Most people come into the clinic because they are in some sort of discomfort, but they rarely relate their body status to stress, or never take stress into account as a predisposing or aggravating factor.
But what is stress? Firstly, let’s debunk one myth: stress is not necessarily a ‘bad’ thing. Without this brilliant ability to feel stress, humankind wouldn’t have survived.
Stress surprisingly makes you social. Oxytocin is a neural hormone that primes you to strengthen relationships and help your friends. It is also known as ‘the cuddle hormone’, but Oxytocin is also released as a stress response – to make you want to tell someone you are struggling.
Stress is a primarily a physical response from the body to an event, emotion, thought therefore happening within our internal and external environment. When stressed, the body thinks it is under attack and switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing a complex mix of hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine to prepare the body for physical action. This causes several reactions, from blood being diverted to muscles to shutting down unnecessary bodily functions such as digestion.
The challenge is when our body goes into a state of stress in inappropriate situations which is often due to the fact, we cannot control our “state of mind” or we cannot get our body in a “resting mode.
Here are 3 ways osteopathy can help reduce chronic levels of stress in the body:
- Education – Learn how to listen to your body and how to prepare it to face stress!
It is not often considered as a treatment, but education about stress and its physiological and biological relation to your body it is paramount to start developing a better body awareness in order to learn how to listen your own body as well changing your thoughts about stress.
- Exercises – Can change not only your body but your mind!
With the help of the osteopath you could get a tailored exercise plan based on your body needs to assist and promote self-healing processes within the body. Some benefits of exercising include improving psychological health and daily energy, improve blood circulation and tissue health, improving sleep.
- Manual Therapy – Promote state of health!
Via manual therapy techniques your osteopath could help you to promote a state of “rest and digest” within your body improving your breathing mechanisms as well as working on your autonomic nervous system which will in turn induce a state of relaxation improving your psychological and physiological health status.