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5th February 2019
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11th July 2019

Everyone gets stressed from time to time, and a little stress can be a good thing; it can keep us motivated, on track, help us meet deadlines and so on.  However, when stress gets out of hand it can be detrimental to our health.  In fact, stress, depression and anxiety account for more days lost to ill-health than any other factor including people suffering musculo-skeletel disorders.1

Unfortunately, some of the things that cause stress are not always within our control.  Certain life events – even positive ones – can increase our likelihood of becoming ill from stress.  According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale2, the ten life events that cause us the most stress are:

  1. Death of spouse
  2. Divorce
  3. Marital separation
  4. Being in prison
  5. Death of close family member
  6. Personal injury/illness
  7. Getting married
  8. Being fired at work/made redundant
  9. Marital reconciliation
  10. Retirement

Most of us can cope with one major life event in a 12-month period, with appropriate support and time to adjust, but when several of these things happen within quick succession, we need to be aware of the impact. This means ensuring we do everything we can to mitigate our stress levels and stay as healthy as possible.

How does stress affect us?

Stress not only impacts us physically with symptoms such as tiredness, headaches, palpitations or sweating, but influences our emotions and mental well-being, manifesting as anxiety, feeling tense, feeling irritable, not being able to relax.  Untreated it can lead to sleep problems, panic attacks, difficulty concentrating or racing thoughts, and can manifest as high blood pressure, lowering our immune system and leaving us feeling run-down and overwhelmed. 

In the short-term, these physical changes are our body’s way of dealing with sudden danger or threats; the flight or fight mechanism, where our heart starts pounding, we might start to sweat, we become ultra-alert and our muscles tense.  These symptoms then fade once the ‘danger’ has passed, but if stress is a constant in your life, you might get stuck in this flight or fight state which is not beneficial for our health.

Stress can even lead us to ‘medicate’ by smoking or drinking more, overeating (or skipping meals) or even taking it out on other people. 

What can I do to make it better?

We can’t always avoid stress, but there are steps we can take to manage it better.  These include mindfulness, calming breathing exercises, relaxation exercises, and making time for yourself.  It’s better to tackle causes of stress head-on when we can rather than avoid things altogether.  Some workplaces even provide training to provide techniques for dealing with stress and signposting towards further help, such as that provided by the NHS self-help guidelines on its website3.

One of the ways of helping to combat stress is to learn how to relax and massage therapy plays an important role in this.  There are many different types of massage therapy and a qualified therapist will be able to provide the one that is right for you.  If you have never had a professional massage before, a Relaxation Massage is a great place to start; it’s great for relaxation and general stress-busting, and helps to warm up the muscles, dispersing toxins and tension from the body.   A good therapist will use a combination of techniques tailored to your own particular need.  The massage is designed to improve circulation, increase oxygen levels to your organs and move fluid through your lymphatic system, cleansing out toxins – all aimed at giving you a renewed sense of well-being.

Here at The Bodyworks Clinic, our Relaxation Massage aims to relieve tension and stress by incorporating the use of aromatic oils and soothing music, all tailored to your needs and preferences.   This treatment also helps you to identify the areas of the body in which you tend to hold stress, so that you can be aware of this and practice relaxation techniques in between massage treatments. 

If headaches and migraines are an issue, Indian Head Massage is another service we offer which can help prevent these by releasing built-up tension in the head and neck area by relieving muscle stiffness.  An Indian Head Massage stimulates the flow of blood, lymph and oxygen in your upper body, and therefore may clear your sinuses, relieve stress and help you sleep better. 

To book an appointment please click here, and select Relaxation Therapy or Indian Head Massage from the services menu.  All of our treatments include a consultation, so that everything is tailored to you.  If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call on 01919082376 or send an email to info@bodyworksclinic.org.  We also offer gift vouchers if you want to treat a relative or friend to one of our relaxation therapies. 

Here’s to tackling stress and improving our well-being!

Written by Gilly Swan

Footnotes/Further information

[1] Health and Safety Executive (2017/18).  Working Days Lost in Great Britain.  http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/dayslost.htm

2 Mindtools.com (2019).  The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTCS_82.htm

3 NHS (2019).  Moodzone: How to Deal With Stress.https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/understanding-stress/