The Physiological Effects of Stress
In my massage practice, I look at the whole picture when clients come in to relieve muscle soreness or promote relaxation. Although there are immediate and obvious causes for the two, there is also a less apparent factor: stress. Stress plays a major role in the onset of disease and injury. Ancient healing traditions, such as Ayurveda of India and Chinese Medicine, have long recognized the state of dis-ease as a movement away from wholeness cause by a disturbance in the mind or body. In Ayurveda, dis-ease is the manifestation of a disturbance in the body or mind caused by the disconnect with our own true nature. Disturbances form in the mind first, called vrittis. Since our body is connected to the conscious and subconscious thoughts of the mind, the disturbances in the mind will create dis-ease in the body.
For example, when we have overworked ourselves to the point of carrying stress, and come home looking for food, we often turn to fried or fatty foods to give us comfort, even though we know that it is unhealthy. This is what is meant by a disturbance between the mind and body. The effect of our distress (or, state of being stressed) is to ignore our inner intellect and make unwise and unhealthy choices. When we operate with a chronic, low-grade stress, it effects many systems in our body, weakens our immune system, hinders our ability to digest our food, and over time can lead toward disease. If we do not treat stress, we are setting ourselves up for health problems later.
Massage therapy is one of the best ways to promote relaxation, work out muscle pains, and lead the mind and body toward wholeness. In my practice I use therapeutic-grade essential oils to add the element of aromatherapy into the treatment. High quality essential oils can lead you towards a relaxed state more quickly and ease-fully than just a massage alone, so I always include them in my treatments.
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