Did you know that your mental well-being/stress levels can have a physical effect on your body?
We all have a physical-mental connection even if we don’t know it or recognise it.
The physiological responses to stress (“fight and flight”) can include:
- Your muscles tense up ready for action
- Your breathing and heart rate quicken to pump blood and oxygen around your body quicker
- Your digestive system will slow down; digestion isn’t a top priority for your body if you need to run away from danger
- Your pupils dilate
- Sweat glands activate
- Blood is redirected away from your skin so you may look pale
- You may get a dry mouth – again digestion isn’t a priority when you are stressed
- Your immune system is supressed
Massage can have a de-stressing effect and reverse these actions. It can offer relief to people who are in physical pain or who have emotional stress and tension in their lives and bodies.
Sometimes when I have an enquiry for a massage appointment the client will be in such pain that they are at the end of their tether, they are desperate to see me and they feel they cannot wait for more than a day for a massage.
If I cannot fit them in at such notice they may look for another therapist, however if they are willing to wait and I can fit them in then quite often when they appear for their appointment, perhaps even a week later, and I ask how they are feeling I sometimes get this response.
“I’m feeling a bit better actually”
“It’s not as bad as it was”
I believe this is a psychological effect of booking a massage appointment. Perhaps they’ve put off coming for a massage for quite a while, perhaps they’ve been injured, or perhaps they’ve been under a lot of stress recently, whatever the reason may be, they’ve reached their breaking point. They’ve realised that they can’t take anymore, they need to stop, they need to do something to look after themselves.
Having that realisation and acknowledging that something needs to change can be very powerful. The brain-body connection may have been ignored for a while, but it is now being heard very clearly. And then even making the phone call and anticipating a massage can have a relaxing and pain relieving effect. It such a powerful act of self-care that the body knows it is being given permission to slow down, stop, relax. So by the time I get to meet the person they may have already begun some of the body and mind healing that is needed. Hence why they already feel a bit better!