Believe it or not, your body may be trying to tell you something.Aches, pains and irritability may be due to more than just a hard day at school. That cold you’ve been trying to get over for weeks could be lingering around for a bigger reason. There are no ribbons, no walks, runs or relays, and no wristbands to honor those who suffer from this condition. Yet, millions suffer from it.
We’re talking about stress. Stress can affect people both physically and mentally. It can make them sick, affect well-being and actually change a person’s thoughts, behaviors and even personalities.
All those symptoms notwithstanding, stress is something that is often shrugged off.
The good news it that stress can be combated. But its cure is not in the form of a miracle pill. Instead, it is something that takes a little effort on the part of the stress sufferer.
There are many things that can relieve stress, such as exercise, yoga, meditation, breathing techniques and even a relaxing hobby. But, there is probably not a more enjoyable method of stress relief than a massage.
“Therapeutic massage is a remarkable tool to use for coping with stress. It’s a deeply relaxing practice helps you feel more relaxed physically and mentally, as well as recharge and restore energy and creativity,” said Karen McConnell, a Honesdale massage therapist.
But how do the hands of a massage therapist like McConnell work as a cure to the negative effects of stress on the body, mind and spirit? There are several reasons.
Release of Muscle Tension
Muscle tension is one of the tell-tale signs of stress, a sometimes painful one at that. It can literally be rubbed away by seeing a massage therapist.
According to literature picked up at certified massage therapist and Reiki master Dave Gutowski’s practice, with kneading and stretching techniques muscles and muscle tissues are loosened.
Repeated sessions can even begin to reverse the muscle contractions that make them feel so tight. In addition, this causes endorphins to be released into the blood stream. Since endorphins are the body’s own natural pain killer, this heightens the feeling of relief of aching muscles.
When circulation increases from a massage, the blood carries out unwanted and unneeded waste products, and also helps cleanse cells with nutrients that are vital to repair tissue.
“Because of the bad stuff being released, I provide water to my clients when they are finished. It helps them replenish,” McConnell said, adding that without drinking water to help release toxics, flu-like symptoms can occur.
Increased circulation can also go right to your head, meaning an oxygen increase will occur in your brain, reducing mental fatigue and heightening concentration. Many people also report that because all of this, emotional problems, anxiety and depression actually fade away as well for several days.
Another major inhibitor of stress is lack of sleep or troublesome sleep, which results in fatigue. The quality of restful sleep improves greatly during the few days following a massage. If you are sleeping more, your body has more of a chance to repair and restore energy levels.
Massages at high end day spas can be pricey, but Wilkes students have the advantage of being just minutes from a massage school that offers massages for just $10. Allied Medical and Technical Institute in Forty Fort (with another location in Scranton) offers a massage therapy program and the students spend their last portion of the program running a student clinic.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to get hands on experience and already get acquainted with clients while still in school,” said Dona Czarkowski, RN, CMT and Allied’s Scranton campus clinic supervisor. “Our students are professional and treat clients with respect. They do a great job.”