Healing Hands: Managing Stress with Massage

Healing Hands: Managing Stress with Massage
By GREGORY BARTHELL

Pain and stress management are two of the most common reasons to seek therapeutic massage. Dangers of stress include blood pressure and stress triggered enzyme production. (See http://www.massageadvancer.com.)

 A licensed massage therapist (LMT) has several tools to help release stress in the body, lower blood pressure, and ease chronic pain. These tools include myofascial trigger point therapy, hydrotherapy, and reintegration. Therapeutic massage allows the body to reset by calming the mind to the degree that restive reintegration may occur. This approach allows for a return to productivity and solutions which in turn reduces stress.

Stress has two components, one of which resides in the sympathetic nervous system. The other resides in external stresses. External stresses are those outside the body which we have little or no control over, but which still affect us.

Stress within the nervous system can be managed well in this approach using Trigger Point Therapy release techniques. I find that when stress is released from the sympathetic nervous system, a cleansing breath occurs and the body resets itself. This is that half inhale, half sigh followed by a long exhale breath we see in infants after they have been crying hard.

Adults can do this as well, when they are aware of how to release stress in the body. Once the cleansing breath occurs during a therapeutic session and the sympathetic nervous system releases, muscle tissue begins to unwind. When the muscle tissue begins to relax blood pressure lowers, (http://www.amtamassage.org/) and the breath moderates facilitating good oxygen transfer to the tissues.

The use of warm moist heat in hydrotherapy generates localized relief using the same principle. By allowing for better blood flow, oxygen is transported to the cell and waste products away from the cell with greater ease (http://www.amtamassage.org/).  

Physical and emotional stresses are addressed in therapeutic massage as two separate components which often interweave with each other. This interweaving gives rise to the idea that stress is best managed using an integrated approach that includes other techniques, such as exercise. Visit www.mesaelitefitness.com for more information on this valuable aspect of stress management. Talk to your doctor about including therapeutic massage or exercise into your self -care routine to help manage both components of stress.

Stress is a baseline hazard to good health which, over time, can be very expensive in time and money. Well managed stress can allow a person to become more effective in all aspects of their lives because it allows room for happiness and success. Your local therapeutic massage therapist can help you live a more stress-free life.

Gregory Barthell graduated from The New Mexico Academy of Healing Arts with diplomas in both therapeutic massage and polarity therapy. After passing the National Board examination for bodywork, Barthell received his Massage Therapy License from the state of New Mexico. His practice, Sunrise Theraputics, is in downtown Los Alamos. Call 505.661.4835 or email gbarthell2@gmail.com for more information. 

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