With school, kids, obligations, work, and responsibilities, who has time to get any relaxation? Your body can only take a certain amount of stress… then it begins to rebel. Back aches, neck pain, upset stomach, heart problems, cancer and diabetes have all been linked to stress. We try to relax, but sometimes it feels like we need to sleep for a decade in order to get any real relief… Are we doing something wrong?
What Really Is Relaxation?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Relaxation isn’t just about peace of mind or enjoying a hobby. Relaxation is a process that decreases the effects of stress on your mind and body. Relaxation techniques can help you cope with everyday stress and with stress related to various health problems, such as cancer and pain. “
When we hear the word “relaxation” we think of sitting on the beach, vegging out in front of the TV, or curling up with a book. But, that is not necessarily the kind of relaxation that is the most restorative. There are several alternatives that can offer restoration to the mind and body.
Alternative Ways To Relax
Instead of zoning out, we should be tuning in to our bodies. Our bodies can tell us what we really need if only we took a moment to listen. Below are the top 5 ways to tune into your body to get the restoration that will make you feel fulfilled.
1. Massage Therapy
When we say massage we don’t mean the quick back rub your special someone begrudgingly gives you after begging them. We mean visiting a trainer masseur to work out your kinks and knots. We know massages can be very expensive, but most people only need one every few months to feel lasting results! In the words of Donna and Tom from Parks and Recreation: Treat Yo Self!
For centuries, the ancient art of acupressure has been used as a form of massage to increase circulation, energy flow and balance Qi (the body’s energy system). Less invasive than acupuncture, acupressure uses fingers to manipulative the pressure points throughout the body. The healing effects of this technique are often remarkable. You can learn about acupressure and perform it on yourself, or go to a trained specialist.
Reflexology is a form of massage that is based on the concept of various zones within the feet and hands that in turn correspond to organs, glands and parts of the body. Similar to acupressure, this is more than simple foot massage. We recommend going to a trained reflexologist to get the best results.
Hypnosis utilizes imagination and relaxation to bring about changes in behavior by utilizing the power of the subconscious mind. The three key ingredients in hypnosis are relaxation, concentration and cooperation. You can easily find self-guided hypnosis videos on Youtube for a deep, relaxing session, for free!
Aromatherapy, using essential and carrier oils, has been used for centuries to enhance health and relaxation. Certain scents arouse various parts of the brain to stimulate or to relax. Examples of scents that can calm the mind and body are lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood, among others. Find a scent that relaxes you and stick with it whenever you want to feel relaxed. The more you promote this relaxing feeling when you smell this scent, the more the scent will be associated with relaxing. In case you didn’t know, scent is the strong of the five senses that is tied to memory!
These forms of therapy have been found to be very effective for many people. ”More and 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,” said Jon Kabat-Zinn, director of the Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. Why not give one or all of them a try? Relax your way to better health.