Stress relief: what relaxation can do for your overall health

Stress is your body’s natural response to danger or pressure. It has helped us to survive as a species. Nowadays, however, stress is seen as a feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to deal with an emotional or mental situation. Every day activities can be triggers of excess stress, for that reason, calm and relaxation are your best allies to avoid, treat and even defeat stress. In this blog, we want to show you the benefits of relaxation, some of the existing types  and what scientific evidence has shown.

What is the impact of relaxation in your overall health?

It is possible that you have heard about the psychological benefits of relaxation. However,  recent studies have shown that these benefits are extending to different areas.

It is important for you to know that studies have focused on deep relaxation techniques (what makes you evoke a specific physiological and mental state) so these benefits are associated with them, not  with common routine relaxing activities like walking, watching tv or gardening. Some examples of deep relaxation are:

Other forms of relaxation are:

  • Deep breathing
  • Massage 
  • Tai chi
  • Music and art therapy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Hydrotherapy

What are the benefits of relaxation? 

All these techniques produce what DR. Benson, director of Behavioral medicine at Beth Israel Hospital (part of Harvard Medicine school in Boston) calls “ the relaxation response”.

Due to these findings many hospitals are teaching their patients these relaxation techniques in order to create holistic treatments.

One of the most important findings of these studies is that deep relaxation, when practiced regularly, helps you to strengthen your immune system or even reduce the symptoms of some medical conditions. 

Let’s read what studies have shown as benefits of relaxation:

  • Decreases the activity of the sympathetic nervous system
  • Helps asthmatics to widen their restricted respiratory passages and breath normally
  • It might help reduce the need of insulin in some cases of diabetics
  • Increases the levels of helper cells (cells that defend you against infectious diseases)
  • May help people to be less susceptible to viruses
  • Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Lessens the severity of angina attacks
  • Helps to relieve chronic and severe pain.
  • Alleviates backache, chronic migraines or tension headaches
  • Slows heart rate
  • Slows your breathing rate
  • Improves digestion
  • Keeps your sugar blood levels normal
  • Reduces stress hormones
  • Increasing blood flow to major muscles
  • Reduces  muscle tension
  • Improves your concentration and mood
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Lowers fatigue
  • Reduces anger and frustration
  • Boosts confidence to handle problems

What is happening now?

On the other hand, another study, made in a retirement home in Ohio (USA), showed that after 1 training month the level of natural killer cells and antibody titers improved significantly. Why is it important? because these cells and antibodies are the indicator of resistance to tumors and viruses. In other words, relaxation can help your own body fight against cancer symptoms and diseases.

As a result, more doctors are seeing the value of these techniques as a way to tap the inner capacity of patients to help with their own healing.

Nowadays, medical practitioners are evaluating the overall effectiveness of relaxation in a large range of medical problems like:

  • the management of the side effects of such medical procedures as kidney dialysis and cancer chemotherapy
  • gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome
  • emphysema 
  • skin disorders

A final word

Remember that relaxation techniques are skills. For that reason, as any skill, your ability to relax improves with practice. In addition, the more you practice these techniques, you will get more and faster benefits.

We hope this information is useful for you. If you have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us in Mill Hill Broadway and Islington. If you like this blog, please share!

We are always happy to help.


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