target these points accurately.
Massage Therapy Techniques
There are a number of techniques performed by therapists to ensure the comfort and convenience of the patient. Some patients are undressed and are covered with sheets while others remain clothed. When it comes to application, therapists will either use their hands, feet or elbow to aim on the pained area. Technically, massage formats are termed as the following: trigger point, reflexology, sports, deep tissue and Swedish. All these are carried out one after the other depending on the patient’s condition and threshold of pain. A lubricant such as oil is used to carry out the massage effectively. Other forms of massage use warm stones to promote relaxation and release tension.
Reality tells us that stress is already a part of life. While it can be perceived as a negative element, some would see it as a positive motivator in terms of accomplishing an important task or striving for a job promotion. Stress can be temporary in nature such as when you are stuck in the airport due to a delayed flight or cannot get through a traffic jam. When these situations get resolved, the level of stress goes down and then the mind and body can somehow relax. Stress can also be chronic and this is clearly exhibited in the following situations: family problems, chronic illness or financial difficulties. Actually, it is not the situation that causes stress but the body’s responses to these events. The brain can easily sense any stress-related situation and this results to increase in blood pressure and heart rate, tightening of the muscles and abnormality in appetite. In other words, stress brings the body into irregular functioning which is of course, damaging to health. Prolonged periods of stress can even be detrimental as this leads to depression and anxiety. Obviously, stress cannot be eliminated but can be reduced. And this is where massage therapy comes in. Massage calms the mind and body relieving it from stress.
Effects of Stress
The effects of stress can be classified in two types – behavioral/psychological and physical/body. These traits are listed below:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Angry outbursts
- Uncontrolled tobacco use
- Over- or under-eating
- Social withdrawal
- Mood swings
- Irritability or anger
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Sadness or depression
- Stomach upset
- Chest pain
- Sex drive
- Muscle tension or pain
Massage Therapy: Its General Benefits
When massage is done by a licensed practitioner, therapy becomes safer and more effective. This is because therapists have gone through extensive studies, rigid training and exposure to several patients. Their flexibility and expertise in this industry allows them to treat patients efficiently. As they perform the different massage techniques, they help patients shift their thoughts away from worries and at the same time bring the mind and body into a state of relaxation. Massage therapy on St Kilda Road becomes even more effective when it is done in a dimly lit room with soft background music and incense or candles. Regular massage helps a person manage stress-causing conditions better than others.