Described as a 21st century plague, it is estimated that 70% of ill health has stress as the root cause.
Reflexology, when used for stress relief, can provide many benefits, and is used to invoke the body’s natural healing abilities.
What is ‘Stress’?
The stress response is your body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, the stress response helps you stay focused, energetic and alert in an emergency.
When under stress, your system responds by releasing a flood of hormones such as Adrenaline and Cortisol. These hormones rouse the body for emergency action by increasing the heart rate, which in turn circulates more blood to the muscles, brain and lungs. This ‘fight or flight’ response is what is needed if we are faced with a physical threat and we need to react quickly (such as running away from an attacker).
Most stress today is caused by psychological stimuli rather than physical danger. The body cannot distinguish between physical and psychological threat, and reacts to both situations in the same way. In this situation, stress stops being helpful and can have adverse effects on your health.
Psychological stress can be caused by many things such as an exhausting work schedule, a rocky relationship, in fact anything that puts high demands on us (this can include positive influences such as buying a house, getting a promotion at work or going to university). What affects one person may not affect another in the same way, so we can, to some degree, learn to manage our stress levels or find ways in which to cope.
A few examples of health problems caused by experiencing prolonged periods of stress are
- Agitation and the inability to relax
- Irritability or short temper
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Frequent colds
- Nervous habits, such as nail biting.
Stress Relief – using Reflexology
Reflexology can help with reducing the effect stress has on you by putting the body in a state of complete relaxation. In this state muscular tension is released, nerve function improved, blood and lymph circulate freely and overall health and wellbeing improve. Sleep improves with treatment, and the whole ‘fight or flight’ stress response is calmed.
Many people use Reflexology to help cope with the long term effects of stress. Rather than turning to medication, which can mask symptoms rather than deal with the underlying condition, Reflexology encourages the body to relax and restores natural balance.