A little tension in the neck, some pain in the lower back, a headache at the end of a long week. Many people who walk through our doors have experienced some or all of these symptoms of stress at one point or another. When it comes to reducing stress, and relieving some of the tension that comes along with it, many of our clients seek out regular massage therapy as part of their wellness plan. As a Registered Massage Therapist my goal is to have my clients moving easier and feeling more relaxed when they get off the table. But what can be done to help cope with stress between appointments?
3 simple tips you can use to reduce stress and get the most out of your massage:
- Exercise. It releases tension, improves mood, and helps to combat illness. As little as a 30 minutes can help to boost your mood, which will reduce stress. Here at Lead, we have a variety of classes to fit both your schedule and your goals, my favourites are our Essentrics and Group Equipment classes, but choose exercise that you enjoy doing.
- Stretch. After a long day at work, stretching can lengthen muscles back into a more ideal posture, relieving both tension and pain that can result from stress. To properly stretch a muscle, move the body part until you feel the tension pulling into the muscle, hold in that position for about 30 seconds, then move a little further into the stretch hold for one full breath in and out.
- Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing. When we take time to focus our breathing, we tap into the parasympathetic, or craniosacral division of the nervous system, which is responsible for the rest and digest functions of the nervous system. A simple way to practice this technique is to lay on your back with one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest, inhale slow deep breaths into your abdomen, you should see your hand rise and fall as you fully exhale. Continue this for a few minutes and you will feel your body start to calm down.
Yours in health,
Amanda Setre, RMT