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As you know, businesses are built on word of mouth and referrals. We are lucky to be supported by local Doctors, Physiotherapists, Osteopaths and Chiropractors, but you’re just as important to us. If we have helped you in some way, or you know someone who you think would benefit from our treatments, please share our details with them. As a thank you for your support, we’ll take $15 off your next treatment.
This Month's Topic
We are lucky this month to have an article on the effects of stress by our super talented therapist Claire. Her experience in the treatment of stress is second to none in New Zealand thanks to her years working in woman’s health and with victims of war crimes. While we are blessed to live in a peaceful country we are not immune to the effects of chronic stress. Everyday stress is at epic levels amongst the common population in NZ and is a strong contributor to body pain. Read on to learn more about how stress affects your body and how we can help.
The Vital Bits
Consider this scenario: Monday morning and you are late. The kids are making a noise in the back of the car and you have managed to spill coffee over your top whilst running out of the house. Every traffic light is red (of course) and why does the car in front seem to be doing 30km/h instead of 50km/h? This morning it’s that important meeting with management from HQ and you cannot find a park to drop the kids off. They are now sparring in the back of the car with gusto and the tempo is rising... AAAGGGHHHHH!!!
We can all relate to similar scenarios of everyday ‘stressors’. Lateness, noise, money worries, deadlines, traffic and, of course, people too! We experience these scenarios daily and when something happens often enough it becomes ‘normal’ behaviour. That’s ok because it feels normal... or is it? Follow me on a little trip into the body and see exactly how everyday stressors affect us.
Firstly we reach the nervous system… complex and wonderful. In the old days when we had to run from that scary sabre-toothed tiger (or his woolly mammoth mate) the activation of the fight-flight mechanism saved many of our ancestors. Their hearts beat faster to increase blood flow to the muscles so they could run quickly. Their blood pressure, breathing and metabolism went into hyper-drive. Their bodies also went into full-scale alert to act quickly and effectively in this threatening situation. But there are no mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers to worry about today or do they just come in the guise of the stressors mentioned above?
We may feel ‘normal’ but it is highly acknowledged that many of us have an overloaded nervous system. Constant activation of the fight-flight mechanism is damaging our bodies on many levels and most of us do not even know it. A recent NZ mental health survey indicated that 46.6% of us will have a chance of developing a sort of mental condition in our lifetime. Sombre reading.
Cortisol and adrenaline are hormones released in times of stress. When cortisol is chronically present the body is prevented from repairing itself in sleep (that’s if we can sleep because we are so wired!). There can be alterations between your gut-brain connection resulting in irritable bowel and food allergies amongst other issues. The secretions of the gut can change, resulting in low-level inflammation. Inflammatory agents travel through the blood where they affect nerves, organs, connective tissue, joints and muscles. At a chronic level stress does not serve you well.
If you would like some help in managing stress or know someone who you think would value reading this article, please feel free to share this and book yourself in for a treatment with us. In the meantime, some homecare is always a good way to start reducing stress. See our Vitality Tips below for my top tip. I’m off for a bush walk now having felt quite anxious about writing this article! While the bush re-energises me I’ll consider a quote by Rumi:
‘‘Love is found in the release of holding, starting with release of holding of our breath…’’
It has been proven that correct breathing over a period of two months can improve anxiety and increase feelings of calm. Working with a number of wonderful psychologists (in my other job) I have access to many tools to help with breathing, stress and anxiety. I think I will pick the cream of the crop which is this lovely link www.calm.auckland.ac.nz/. It contains guided audio meditations for relaxation, anxiety reduction, correct breathing amongst other tools. Plug in, sit back and enjoy!
Mandy Crawford, Doctor of Osteopathy