Now we all know that after a good workout our muscles ache what is known as (DOMS) but we wont go into that today. Those aches can be off-putting and demotivating, leading to a less active lifestyle which in turn doesn’t help the body. Lack of exercise can lead the body to become stressed and tired, so as you can see this becomes a vicious circle. In a worse case scenario we become depressed and gain weight leading to many other physical and mental health issues.
What massage offers is an answer to these problems. Massages can help relax tight and painful muscles. Not only that but they can improve range of motion in the joints, enhance circulation and lower stress levels.
Since there are many different massage therapies available, it may require some trial and error to find the right therapist and massage technique to reduce your stress level.
There are many therapies and techniques, each similar in one respect and very different in others. You may be put off by massages with the very thought out getting undressed in front of a complete stranger, but fear not, there are other techniques out there that don’t require us to get naked. You may also like or not like being touched for long periods of time and again that doesn’t have to be a problem as there are techniques out there that offer short and quick periods of skin contact and are recommended as well as researched to be very effective.
According to the Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the main forms of massage include Swedish, deep tissue, sports, reflexology and trigger point. Some forms of massage use oils and others use warm stones to release tension and promote relaxation. Talk to several massage therapists about their specific type of massage and how it may reduce your stress.
I wanted to bring to your attention a technique that you may or may not have heard of, although its one I’ve found very effective after trying many other Therapies including those previously mentioned. This technique is known as Bowen Technique and one of the reasons I wanted to bring it to the discussion, is due to the non-invasive approach, which is appealing to those of us that have insecurities about our bodies or would just prefer to not be overly touched by a stranger.
Bowen technique is a technique that targets certain points on the body with gentle rolling movements to help it balance, repair and reset itself. Developed in the 1950s by Tom Bowen, this therapy is reported to help with a number of conditions and can address symptoms of stress and anxiety. It is important to note that Bowen therapy focuses on the whole person, not just the condition. The Bowen therapist will know a number of movements that affect certain areas of the body.
Check out this link for a quick explanation on Bowen technique https://youtu.be/EBnvjYvRFys
Now lets look at what we should consider when choosing the right therapy for us:
Stress can be a positive motivator when striving for a promotion or accomplishing an important task. Stress may be temporary, such as being stuck in traffic or delayed at the airport. However, the American Psychological Association states that stress may also be chronic — during financial difficulties, chronic illness or dealing with family issues. It is not necessarily the event, but rather your body’s response to the event that causes stress. When the brain senses any kind of stress, your heart rate and blood pressure rise, and your muscles tighten.
How do we know whether the stress were feeling will have a long term effect on our health?
According to research conducted by the APA, feelings of stress that continue for long periods (3+ months) have a detrimental effect on the body. An effective way and one which I recommend to battle against stress and other mental and physical health issues is massage as it helps you relax by calming the mind and body and relieving your stress.
General Benefits of massage
When administered by a well-trained and licensed practitioner, massage therapy and techniques like Bowen technique have been proven to help with conditions that affect your state of mind, including stress, depression and anxiety.
A massage helps you shift your thoughts away from everyday worries and allows your body and mind to relax. Massage also helps you feel that you’re in control over your health and plays an active role in managing chronic illnesses. Many massage techniques are practiced in a quiet and dimly lit room. Some therapists have soft music in the background and use candles or incense to help you relax.
When we exercise we put our body under lots of stress and this is a must if we want to reap the benefits of the efforts. One of the effects of this activation of the stress response is that it causes the muscles throughout the body to tense up. When the event ends, the muscles relax. However, if stress is constant, the muscles may remain in a slightly tensed state, for example after a long session in the gym or after several days of working out. This may lead to joint aches and pains, headaches, chronic back and neck pain and other symptoms.
According to the National Institutes of Health, massage therapy and techniques like Bowen technique may help relieve your muscle tension. A massage therapist uses various techniques to rub, stroke, stretch or apply pressure to the muscles to help them return to a relaxed state, which in turn reduces your stress-related aches and pains.
Immune and Digestive System Benefits
When responding to stress, the body conserves energy by suppressing the digestive and immune systems. Circulation is increased to the heart, muscles and lungs. With chronic stress, this reaction may lead to decreased immune system activity, which increases the risk of colds, flus and immune system diseases.
Problems with digestion and elimination may also accompany chronic stress. Massage may help restore normal circulation, improve immune system activity and play a role in restoring normal digestive system function, according to the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center.
To summarize, by combining fitness and massage therapy into our weekly/monthly routines, we’re essentially reducing our stress levels, improving our health in many ways other than just looking and feeling great, e.g. less colds and flus, a stronger immune system etc. Therefore, leaving us in control and with much more energy to focus on our personal goals and start enjoying life.
Exercise should also be a pleasure, even though it can be and perhaps should be torture. It should also be accompanied by message therapy including Bowen technique on a weekly/monthly bases, which is guaranteed to improve your performance and have you Improving and developing and a much faster and efficient pace.
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Also check out my other blogs, all written to support a global wellness and provide you with all the wellness essentials.