Long term stress and anxiety have a detrimental effect on the health of an individual. A range of illnesses and conditions have been attributed to stress, including eczema, migraine, digestive complaints, high blood pressure, heart disease, muscular pain and depression. Stress comes from a number of sources, including the workplace, personal relationships and family life. Anxiety is closely related and is characterised by faster breathing, sweating, phobias and even panic attacks.
With stress and stress related illnesses on the rise, taking steps to manage what can become a debilitating illness is vitally important to maintain a healthy mind and body. If stress and anxiety have been present for a long time, then it’s unlikely that one activity alone will solve the problem. Having said that doing something is better than doing nothing.
It goes without saying that a healthy diet and regular exercise bring real benefits for someone suffering from stress. Exercise need only be a walk, the important thing is that it happens on a regular basis, ie most days. Relaxation techniques can also be helpful, but many people suffering stress find it difficult to relax without additional support. Massage can be really helpful for this.
How does massage work?
Scientific studies have shown that regular massage creates a chemical cocktail triggering a drop in the stress hormone cortisol and a surge in dopamine and oxytocin, known as the “happy hormones”.
At a time when many people are worried about the level of access to their GP and NHS healthcare, the knowledge that massage can make a significant contribution to the relief of pain, stress and anxiety is good news.
One of the primary goals of massage is relaxation, so the calm it brings to stress and anxiety sufferers is particularly beneficial. Using a qualified and experienced therapist is essential to realising the full benefits of massage. Check that your therapist is registered with the Federation of Holistic Therapies.
The type of massage you have should be tailored to your condition and a professional therapist will always do a full consultation on your first visit to get a good understanding of your medical history, your lifestyle and your symptoms before putting together a treatment plan, normally between 4-6 weeks.
Sedative oils help with relaxation and sleep
Aromatherapy provides a valuable alternative to the psychotropic drugs and muscle relaxants commonly used to treat anxiety. Any of the sedative oils can be helpful,including Bergamot, Clary Sage, Camomile, Frankincense, Juniper, Lavender and Ylang Ylang to name a few. In choosing from such a wide range the therapist will be able to use her expertise to create a blend tailored to the individual.
In addition to the consultation, the individual’s preference for the smell of different oils is taken into consideration. The client will often instinctively pick the very oil that most closely corresponds to their present state, and this can often be very revealing. For, although all these oils fall under the heading of sedative, there are subtle differences in their properties and effects, which may make one more appropriate than another in any situation.
The Benefits of Massage
Obviously, the caring approach of the therapist counts for a great deal in helping with anxiety, and massage with essential oils should be the basis of treatment because it will allow reassurance, care and concern to be expressed in the most direct, non-verbal way.
- Diminished muscle tension
- Enhanced circulation
- Reduction in the production of stress hormones
- Enhanced me
- Reduction in nervous tension, anxiety and depression