Massage Your Stress Away

Yesterday I treated myself to a massage.  It was wonderful!  Fifty five minutes of bliss – Well pain and discomfort actually – but the bliss came later.  Massages are tremendous as a form of stress relief and I really do respond well to them.

I really don’t get enough massages and I’m not sure why not – well actually I do.  Two reasons really – expense and time.  But really, can I afford not to?  I mean what price is health?

Anyway, yesterday I decided enough was enough.  I was fed up with hobbling about with pains in my feet because of the tension in my lower back.  And my neck was so stiff with physical stress that I could literally feel my shoulders tensing up.  I booked myself a full body massage.

My therapist, Bijal, was new to me but she combined all the regular massage techniques with pressure on acupuncture points.  It started well.  She massaged my back and neck, back of my legs, front of my legs, feet and then started on my stomach.  Tummy massage is something I’ve always avoided like the plague but I thought, why not? – I won’t say I enjoyed it, that would be going just too far, but it was OK.  Then she massaged my arms, hands and finished off with my shoulders, neck (from underneath) and head. 

I swear I floated out of the room!  I can wholly recommend a massage if you’re feeling under the weather with your stress.  And don’t be scared to try something different.  Stress relief is all about what works for you so if you fancy something different, try it.  You never know, you might just love it!

Don’t Tear Your Hair Out

Did you know that your hair and scalp can be a barometer of the stress levels in your life?  People who are happy and handle stress in their lives with ease usually have healthy, shiny hair.  And dry, lifeless and damaged hair could be a sign that you are ill or suffering from too much stress.  And male pattern baldness apart, stress is probably the biggest causes of hair loss, which can itself be very stressful, especially for women, leading to a self fulfilling downward spiral of hair loss.

Some people handle stress better than others, but there can be a time in anyone’s life where stress becomes seriously significant – such as during an illness or traumatic situation.  During these times even people who handle most stress with ease may experience physical abnormalities, including hair loss.  

When stress related hair loss occurs, our bodies are telling us that we need to look slow down, relax and actively tackle the underlying causes of our stress.

Serious emotional stress such as a death in the family, divorce, moving away from family and friends etc can make hair follicles dormant.  When this happens, hair stops growing and combing or washing the hair will cause it to fall out.  It is not uncommon for it to take many months for the hair growth to return to normal – after the emotional stress has been resolved.

Physical stress such as an operation or treatment for a disease may also cause hair loss.  It is common for cancer patients receiving radiotherapy to experience at least partial hair loss.  Fortunately, as the patient recovers, the hair follicles usually recover too and hair growth usually re-starts.

However, when hair loss is prevalent for no apparent reason, you should seek professional help to rule out, or get treatment for any serious underlying medical problem. 

If your hair loss is simply caused by an abundance of stress, however, take heart.  Stress related hair loss usually ends when the stress has been resolved.  So stop tearing your hair out about your hair loss.  Worrying will only make the situation worse.  Much better you take active steps to combat the destructive signs of stress – such as eating a healthy diet, getting more exercise, taking up Tai Chi or yoga.