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People have a hard time coping with the demands of life nowadays. Too much pressure at work, keeping own skills up to date, balancing home and working life – all these create much pressure on most of us. Pretty soon these demands and pressures get somatised or physical symptoms of ill being start to manifest. Ill-being is the absence of well being and is the stage before actual illness or disease.
What is Stress?
Contrary to common usage of the term ‘stress‘, stress is not the pressure from the outside- the bitter divorce, the death of a loved one, the mounting pile of bills or the pressing deadlines. These are stressors. Our response to these situations is stress.
Stress is a psychological and physiological response to events that threaten or upset our personal balance in some manner. When danger is sensed, the hypothalamus area of the brain triggers a chemical alarm. The sympathetic nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, called adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol, which race through the bloodstream, preparing us to either flee the scene or hold ground and fight it out. Our heartbeat rate and blood flow to the large muscles increase. This enables us to run faster and fight harder. Blood vessels under the skin constrict to prevent blood loss in case of injury, eye pupils dilate so we can see better or more sharply. Our blood sugar levels jump, giving us extra energy and cutting down reaction time. This automatic reaction to threat or stressors is known as the stress response. When it works properly, the human body’s stress response increases a person’s ability to perform efficiently under pressure.
However one should not forget that in addition to external pressures and demands much stress is also self-generated. Some internal causes of stress:
- Excessive worrying
- Pessimistic attitude
- Overt self-criticism
- Unrealistic expectations or beliefs
- Low self-esteem
- Excessive or repressed anger
Different types of stress
In the modern world, most of the stress we feel is in response to psychological rather than physical threats. People show different symptoms of stress. Some people mostly show physical symptoms, such as headaches, migraines, irregular heartbeats, lower back pain, stomach problems and skin problems. In others we can detect emotional symptoms, such as getting irritated easily, extreme mood swings or depression while some people show stress in their behaviour more easily than others.
- Headaches or backaches
- Muscle tension and stiffness in different parts of the body
- Nausea, dizziness
- Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
- Skin problems (e.g. eczema)
- Reduced sex drive
- Short temper
- Sense of loneliness and isolation
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Procrastination, neglecting responsibilities
- Using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax
- Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting)
There is extensive research which shows that 60 to 90 percent of illness is stress-related. Excessive stress restricts your ability to fight off disease and infection, throws your digestive system off balance and makes getting pregnant difficult. Children also suffer from stress, especially when their parents are going through a divorce. Stress can even limit growth in children. Chronic stress erodes your mental health, causing emotional damage as well as physical ailments.
Relief from Stress and Stress management
The goal of all attempts at relief from stress or stress management is to disarm the stress response and bring your nervous system back into balance, giving you a sense of calmness and control in your life. However, handling your stress on your own can be exceedingly difficult if you are very stressed. Seeking help is the best choice in that situation. Professional help from psychologists or psychiatrists is recommended in extreme cases of stress. Relaxation techniques, meditation and Shiatsu massage therapy are some of the methods used very successfully to get help from stress in most cases.
How Shiatsu can bring relief from stress
Shiatsu therapy can bring you relief from stress. Shiatsu therapy is very user-friendly as it doesn’t require any special diets, demanding exercises, expensive medication or total lifestyle changes. You don’t need to walk on burning coals or have needles stuck into you. You just lie down, relax and let your therapist do the bodywork.
Shiatsu helps people suffering from stress in four ways
- Shiatsu triggers the body’s natural healing mechanism
- It helps balance and maintain the body’s systems
- It actively promotes healthy metabolism
- It treats the whole body
The most important benefit of Shiatsu is that it activates relaxation and triggers your body’s natural healing capacity. The key benefits of Shiatsu are produced through the autonomic nervous system which coordinates and monitors all involuntary functions – such as breathing, hormonal secretions, enzymes production, body temperature and so on.
Shiatsu regulates the nervous system and promotes natural healing by stimulating chemical responses in the body. Shiatsu treatment focuses specifically on applying pressure to various parts of the body to achieve the desired result of alleviating the symptoms. There are 838 basic shiatsu pressure points, or Atten in Japanese, located on the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, lymph vessels, bones and endocrine glands.
Shiatsu is a form of massage therapy developed in Japan. The patient’s case history, the therapist’s skill and intuition to apply theory create a unique treatment for each patient. Depending on the condition of the body, the therapist applies proper types of pressure. The tighter the muscles are, the lighter the pressure. As the muscles relax, the pressure becomes deeper but is always firm and steady. This triggers the release of hormones and body chemicals necessary to heal, to soothe and to make you mind and body perform optimally. This method of triggering the own healing system of the body does not produce side effects or toxins and is thus a totally healthy way of getting relief from stress.
Let Shiatsu make you healthy and happy!