Can one hour a week of therapy, massage and/or foot reflexology lower your blood pressure, decrease your risk of cancer, improve your cardio-vascular efficiency, decrease depression, increase energy and help you sleep better? The answer is YES to all of the above.
Stress and stress-related diseases are increasing in our modern day culture. “The leading causes of mortality in industrialized nations have shifted from the infectious illnesses that were prevalent at the beginning of this century to the chronic and lifestyle-related illnesses now accounting for the majority of deaths”.
In the UK, stress causes workers to miss an average of 10 days on the job each year. Stress affects everyone and stress disorders are based upon a slow and developmental accumulation of psychological and physical stress responses throughout the life of the individual.
Potentially, one of the most negative results of excessive levels of stress is the effect on immune responses.
The effects of stress are physical. The voluntary nervous system sends messages to your muscles to fight or flee. In response to this immediate tension in your body, the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary body functions, will prepare you by sending extra blood to your muscles. It will also slow digestion, mental clarity and some organ functions. There are also hormonal responses that produce many hypersensitive effects on the body. In essence, your body becomes a machine preparing for attack and shutting down many vital organ functions you need to maintain health.
Most individuals have a difficult time recognizing stress in the body until it becomes an obvious problem such as: severe backache, chronic indigestion, headaches, constant colds, lack of energy and often depression. When it reaches the stage of physical and mental imbalances, it has become a problem.
Bodywork is a major factor in helping us to identify where the stress is located in the body.
Body work will not only identify the stress holding patterns, it will educate the body in returning to balance before it becomes a major physical problem.
Research has shown that body work:
- Helps appropriate movement of fluids through the system including lymph, blood in the arteries and veins, glandular secretions and removal of toxic waste
- Increases muscle response such as elasticity of connective tissue, diminishes muscle fatigue, and increases muscle energy
- Restores vital organ function including respiration and circulation
- Increases neural activity benefiting both the central and peripheral nervous systems
- Increases the balance in reflex patterns
- Restores general balance to stress overload
Body work restores our coping mechanisms and allows for physical and emotional balance to occur before it becomes a major problem.
Each individual is a unique and complex interaction of body, mind and spirit. “Illness can best be understood as a disturbance within the dynamic balance of these relationships. The state of health exists when these elements function in harmony.”
Bodywork, which promotes this harmony, is not just a luxury, but should be a significant part of our integrative approach to health and wellness.