We work very hard in our lives. Often we don’t get adequate sleep. And rarely do we make time to rest during our demanding day. Just as athletes know that they need recovery time after a strenuous workout, those with stressful lifestyles also need recovery for reducing physical, emotional, and psychological wear-and-tear. We now know that chronic high levels of stress can cause all sorts of disruptions in the body and contribute to the onset or worsening of most illnesses.
Rest is a part of a natural cycle. When the body mobilizes to handle threats and challenges—with the release of stress hormones that speed up heart rate and breathing, and shut down digestion and immune function—relaxation is needed to bring our physiology back into balance. Both the stress response and the relaxation response are inborn mechanisms necessary for survival and maintaining health. Taking even short rest breaks—to do practices such as deep breathing, restorative yoga poses, walking or sitting in nature—has a very beneficial impact.
Massage and Bodywork at Massage Therapy Center Palo Alto are powerful timeouts that help us relax and rest deeply, benefiting all the systems of our body, especially when received regularly. And when combined with deep, mindful breathing, the benefits of bodywork are multiplied. Blood pressure and heart rate are lowered, digestion and circulation stimulated, immune function enhanced, and stress hormones that make us feel overwhelmed, cranky, and on edge are reduced as the nervous system is soothed.