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All I want for Christmas is some Stress Relief!

Wouldn't it be fantastic to find this in our stocking on Christmas Morning?! Like a magic wand has been waved and layers of emotions and physical pains and niggles just relieved and dissolved and not to reappear once the Christmas hiatus is over?

Stress, its a small word, but it has huge implications, its such a vast topic , how to write something about it in one blog, when it could be a years worth?

The list of physical symptoms that stress takes its toll on you is vast, from a painful and inflexible lower back, to tension in your neck and shoulders, a squirmy tummy, nicely muddled up with anxiety, headaches; the list goes on, and as a Shiatsu Practitioner these are all symptoms I see and have great success with helping people resolve, if only you acknowledge you're having these symptoms :)

The one symptom I'm noticing more and more, especially in the last 6 months is overwhelm, and I now hear the word everywhere. I turn on the tele and its on the fact programmes, I hear it in everyday life, and I hear it talked about alot at networking business meetings, and I can say that there are days where I think I am too. So how does it manifest, and what toll does it take?

Remember the saying 'can't see the wood for the trees?' that's overwhelm. Do you feel like trying to get the house clean on top of everything else seems insurmountable? That's overwhelm. Are you deliberately texting people rather than having a conversation (when you know you should have a conversation)? That's overwhelm.

That's just a few examples, but I'm sure you'll be able to relate to one of those scenarios and maybe start to realise that there are more of them in your life?


Acknowledging that you feel this way is the first step, realise that all these little instances are overwhelm and that you are overwhelmed because you are stressed.

The next step is trying to sort it all out, so first things first - Do you get enough sleep? If you don't then this is the very first thing to sort out as your nervous system needs a break, it needs decent sleep to recuperate and it needs nutrients to nourish it back to health.

Stress and overwhelm are exacerbated by a stressed and overlooked nervous system. If you're running on adrenalin to get you through the days, either in the form of caffeine or 'your nerves' you're also pumping your body with cortisol. It's a hormone released at the same time as adrenalin, but it hangs around long afterwards and although it's supposed to be the 'relaxation' hormone, it seems to do anything but for us nowadays because, you're stressed; so you're in a real 'catch 22' situation here.

A couple of facts about stress that made me sit up and look more closely at my health were 1.Excess cortisol kills brain cells and 2. extended stress exacerbates memory loss. We don't need any more of this in our lives if we already feel are brains are running at capacity.


Here are some tips on what you can do for yourself straight away:

Take Magnesium - calms your mind, aids sleep and helps your nervous system repair overnight. Also great for relieving cramps and restless legs.

Take an age appropriate multi-vitamin - packed with high dosages of minerals that your nervous system needs in order to recoup whilst you're sleeping.

Drink more water, especially before bed, a warm glass of water won't make you want to pee so quickly :) Brain cells die off with dehydration, water the little fellas to keep them running, they're thirsty!

Find a relaxation exercise like Qi Gong, Tai Chi, or do guided meditations (lots of apps like HeadSpace around nowadays). This will help slow down the knee-jerk adrenal responses you're having.

Cut down on foods that have no nutritional content (processed foods and sugars), they're killing your gut bacteria which in turn leads to more 'anxiety'. Eat more vegetables, these are the fertiliser of the gut, bacteria are like bunnies they want their greens to feed on!

Take a Pro-biotic, this is what populates your gut with healthy bacteria, the better your gut, the better your health, your sleep, your calmness, and your capacity. Keep your bacteria happy and you'll reap the benefits.

Cut out caffeine, its a stimulant that is the last thing you need with stress, we have to get your adrenal response under control.

Look into taking Ashwagandha, from Ayurvedic medicine, this powdered root really gets your adrenal response calming down. It's known as an adaptogen which means it's really good at dealing with the outcome of stress on your body.

Have a therapy that will help calm your nervous system, induce relaxation, calm and clear your head, eradicate overwhelm! I'm a Shiatsu Practitioner and this is one of the best therapies around for working on your mind and body at the same time. Not only is it working to relieve the symptoms, aches and pains you bring along, it is also working at a very deep level in your body, rebalancing systems like the nervous, circulation and lymphatic to restore your immunity and health.

Other great therapies include reflexology, cranial osteopathy and aromatherapy massage.


Andrea Marsh works as a Shiatsu Practitioner in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. She regularly see's people with complex midlife health issues, stemming from stress and a busy lifetstyle. Shiatsu is a gentle yet powerful therapy, where you are fully clothed, but where you will leave feeling like you have had a massage and will be deeply relaxed. In the coming days your body will detox and then start to rebalance and respond to this therapy. Shiatsu is based on the principle of Chinese Medicine (like acupuncture), Shiatsu is performed with gentle pressure, stretches and rotations and is suitable for just about everyone; there are very few contra-indications. Call Andrea on 07899 987227 to see how Shiatsu can help you relieve your symptoms or book a call here.

Stress relief for Christmas with Shiatsu Bodyworks Cheltenham

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