Shiatsu for Stress
Stress takes its toll mentally and very much physically. If we try to deny that we’re stressed emotionally we are then more than likely pushing it deeper into our bodies.
A certain amount of stress at times is a positive, especially to help you meet a deadline, but stress day in day out, and layers of it from different avenues in your life, creates a wall that builds up. One day one little thing will take you over the safe limit of stress in your life, but with regular Shiatsu it’s very much about keeping that wall as low to the ground as possible.
What are the symptoms of stress? Starting from the head down:
Shoulder and neck tension
Chronic pain may vary throughout your body
Frequent sickness – stomach issues, colds, lowered immunity
Low energy and Sleep issues
Change in appetite
Inability to relax and switch off
Lack of Libido
What a list... and you may have a few or many of these issues, and it's miserable because how do you relieve them?
So many stresses in life you can’t get away from, as they may come from your family, caring for the older or younger generation, your work (we can’t all just change jobs), even the way you view your life (glass half full v empty). Your personality type plays a major role in how easily you feel stressed, laid back people just won’t understand this article. However, if you’re a stickler for getting the job done, or you’re put under so much pressure to achieve without support or understanding at work then stress can become extreme.
Stress is very much an external assertion on our mind and body, but also it can be our perception. People may be easily stressed at what they perceive as a situation whereas the next person may be able to take an incredible amount on their shoulders, but then bring themselves perilously close to snapping.
HOW SHIATSU CAN HELP
Once you push stress into your body, it can be held as tension in your muscles and/or your vital organs. You know the classic ‘Neck and Shoulder tension’, now imagine that going on in your diaphragm, your stomach, your liver, your bowels, your knees, wrists and fingers.
Any part of your body can be affected by stress if you feel it, as you hold onto it, and it doesn’t easily dissipate. When muscles are used (tensed up) the muscle fibres shorten, when we release, unless we do lovely long stretches, not all the fibres are released, so maybe 10% remain tight. If you tense again, then release now 20% of muscles fibres may be tight, and so on – building up the tension that you know.
If this is going on around the diaphragm, where we hold and protect our gut when feeling vulnerable it can start placing tension into vital organs like the stomach, spleen, liver, gallbladder, small intestine. We then start to get digestive issues.
The large intestine is normally the outcome of what is going on in the above organs, but it can also have its own cramps and misery, so IBS can be added to the list of stress symptoms. Everyone will be different as all our bodies are different, I normally see that where you’ve had a childhood illness this can lead to a weakness in that area and this is where your stress will manifest.
It doesn’t matter where your stress appears or how it appears as symptoms in you, the inner issue is about relieving you of some of the stress you feel, and this is where Shiatsu comes in. Shiatsu can be targeted very specifically to relieve your symptoms, and during the touch therapy tensions can be felt in the body and sympathetically relieved.
Shiatsu is gentle and comforting, sometimes you can have stress and not be able to put a finger on a specific symptom but just know you are stressed, and if that is the case have a treatment as it will really relieve how you’re feeling and put you back in balance again.
Don’t put up with Stress as it’s not doing your body any good at all, regular treatments will alleviate the stresses as they appear. Stay on top of stress, keep your immunity up and you’ll not get illnesses so easily and your regular symptoms will decrease. I realised back in my 20s that having cranial osteopathy regularly was doing as much for my mind and my body. Then I found Shiatsu in my early 30s and it all made sense as I studied Chinese Medicine. I’ve not looked back, I receive Shiatsu once a month, I always have a list of niggles to be ironed out as I’ve always been a person to get easily stressed (I’m a former perfectionist!). I hate to think about how I’d be physically if I hadn’t have found Shiatsu.
All my other tips have been quick ideas that you can do at home, but Stress is a tough one. Running a hot bath with essential oils is not going to remove real stress, it may alleviate some tension, but most stress starts with how we’re feeling about a situation.
My tip on this one is ask yourself some questions:
What is my main stress at this time? (as I’m sure there will be many, but you need to be honest here).
Is this really a stress that I need to carry? If Yes, see below, if No, then do something like a hot bath, soak and let it go....
Really, is it? If no after giving yourself an honest talk take that bath ...If answer still yes, then you really should consider Shiatsu.
There are external stresses and self-induced stress. If you have brought on additional stress by say staying angry at a situation then you should know that anger only affects one person – You.
By holding onto unnecessary stresses, you’re doing the same thing, only hurting yourself.
This is why my tip is to really question whether certain stresses need to be held onto.
If you’re caring for your parent, child, dog, grandchild, yes those are real stresses, as are work situations. But if an argument with someone is an additional stress that is a scenario that I suggest you ask yourself if you need to hold onto the stress of....