Stress describes the pressures we all face every day – physical, emotional, mental or even chemical. It activates your sympathetic nervous system, releasing stress hormones throughout your body, and this makes you ready to handle a sudden stressful event. It prepares you to take emergency action.
But when there’s no relief from stress, no down time, that’s when it becomes a problem. Then it becomes “distress,” which is a negative stress reaction.
But there are ways to manage and alleviate stress. Take a break and schedule the most helpful spa service for the specific type of stress you are facing.
1. Anxiety. Try an aromatherapy massage with lavender, which is thought to reduce the negative effects of stress hormones such as cortisol. Or schedule reflexology (a foot massage), again with lavender.
2. Tense muscles. Thermotherapy, such as a visit to a steam room or sauna, is a heat therapy that causes your body temperature to rise. Your body recognizes this increased temperature as fever and responds by producing more white blood cells, which in turn boost your immune system. Steam rooms reduce adrenaline and increase endorphin levels, too, so they are also good for your mental health.
3. Body aches. These can be reduced through stretching and massage. Choose a day spa that offers Thai massage, which includes stretching.
4. Insomnia or other sleep problems. Special massage for insomnia, sometimes combined with aromatherapy, helps your body decompress and relax into slumber. Some spas offer special sleep programs and “sleep retreats.”
5. Nail biting. Schedule a relaxing manicure and throw in a pedicure, too.
6. Headaches. Massage that focuses on the neck, shoulders and head may decrease the discomfort and pain of tension and migraine headaches.
7. Skin problems. Book a facial to nourish and repair your skin or a full-body exfoliation that will leave you feeling relaxed and silky. Or go in for a makeup lesson and application.
8. Impatience or short temper. Massage increases our level of serotonin, the hormone that makes us happy and causes us to have a positive outlook. And smelling a fragrance during an aromatherapy treatment causes our olfactory receptors send a message to our limbic system, which deals with our instincts, moods and emotions.
9. Back pain. People have used hot stone therapy since ancient times. Usually, heated basalt river rocks are used because they retain heat and are smooth. They warm, relax and soothe aching muscles.
10. Chronic pain. Double check with your doctor regarding whether massage is appropriate for your condition first, and let the spa know about the pain, too. Massage can help chronic pain by loosening up tight muscles, increasing blood flow and promoting relaxation.