Join us April 2nd from 12-5pm for some freebies, discounts, and snacks. Hope to see you there!
This is from an old post from an old website I had when I first started doing massage. Now I have a new site and new name, but the message remains: Stress sucks. One day of stress is exhausting, so imagine what weeks or months of stress can do to you. While I'm clearly biased in the approach to managing stress (come get a massage!), I do feel it's important to manage it however you can.
Okay, here are the nerdy bits. I'll try to keep them as unboring as possible. Your body regulates involuntary functions like heart rate, digestion, and blood pressure, without any conscious effort on your part. Two systems in your body - let's call them "Hulk" and "Bruce Banner" - govern how these functions operate. Hulk is responsible for your fight-or-flight response, meaning everything your body does in survival mode. Bruce Banner is responsible for your resting response, meaning everything your body does to repair itself while it’s in a resting state. These two work together to protect the body.
Hulk is insanely helpful in times of stress or danger (real or perceived). It doesn’t care if a crazed villain is chasing you or if you have a dream that a crazed villain is chasing you, so long as you believe some aspect of your life is in danger. It’s got your back, preparing your body to either fight this villain or run the other way as fast as you can by pulling resources from your less vital systems (digestion, immune system, skin, etc) and pushing them to your heart and muscles to give you what you need to survive in that moment.
Now I know a majority of you don’t spend your days fighting villains. BUT, remember the stress can be real or perceived. You might be facing a deadline, or running late to your kid's soccer practice. You probably don’t need all that blood rushing to your muscles. You’re probably not going to run for your life in these situations (though you may want to). In any case, you’re stressed so fight or flight kicks in. And you Hulk out.
So what happens when the battle is over? Enter: Bruce Banner (hooray!). Once the threat is over, Bruce does its thing to bring you back to neutral by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, cranking up your digestion, increasing immune function, and bringing blood back to the non-vital systems like your skin and digestive organs. Everything just slooooooows down. Deep breath....and ahhhhhhhh. And now your body can focus on doing the stuff it needs to do to make sure you’re properly equipped for your next villain.
Plot twist! Hulk kicks in over a matter of seconds, but Bruce needs 15 minutes or more to calm that guy down. In the body of someone under constant stress, Bruce has a snowball’s chance in hades of ever getting you relaxed. Over time this has a negative effect on every system in your body. Imagine if all your blood and oxygen spent most of its time away from your abdomen, away from your skin, away from your immune system. Sluggish digestion, dull skin and hair, constant illness - sound familiar?
So what do you do? Well you could try massage...I know, just hear me out! Massage elicits calmness in the body. Sounds obvious, but here's what that means. The standard massage lasts 60 minutes - plenty of time to get you fully relaxed, with bonus minutes for your body to hang out there for a while so it can replenish, rejuvenate, and renew itself. Routinely getting to this state means that your digestion improves, you absorb more nutrients, your hair and skin look healthier, your sleep improves, your immune system fights harder for you, your heartrate lowers, and I could go on and on.
If massage isn't your thing, that's cool. Relaxation comes in many forms - give yourself a mini vacay in the tub, meditate, go for a walk, smell the roses, treat yourself. Anything to remove yourself from stress so your body can recalibrate. Your body will thank you for it.