Stress is normal part of daily life. As well as affecting us when we’re under pressure, professionally or personally, stress can also come from more positive sources, such as planning a wedding, moving house or having a baby.
Wherever possible, it’s good to address the underlying cause of stress, but if it’s something beyond your control, the next best thing is to try and find ways to manage it, so that it doesn’t take a toll on your health and wellbeing.
There are a growing number of published studies and clinical trials that suggest different complementary therapies can help to reduce stress and improve mood and sleep problems. This is supported by a recent survey by FHT*, which showed that 85% of its complementary therapy members regularly (more than once a month) treat clients who have stress or anxiety.
In this blog item, FHT Vice President, Mary Dalgleish, looks at three different self-help therapy techniques that can be used to reduce stress and anxiety, whether you’re at work, home or on the move…
The adrenal glands, which are directly affected by stress, are responsible for the ‘fight-or-flight’ response we feel when under pressure. This response is meant to be short-lived, but in many cases it is a regular occurrence, leading to overworked adrenal glands. In reflexology, the adrenal reflex is found just below the ball of each foot and also on the fleshy area below the thumb on the palmar side of the hand. Gently pressing these reflex points for a few minutes can help calm the adrenal glands and reduce tension. The hands can be worked at any time of day and the feet are best worked for about five minutes per foot before bedtime.
Aromatherapy involves using plant essential oils to help improve our health and wellbeing. Lavender is one of the most studied essential oils in terms of its relaxing effects. It has been shown to calm the nervous system, lower blood pressure, heart rate and skin temperature, as well as change brain waves to a more relaxed state. Neroli, often referred to as the ‘rescue remedy’ of essential oils, is also a valuable oil for helping to ease anxiety and stress, along with Bergamot, which is traditionally used in Italian folk medicine to relieve tension and anxiety. Add one or two drops of oil to a hanky or pillowcase and inhale when required, avoiding contact with the eyes and skin.
Facing up to stress
My speciality treatment is natural facelift massage and I am constantly amazed how tension can be released throughout the whole body when just the face is massaged. We tend to hold emotional stress in our faces – particularly in the jaw and temples – so gently massaging these areas using upward and outward circular motions helps to promote relaxation and reduce stress, while increasing muscle tone and revitalising your skin. It is easy to do yourself, using your favourite cream or oil after cleansing. Make it a daily routine to look and feel your best.
For more information about stress and Mind’s National Stress Awareness Day, which aims to reduce stress in the workplace, visit www.mind.org.uk
Find a professional therapist at fht.org.uk/findatherapist
*2019 FHT Member Survey, 608 respondents.