As defined by the Mayo Clinic, “Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the ever increasing demands of life. Surveys show that most Americans experience challenges with stress at some point during the year. In looking at the causes of stress, remember that your brain comes hard-wired with an alarm system for your protection. When your brain perceives a threat, it signals your body to release a burst of hormones to fuel your capacity for a response. This has been labeled the “fight-or-flight” response. Once the threat is gone, your body is meant to return to a normal relaxed state.
Unfortunately, the nonstop stress of modern life means that your alarm system rarely shuts off.
Stress affects your mood, your behavior and your body – often resulting in muscle tension and pain. Left unchecked it can contribute to serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. It is well accepted in the medical community that triggering the body’s relaxation response through massage counteracts the body’s stress response.
Massage creates chemical changes that reduce pain and stress throughout the body. Massage decelerates heart rate, slows breathing rates and relaxes muscles.
In fact, scientists at Cedars-Sinai, in a 2010 study of the physical effects of massage, concluded that massage not only feels good but is good for you. Blood tests of participants that received 45 minutes of Swedish massage “showed changes indicating a benefit to the immune system including a sizable decrease in arginine vasopressin, a hormone that contributes to aggressive behavior.”
What’s more, a comprehensive study reported by the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies in the year 2000, asserts that hypertension and its associated symptoms were reduced through regular massage therapy. The subjects in this study were provided with ten 30-minute massage sessions over the course of five weeks. The subjects, all of whom suffered from hypertension, experienced reduced blood pressure, reduced feelings of depression, less hostile behavior, and reduced levels of cortisol in their urine and salivary samples.
Unfortunately, many people don’t include regular massage as part of a healthy lifestyle. Some believe it is just a luxury reserved for special occasions. Others think it is only for the well-to-do. That’s why Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spas offer a healthy lifestyle membership plan. Each month members enjoy a massage or signature facial at a price that is a fraction of what most luxury spas charge.
So come and be part of “Relaxation Nation” – relax, refresh, renew AND de-stress at Hand & Stone with a massage as part of your own plan to combat stress.
Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spas are located in Severna Park Plaza (410-544-7999) and Annapolis Harbour Center (410-224-4402). First time clients and Lifestyle Program members pay only $59.95 for a Classic facial. We have extended hours, are open 7 days/wk and walk-ins and same day appointments are welcome. Visit handandstone.com. We hope to see you soon!