Did you know that October is mental health awareness month set by the ONA (Ontario Nurses Association)? In fact, the Canadian Psychiatric Association also set the second week of October every year to raise awareness for mental health issues. As well, the World Health Organization felt the need to set a yearly date of October 10th to bring awareness to mental health issues. It’s as typical as a headache these days… Do you recognize it?
Throughout my career as a Massage Therapist, I have often found signs of stress and anxiety in many bodies on my table. Soreness across the shoulders, headaches in many forms, jaw pain, chest/rib pain and even pelvic pain! Stress and Anxiety causes so many things to go wrong inside the body, inside and out. When you experience stress and anxiety, your body increases its levels of cortisol and reacts in fight or flight mode. People experience stomach upset, tight muscles, chest pain, increased heart rate, chills, dizziness, nausea, inability to breathe properly, sweating, light-headedness…and many more symptoms.
A continued state of fight or flight mode over a long period can create undue problems. All this resulting from the body reacting out of fear of something that may not even happen.
Did you know that Massage Therapy decreases the stress hormone cortisol? In turn, it increases dopamine and serotonin, the happy hormones the same way a good workout or a long walk does. As a Therapist, I get to help people overcome the stress of injuries, muscle spasms, unexplained muscle tightness, stomach issues and so many more things. I feel lucky! I love having people come into the clinic with problems and leave with a little hope that things can and will get better. When someone comes in for a massage, as a massage therapist, I am trained to feel the differences in muscle and connective tissue tone and movement. There are many techniques I can use to manually manipulate the muscles or nervous system in the area. You will feel a decrease in tension which then allows the body to move better, have better circulation in the body and lymphatic flow, retrains the nervous system out of a negative feedback loop caused by the stress or injury and into a healthy communication between brain and muscle. It’s crazy how closely mental health and physical health are tied sometimes.
I don’t know about you, but I have had enough of this Covid-19 virus that has us all in a ‘knot’ (pun intended)! All the rules and regulations in different places that seem to apply only to certain situations or contradict each other etc etc. It certainly causes anxiety for me! How about anxiety and stress on a regular basis… it’s not even a matter of life going right or wrong, it can very much be a biological thing. Do you recognize the signs in your body? Are you comfortable enough to get the proper help? Do you, or have you, spoken to your doctor about it? Massage Therapy is just one tool you can use to help yourself feel better. I love to be able to help you! Utilizing your doctor, counsellor, psychologists, friends and family are big in helping you maintain life. It really is as easy and normal as going to the doctor for other medical issues.
A better Mental you is also a better Physical you! Enjoy life! Find your silver linings, notice all the beauty around you, smell the fresh air, enjoy the beautiful food, smile at those that you pass by. Life is so amazing. Don’t let Stress and Anxiety freeze it or steal your ability to enjoy it. Here are a few great articles I’ve come across with more information and self checks for stress or anxiety. Utilize them! Save them for future use… Take care of you physically and mentally, together they work better!
Rebecca Raineault is a Registered Massage Therapist in Ontario and looks forward to helping you get both your mental and physical health back in order by working on those stressed out muscles.