April showers may bring May flowers, but “stress storms”, common this time of year (April 17 tax deadlines, changes in seasons, failed New Year’s resolution attempts), can leave you feeling wilted, run down and even depressed. Instead of getting caught in a storm of stress this spring, blow away the winter blues by melting tension and fatigue with regular therapeutic massage sessions that will not only nurture your mind and body, but support your overall well-being.
In today’s plugged in, always on-the-go society, stress can be found in all aspects of your life. While some types of stress can be healthy for your mind and body, a January 2012 study from the American Psychological Association (APA) revealed deepening concerns about the connection between chronic disease and stress. Research continues to show that stress can negatively impact your health by:
- Weakening your immune system, leading to common colds, sicknesses and even more critical medical problems.
- Disrupting sleep problems, leading to fatigue and even insomnia.
- Decreasing positive moods and feelings about yourself and others, leading to depression and an overall sense of unhappiness.
- Causing headaches, upset stomach or digestion, and muscular tension.
- Increasing irritability, anger, anxiety and nervousness.1
Realistically, you may never be able to completely eliminate stress, anxiety and pressure from your life, but there are steps you can start taking today to stop the vicious cycle of being showered with stress. In honor of National Stress Awareness Month this April, you can start by incorporating the following three relaxation strategies into your daily life to promote a more stress-free lifestyle.
Release Mental and Physical Tension
Therapeutic massage is a medically proven method for supporting your health and wellness. Massage can help relieve physical tension such as back/neck pain, reduce stress, increase circulation, and improve your body’s full range of motion. And, by making massage a regular occurrence on your calendar, you will give yourself a designated time each month to release mental and physical tension, lowering the risk of stress piling up to levels that can lead to negative results.
Revive and Reinvigorate Tired, Sore Muscles
Whether you are sitting in front of the computer all day, chasing a toddler around the house or training for a sporting event (or trying to be successful at all three at the same time!), it is more than likely that your hips, back and neck may feel sore and fatigued at the end of the day. By loosening these common stress carrying muscle groups on a regular basis, you can instantly de-stress your mind and body. Deep tissue massage specifically can break up scar tissue and help muscles recover more quickly so you can bounce back faster from a hard gym workout or working on a computer screen for 12 hours a day. Not only will your body feel more revived and stronger after a massage, but your mind also will be sharper, helping you maintain a more consistent focus on all of your day-to-day activities.
Take Time to Get in Touch with Yourself
Massage can help you establish a balance in your life that is not only good for your mental and muscle health, but also your body’s internal system well-being. Studies show that leading factors of medical problems and common illnesses can occur from overworking yourself, carrying too much stress and not dedicating enough time to relaxing your mind and body on a regular basis. It’s important to carve out 15 minutes a day (daily meditation), one day a week (designated “Me” time) and once a month (monthly therapeutic massage) to devote time and energy into establishing a positive mind/body connection.
By implementing these three stress reducing habits, you are well on your way to avoiding a stress storm this spring and giving yourself the opportunity to stop and take time to smell the flowers. The skilled massage therapists at Elements Therapeutic Massage are available to listen to your individual needs and will use the proper techniques to deliver a truly therapeutic experience. Call your local Elements studio today to begin experiencing all of the stress management benefits of massage therapy.
1 Stress in America™, Our Health at Risk, American Psychological Association, January 2012.