April is Stress awareness month. It is a term so widely used in our daily vocabulary. It has its benefits, but it also has its dangers.
Stress allows us to perceive danger more effectively by improving our sensory awareness, preparing our bodies physiologically and getting the right areas of the brain engaged. This is more commonly none as the “fight or flight response”, which is triggered by the release of adrenaline. Stress can help effectively in an acute circumstance to remove us from a potentially dangerous surroundings.
However, chronically overactive stress response has been shown to increase the risk of a number of life limiting diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and atherosclerosis (hardened and clogged up arteries). Other symptoms relating to a chronically overactive stress response are sleep deprivation, increased blood pressure, increased bad cholesterol, reduced white blood cell count (less effective immune system) and reduced ability to heal from injury. It can also lead to anxiety and depression.
Coping with Stress:
- Having an outlet for stress is essential: outlets such as massage or exercise can be very effective
- Having a good social support network: being isolated can increase risk of stress related cardiovascular disease by as much as 5 times
- Being in control: people are less stressed when they have flexibility, autonomy and control over processes in the workplace and in their life
Soft Tissue Therapy (different forms and massage) and exercise, like Pilates, have both been proven to effectively manage the symptoms of stress, providing both an outlet for stress. These are two services we at Silver Physio offer and commonly integrate into treatment protocols.
From a physiological point of view Soft Tissue Therapy has been shown to help with a number of issues that are caused by stress:
- Reduce cortisol levels (the body’s main stress hormone)
- Increase serotonin (AKA the happy chemical)
- Pain modulation
- Muscular tension relief
- Improve sleep
- shown to reduce blood pressure
Pilates is a great way to help combat stress as it focuses on 8 key principles:
– Flowing Movements
It also releases endorphins (happy hormones) when we exercise, so we can feel happier and our minds feel more free. There is also an emphasis on lengthening and strengthening our muscles, which helps reduce pain. For many, pain can be a contributing factor of stress – so this tackles the issue head on.
Call us now to arrange a detailed assessment of stressful contributing factors and transport yourself to a happier, calmer space!