Not all stress is bad.
It’s actually part of our body’s natural fight-or-flight reaction, an indicator of excitement and motivation, and beneficial in small doses. It causes a burst of adrenaline to course through the body, so your heart rate increases, your energy diverts to where it needs to go, and you can survive or thrive in the situation. A small amount of stress is helpful when you are in an accident, have an upcoming exam or meeting, or are trying to get that promotion.
But if the pressure can’t dissipate and you don’t get relief from it, problems begin to mount. Thate stress turns into distress and can lead to many different, substantial health issues.
Types of Stress
There are different types of stress:
Eustress is what’s considered “good stress.” We feel this when we’re excited, like standing in line for our favorite band’s concert. It floods the body with adrenaline and endorphins and generally dissipates quickly.
When we think of getting stressed out, this is the kind that generally comes to mind. Acute stress occurs as a quick response to surprises such as when you remember an assignment that’s due in 30 minutes. It doesn’t generally take a prolonged toll on your body if you can wind down afterward.
This is the type of stress of which we need to be cautious the most. We experience chronic stress when constant strain and stressful events occur repetitively without relief; it’s caused by things such as an overwhelming job or a chaotic or unhappy home-life.
Because our bodies are not designed to take the intensity of chronic stress for long periods of time, health problems begin to evolve.
What Does Stress Do to the Body?
Eustress generally comes in small doses, so it tends to benefit more than harm. As the brain releases adrenaline to the body, it:
- Focuses energy,
- Motivates you,
- Leaves you feeling excited,
- And improves your performance
But even too much of a good thing can affect you negatively.
Elevated exposure to pressure creates heightened levels of anxiety. With that comes irritability, restlessness, depression, chest pains and headaches, fatigue and difficulty sleeping, and trouble concentrating.
It also brings continual muscle tension. As the adrenaline courses through you, blood vessels contract, and the muscles do not receive the correct blood flow. That constant tension means muscle aches and a perpetual source of pain. But there are solutions to get the reprieve you need.
How Does Massage Help?
Pretty much all of the symptoms brought on by stress can be relieved through massage therapy.
Massage has been proven to:
- Lower your heart rate,
- Lower blood pressure,
- Relax muscles, and
- Assist in endorphin, serotonin, and dopamine production
Just like in eustress, massage releases endorphins – the body’s naturally-made feel-good chemical. At the same time, it elevates serotonin and dopamine production which leads to an overall feeling of relaxation. This aids in overcoming chronic and short-term stress effects.
Some studies have even shown that one massage session can considerably lower your heart rate and cortisol levels. Cortisol is your primary stress hormone. It helps to fuel your fight-or-flight reaction, so if your body is continuously making this at high levels, you’ll be in a perpetual state of distress. An overabundance of cortisol can result in:
- Depression and anxiety,
- Heart disease
- Weight gain
- Digestion problems
- Inability to concentrate and memory loss
Adding massage to your regular healthcare routine can help to relieve the every-day buildup of anxiety in your work and home-life. If you’d like to know more or get started with alleviating your stress through massage therapy, contact MG Sports Massage now or book an appointment online.