For Stress Relief
Relaxation techniques for stress relief offer many opportunities for all of us to feel better. When stress within us is lessened or absent, our body has the opportunity to build and sustain our very important immune system.
I want to share the description of our immune system the way it was described in a Massage Magazine I receive monthly.
“The immune system is like an army composed of various troops and warriors all working together to defeat a common enemy.
First there are the proteins flowing freely in the blood stream, searching for foreign substances called antigens. The proteins kill intruders but then the next components are eater cells or phagocytes. The cells find and devour bacteria and viruses as well as dead or injured cells.
The phagocytes travel to the nearest lymph node, where the helper T cells jump in. Once the T cell recognizes an antigen, if divides and produces proteins that activate B cells, killer T cells and the white blood cells or lymphocytes. Few invaders survive this ordeal.
It is said without a strong immune system we wouldn’t survive too long.”
There are “boosting elements” to support our life saving immune system.
One support is with massage therapy. “Scientific studies show healthy touch is a great defender against stress, which is one of the immune systems toughest opponents.”
Massage therapy is one of the best relaxation techniques!
What is being found according to Dr. Tiffany Field, “is that when pressure receptors on the skin are stimulated, an increase in vagel nerve activity occurs. This slows the production of stress hormones, especially cortisol.
Cortisol destroys natural killer cells. So if cortisol is lessened, the depletion of killer cells is also slowed.”
Gail's Massage Therapy
Oils & Supplements
A note about essential oils and supplements is worth stating next.
There are many oils and supplements that assist the immune system. Lavender, tea tree, and eucalyptus and rose oil to name a few of the oils have shown benefits for reducing stress.
Dr. Richard Drucker states about supplements, “only when complete supplementation occurs, as nature intended, do we receive the benefits of better health and increased immune capability.”
Another one of the relaxation techniques is the practice of yoga. The practice of yoga began over 5,000 years ago in India. “It was believed that mastering steady physical poses helped to quiet the mind and balance the systems of the body, allowing one to achieve a deep state of meditation (dhyana) in which the self could be realized.”
To hear that yoga is one of the fastest growing trends in the United States and the world is refreshing. Besides being a form of physical exercise, yoga, which also means union, is the integration of the mind, body, and spirit.
Bija Bennet, founder of Yoga Away, states,” yoga allows people to work with their own energy, so they can help themselves when they’re stressed or depleted.”
There are many different practices of yoga. Some sort of controlled breath work is a key element in yoga.
I want to share with my readers an article from Dr. Andrew Weil which may be helpful if your mood is down, or you need revitalization, and/or relaxation.
He delivers such a great explaination that I wanted to pass it along. Please let me know if you have any questions.
A Yoga Pose for the Blues
If you experience headaches, fatigue or mild depression, this yoga pose could help.
The wide-legged forward bend, also known as Prasarita Padottanasana I (meaning "stretched out," or "with outstretched limbs"), reputedly has many benefits, including therapeutic use for headache, lack of energy and poor mood. When done with proper form for the recommended amount of time, this pose can:
1. Strengthen and stretch the legs and the spine
2. Tone the abdominal organs
3. Calm the mind
4. Relieve mild backache
To learn more about this pose - including simple instruction and variations -
Click here for Dr. Weil's website
A Yoga Pose for the Body and Mind
The Bridge Pose is a powerful tonic for body and mind. It provides an invigorating stretch for the chest, neck and spine. Traditionally, its benefits are said to also include:
1. Calming the mind and alleviating stress and mild depression
2. Stimulating abdominal organs, lungs and thyroid
3. Rejuvenating tired legs
4. Improving digestion
5. Relieving the symptoms of menopause
6. Reducing anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache and insomnia
It is also held to be a therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and sinusitis.
Click here to learn how to do the Bridge Pose.
(See Gail’s blog for deep breathing.)
“The many paths of yoga embrace a way of being—a lifestyle of awareness, purpose and peace. They can be practiced separately or woven together. In the end, they all encourage spiritual evolution.”
A third support is physical exercise which is shown to have many benefits. Exercise helps us to stay fit and feel relaxed afterward.
Regular exercise strengthens the heart muscle to pump blood more efficiently and effectively. Hormones called endorphins which help to give us a sense of well being and calmness are released with a workout.
The increased depth of breathing we do during exercise allows our lungs to expand deeper which helps the body to feed and cleanse our vital organs and muscles.
There are various opportunities for exercise. Some people prefer slower and milder forms while others want to do harder and more intense types of workouts. There is no wrong way to exercise.
The point to remember is that to lessen the stress also lessens the inflammation in our bodies. This in turn leads to better heart health and reduces the chances for other illnesses to occur.
Laughter Is The Best Medicine
I must share one more of the relaxation techniques for stress relief and that is laughter. “Laughter is not only fun; it is also good for us.”
“Laughter is the human gift for coping and for survival; ringing, pealing, roaring, bubbling laughter. Chuckling. Giggling. Snickering. Snorting. These are the sounds of soul-saving laughter that springs from our emotional core and helps us feel better, see things more clearly and creatively weigh and use our options.
Laughter helps us roll with the punches that inevitable come our way. We unleash the power of laughter every time we laugh.”
There are many other forms of relaxation techniques for stress relief such as, acupuncture, Tai Chi, meditation, hypnosis, EFT, and rock climbing. These are only a few.
Please feel free to share other ideas for stress relief or what works for you.
Hypnosis & EFT
*Resources: Massage Magazine, Yoga Journal, Natural Awakenings, B.K.S. Iyengar “Yoga—The Path To Holistic Health.