A majority of Americans say that stress leads them to argue with friends or loved ones. According to Web MD, 70% of us report that the stress in our lives is affecting our physical and emotional well being. Most of the people who walk through the doors of day spa in Asheville, NC know that getting a good Asheville massage can relieve some of that stress. But you might not realize how important it is to find relief from your stress.
Everyone gets stressed. It’s a survival mechanism. You’ve probably heard of the “fight or flight response.” That’s how your body reacts to a stressful or threatening situation. There was a time in our distant past, however, when stress usually came in the form of a saber-toothed cat, giant bear or even a giant, predatory kangaroo (Seriously! And if you don’t believe us, check out Smithsonian magazine’s roundup of The Top Ten Deadliest Animals of Our Evolutionary Past.)
Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about huge, man-eating marsupials these days, but our bodies still react as if we do. “When you are in a stressful situation, your body launches a physical response. Your nervous system springs into action, releasing hormones that prepare you to either fight or take off,” the experts at Web MD explain. “It’s why, when you’re in a stressful situation, you may notice that your heartbeat speeds up, your breathing gets faster, your muscles tense, and you start to sweat.”
When you successfully escape from whatever it is that wants to eat you, your system settles down again, no harm done. It turns out that having a demanding boss who doesn’t respect you or being in an unhappy relationship could be a bigger threat to your health than lions, tigers and bears.
“If your stress system stays activated over a long period of time (chronic stress), it can lead to or aggravate more serious health problems,” Web MD explained when they looked into the common causes of stress and their effect on your health. “The constant rush of stress hormones can put a lot of wear and tear on your body, causing it to age more quickly and making it more prone to illness.”
Short-term stress – like the kind caused by the looming tax deadline – can cause headaches, fatigue or an upset stomach. You may feel irritable or have trouble sleeping. (Do yourself a favor, check out our Asheville Spa Deals and schedule an appointment for the day after the tax deadline. You’ll be ready for a treat!)
But, according to Web MD, long-term, chronic stress can lead to a number of more serious health conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- Heartburn, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome
- Upset stomach — cramps, constipation, and diarrhea
- Weight gain or loss
- Changes in sex drive
- Fertility problems
- Flare-ups of asthma or arthritis
- Skin problems such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis
Fortunately, the Mayo Clinic Health System reports that massage relieves depression and a variety of other health conditions. They say more than 90% of all illnesses might be the result of stress. That’s why reducing your exposure to both physical and emotional stress is the best way to improve your overall health and well-being. And, the experts at the Mayo Clinic, say that a massage at our Asheville, NC spa is a great way to do that.
“A 60-minute massage can lower cortisol, a hormone that’s produced in response to stress, by an average of 30 percent. And when cortisol levels decline, serotonin — one of the body’s anti-pain mechanisms — increases by an average of 28 percent after receiving a massage,” they report. “By lowering cortisol and increasing serotonin, you’re boosting your body’s ability to fight off pain, anxiety and feelings of sadness.”
Dr. Indigo Triplett is the CEO of Careers in Transition Inc. and founder of Indigo Insights, a nonprofit organization that provides mental healing by nourishing the spirit and the mind of people who are challenged on life’s journey. “We accept and value massages for physical ailments, but we need to move to seeing massages as something that is beneficial for mental ailments as well,” the Inc.com contributor says in 5 Massage Therapies That Can Improve Your Mental Wellness. “It’s a mind-body connection that energizes, and allows the receiver to feel cared for. In fact, it is suggested that massages treat a number of psychological issues: depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity, post-traumatic stress, and more.”
Researchers from the University of Miami School of Medicine have been looking into the positive impact of massage therapy and have shown that regular massage can be an effective way to decrease the amount of damaging stress hormones in your system. “Industry research such as this continues to point toward massage therapy as an effective approach to positively affecting the body’s biochemistry in order to treat mental health ailments such as anxiety and depression, as well as to complement traditional medical treatments,” Dr. Triplett says.
At Spa Theology – the best North Carolina day spa – we offer a variety of Asheville massage therapies that can provide health and wellness benefits, including Therapeutic Massage, River Rock Massage and Relaxation Massage.