Stress and Your Health
Energy Healing may seem pretty foreign to many of us although more and more people are seeking healing from non-traditional sources that have their roots in ancient beliefs and traditions based on principles of a universal life force. You should know that yoga, acupuncture, Tai Chi, Reiki, and the Chakra Balancing Massages now offered at famous spas are all based on these concepts. If you are enjoying and finding benefit from any of these types of alternative treatments or activities without subscribing to any particular related belief system, you may well be proving my later point. So let me back it up a bit and return to common sense.
Let’s get more “material” about stress:
Do you believe the scientific studies correlating stress to possibly 90% of disease? Do you experience the effects of stress in a particular way or place in your body (shoulders, skin, lower back, migraines, depression, ulcers, TMJ, anxiety, etc.)? Do you know from experience that your body reacts to your thoughts?
Stress, in most modern circumstances begins as a thought (energy), not a physical situation that requires a physical response. Most of our stressors are mental (finances, jobs, relationships, family, emotional upheaval, grieving, etc.) as opposed to a vicious animals or warring tribes threatening our physical safety directly. As a result, our bodies are mobilized for fight or flight but we have no direct physical outlet. We really can’t really run away or attack such problems physically.
The “energy” of stress (which was designed to protect us and heighten our performance mentally and physically) creates a reaction (chemical, hormonal, vascular, neurological, muscular, electrical, etc.) that then lodges in the body with no direct outlet. Even when the threat is real and physical, the results of stress may persist in our minds and bodies long after the situation has occurred (PTSD).
Physical exercise is excellent for reducing stress and working out the effects of tension that were intended to be mitigated by fight or flight (very physical actions). Sometimes this isn’t enough–the thoughts that create the stress won’t leave after the “threat” is gone or we are unable to stop the cycle once it has rooted itself. Other times, we become unable to do the physical work to clear ourselves of the results of stress due to injury, illness, life circumstances, etc.
Lastly, we are amazing beings with incredible powers of adaptation. We can adapt to constant stressors. This can save us in the short term but has long term effects in that we may no longer even realize how depleted and tense we are and come to view the heightened state of arousal as normal or even desirable.
The mind and body weren’t designed for this. Most people eventually pay a price with their health. This is where holistic therapies can be helpful. If stress really is correlated to 90% of disease (emotional and physical), then the mind and body are clearly inseparable and one. If stress is made better or worse by our thoughts, then our thoughts need to be part of the cure. Physical release (in some form) is essential and so is nutrition, creating time for relaxation, communication (with our own selves and others), and exchanging unhealthy ways of coping for healthier ones.
Holistic therapies are another way to reduce and mitigate the effects stress, and being holistic (mind/body inclusive) they tend to treat the bigger picture of a whole and complex human being, not ignoring the interplay of thoughts, feelings, sensations, circumstances, environment, diet, illness, injury, etc. but working within the complex dynamic of our whole selves.
There are many amazing holistic practitioners with various skills and training that are helping a growing number of people with a variety of conditions using non-conventional and alternative methods. Some of these methods can not be proven scientifically and yet more and more people are finding them helpful.