How massage can help with stress

Stress is universal, and it’s not always bad. Whenever you jump to catch a badly thrown ball, feel especially energetic before an important meeting, or hit the brakes in time to avoid a car accident, stress is doing its job. The adrenaline boosting your heart rate and the cortisol boosting your blood sugar, while diverting energy away from your digestive system and immune responses, are exactly what prehistoric humans needed to fight or flee attackers.

However, when there’s never any relief from stress, the sustained fight-or-flight response can cause problems. In fact, WebMD warns that constant stress actually becomes “distress — a negative stress reaction. Distress can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases.”

BEHAVIOR CHANGES

  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Over- or under-eating
  • Social withdrawal
  • Tobacco use

MOOD CHANGES

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability or anger
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Restlessness
  • Sadness or depression

BODY CHANGES

  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Sex drive
  • Sleep
  • Stomach upset

Massage Therapy and Stress

Virtually every symptom listed by the American Psychological Association can benefit from massage. Research has shown that it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, relax your muscles and increase the production of endorphins, your body’s natural “feel good” chemical. Serotonin and dopamine are also released through massage, and the result is a feeling of calm relaxation that makes chronic or habitual as well as acute or short-term stress much easier to overcome.

In fact, stress relief is one of the first benefits that come to mind when thinking of massage therapy. It’s also a key component for anyone trying to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Clinical studies show that even a single 1 ½-hour session can significantly lower your heart rate, cortisol levels and insulin levels — all of which explain why massage therapy and stress relief go hand-in-hand.

Benefits of Massage Therapy for Stress

Taking care of your body should be at the top of your priorities. By adding therapeutic massage to your routine now, you’ll feel, look and simply be healthier far into the future. In fact, stress relief alone can improve your vitality and state of mind. So what better way to prep for a long, happy life than a relaxing, therapeutic massage?

If you’re looking to add stress-relieving massage to your wellness program, a Massage at Bedford Chiropractic Clinic can be a powerful ally when combating daily pressures and anxiety. In addition to stress relief, ongoing massage therapy can reduce pain, increase energy levels and improve overall physical and mental performance. Our experienced, professional therapist at Bedford Chiropractic Clinic customize every massage (and stress relief) session to address your individual needs.

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Spring Detox Yoga Flow

Spring has arrived and many of us are ready for some spring-cleaning not just for our homes but for our minds and bodies as well.

Spring is the perfect time of the year to clean our closets, clear out things we not longer use so we have room for new things to come. Spring is the ideal time to renew and to cleanse our bodies too.

Our bodies have a natural of getting rid of waste products, but sometimes it needs help to boost eliminating these products.

I invite you to try these simple yoga detox practice that can help your body cleanse itself.

In addition, you can try a all natural 3-5 day juice detox along with yoga practices (I suggest mixing active with some restorative practices) to receive a maximum cleansing process and enjoy the benefits of your efforts. This combination will help you feel more energized, lighter and healthier.

While cleansing, fasting and detox practices may not be for everyone, anyone can benefit from a yoga detox program. Especially if you’ve been feeling sluggish or are experiencing digestion problems, have a lack of stamina, poor concentration, aches and pains, or skin problems.

So are you ready to flow, sweat, play and detox with this short but effective flow?

Start by sitting in a comfortable position… Please keep in mind that you can add any vinyasa of your choice to move between poses:

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Seated Twist:

Inhale and lift arms up and interlace your fingers while rotating your palms up to the sky. As you exhale rotate your torso to one side. Be mindful that your hips don’t twist with you. You want the twist to come from your spine without the assistance of your hips. Inhale center and exhale to the other side. Repeat few more times on each side.

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Cat/ Cow with Simhasa Breath:

Come to hands and knees (aka table top). For this practice we will reverse the breath so as you inhale round the spine and as you exhale arch your back and stick your tongue out as you exhale through your mouth.

This type of breathing is very cleansing and relieves tension in the chest and face. According to traditional texts, Simhasana destroys disease and facilitates the three major bandhas (Mula, Jalandhara, Uddiyana).

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Surya Namaskar/ Sun Salutations “A” and “B”:

Moving through few rounds  each of these wonderful namaskars will help you generate internal heat while coordinating breath and movement.

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Navasana (Boat Pose):

Great core work to build core strength and heat in your body. When we work our core we are also activating our digestive and elimination system. Practice this pose 3 times holding it each time for 5 full breaths. To rest between each cycle you can bring the soles of the feet together and fold forward into Baddha Konasana.

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Parivritta Utkatasana (Revolved Chair Pose):

From chair pose or Utkatasana, bring your hands to heart center and exhale twist to one side. Bring the elbow to the outside of the thigh as you press the palms together to help you twist form the spine. Make sure that your knees are even and one is not forward of the other. This will indicate that you are collapsing on one hip and the twist is not coming from the spine. In addition your hips should be lower than shoulders. Hold for 5 full breaths before going to the other side. Finish by folding over your legs in Uttanasana or standing forward fold.

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Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1):

From down dog bring one leg forward placing your foot between your hands. On the inhalation lift the chest and arms up. Make sure your front knee is over your ankle and that your back leg is active and strong. Extend the arms up to the sky and hold for 5 breaths.

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Parsvottanasana or Pyramid Pose:

From Warrior 1 extend the front leg and as you exhale fold over the leg bringing the hands to the earth. Keep the hips even or leveled as you create lighten in the spine. Anchor the big toe mound on the mat and you engage your quads to protect the knee from hyper extending or locking as you stretch your hamstrings.

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Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle):

This is another twisting pose that will not only activate your internal organs but will help you cleanse from the inside out. It is like a wet towel that you ring out as you twist it. You can add a connecting vinyasa to do the other side. After completing both sides come to a sited position.

 

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Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold):

Extend both legs forward. You can sit on top of a folded blanket, grab a strap and/or bend your knees slightly if you feel you hips are rolling back (posterior tilt) and/or your hamstrings are tight. Exhale fold over your legs while elongating the spine. Imagine you are trying to reach your feet with the crown of your head. Hold for few breaths. Forward Bends compress the abdominal organs and the kidneys and liver are stimulated. They help improve the digestive system and activate the elimination process as well.

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Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose):

Lie down on your back, bend your knees and draw feet towards your butt. Draw shoulder blades towards each other and as you inhale lift hips up while pressing down on your feet. Keep feet hip width apart and parallel to each other while keeping the toes pointed forward. Hold for few breaths then lower hips down one vertebrae at the time. You can let the knees drop to one side then to the other few times to release any tension in the spine

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Apanasana (Wind Relieving Pose): Bring both knees to the chest and cross your arm over or under your legs and give your self a big hug. If you like you can lift your head towards your knees and the lower head back down keeping shoulders relaxed and neck long. Hold for few breaths and the release.

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Viparita Karani or Legs up The Wall:

For this pose you will need a blanket or bolster against the wall. Start with your support about 5 to 6 inches away from the wall specially if you know your hamstring are tight or closer if you know they wont be an issue. Sit sideways on right end of the support, with your right side against the wall. Bend your knees, press your feet into the wall and lift your pelvis off the support a few inches, tuck the support a little higher up under your pelvis, then lower your pelvis onto the support again. Extend the legs up towards the ceiling. Open your arms out to the side palms up while letting your shoulder blades move away from the spine.

Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. To come out, slide off the support onto the floor before turning to the side and then to sitting.

Pause for few breaths in here before continuing with your day.

Drink plenty of water to help your body continue with the cleansing process.