Lewis Hunter, June 4, 2019
We all deal with a certain level of stress in our daily lives, whether it’s sitting in traffic when we’re
running late, trying to meet deadlines at work, or struggling with issues in a personal
relationship. But that’s just part of life, isn’t it? Stress is our body’s natural reaction to a situation
that seems to be more than we can handle.
When we get “stressed out” our adrenal glands secrete cortisol into our bloodstream. Cortisol
plays a vital role in our body’s overall functioning. It helps control things like blood sugar,
metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation.
This was very helpful back when we were defending our cave from a saber tooth tiger, but when
someone pulls out in front of you and hits their brakes, all that extra cortisol swimming around in
your system doesn’t really help much.
After a stressful event is over, it’s important that the body’s relaxation response be activated so
the body’s functions can return to normal, but in our high-stress culture, the body’s stress
response is activated so often that the body doesn’t always have a chance to return to normal.
Higher and prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream can have negative effects like
impaired cognitive performance, high blood pressure, blood sugar imbalance, and suppressed
thyroid function. So most of us are walking around with our adrenal glands pumping out cortisol
like there’s no tomorrow, and it’s not just affecting us mentally, it’s hurting us physically too.
According to the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), too much stress can be as
bad for your heart as smoking and high cholesterol, and from her book “The Holistic Rx” Dr.
Madiha Saeed says that stress causes more than 80% of the complaints that patients present to
their doctors, as it can exacerbate any chronic illness.
I know by now your thinking, “I get it, we’re all stressed out! But what can I do about it?” I’m
about to tell you, and you’re going to like it... Get a Massage.
Massage helps to increase the circulation of both the blood and the lymphatic system, bringing
oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, organs, and other tissues. Massage enhances your
health and well-being by eliminating muscle spasms and trigger points and improves relaxation
and loosening of stiff joints.
A massage lasting as little as twenty minutes can lead to a significant reduction in blood
pressure, anxiety, resting heart rate, and cortisol levels. So not only does massage relieve your
stress, it loosens up all the tension created by being stressed out all the time. Massage can also
help you sleep more deeply and a good night’s sleep is vital to maintaining good health.
During sleep, there is a lot going on in our bodies. Cells are being repaired and hormones are
being secreted, hormones that regulate things like metabolism, immune function, and glucose
processing. If you don’t get enough deep sleep to allow these essential functions to take place,
guess what hormone your body will secrete instead...
Yep, cortisol. That’s because your body thinks that the reason you are not sleeping deeply is
there must be something wrong like perhaps you’re still dealing with that pesky saber tooth
Massage also improves your attention and ability to focus. That’s because it’s hard to pay
attention when your heart rate is elevated. When you get a massage your nervous system slows
down. Pressure receptors send signals to the brain, then the brain sends signals through the
vagus nerve to the heart, lowering your resting heart rate.
With your heart rate lowered, you will be more calm and focused. Sometimes you need to stop
thinking and relax to solve a problem. If you are fixated on an issue it’s like you have on blinders
and may not be able to see the big picture.
By bringing mental clarity, massage can bring buried thoughts and ideas to the surface and help
you be more creative. The best ideas always come when you are not trying to think of them, and
many business executives have come to this realization and now consider massage an
essential part of their success strategy.
Just getting a massage once a month is going to give you a serious edge at work. While
everyone else is walking around in a stress-induced stupor, you will be relaxed, focused, and
Managing the stress in your life will make you healthier and happier which will lead to a more
positive mindset, and when you have a positive mindset, you can achieve success.