Image by Pandiyan via Flickr
Stress has a tendency to settle in the muscles, making them tense and eventually painful. For myself, it’s especially the jaw-muscles which tense up and can become so tense and sore that it can be hard to yawn. For many mothers I’ve treated tension is located in shoulders and back. For working people it’s often neck and shoulders.
Stress is an emotional response to situations we’re faced with, which often manifests itself physically. When muscles tense up, their function is impaired. Other muscles have to take over part of the work and become strained as they’re forced to do work they’re not meant for. Tense muscles also affects the blood flow in the area, which impairs the effectiveness of the immune system as the white blood cells can’t easily go to an infected area. Tension also reduces the lymphatic process which serves to transport waste products away from the affected and neighbouring areas.
It is then no surprise that stress, and the following muscular tensions, can lead to a number of diseases and injuries. I’ve read statements that as high a number as 95% of all diseases and sicknesses are caused by stress. That is a lot. 95% because of stress.
Stress is also the most widespread ailment in Western society today. Not many people have time to take room for themselves to pause, stop up, relax and just let go of daily life for half an hour every day. We have many things to consider and many demands placed on our shoulders.
With the current worldwide financial crisis and all the uncertainty that brings along, it is a given that stress has increased and it’s even more important we focus on reducing stress.
Massage and bodywork is useful on many levels. The physical work of the massage release the tension from the muscles, allowing them to function optimally again. On a mental level massage is highly relaxing and de-stressing as you lie passively for perhaps an hour, being forced to let go of the urge to do things. A massage gives you that break and pause you need to recharge and bring a bit of distance into the picture.
So don’t forget to take those breaks and grant yourself massages regularly, even if the money are tight and you’re busy. It can be the factor that makes the difference between sailing out of the crisis in good health, and sinking in the storm.