Total Therapy Blog
How to Really Relax for this Summer
Stress, sports, and everyday activities can take a toll on the body. We get knots in our shoulders, our necks start to ache, our backs complain, and our knees creak. While it may seem that these things are an inevitable part of a busy life, trying these simple tricks can help relieve a stressed body:
1. Be aware of how you breathe. Most people breathe apically (chest breathing). Try instead to take in a full breath through the tummy to trigger a full-body relaxation response. Shallow breathing can lead to anxiety, and in severe panic attacks people report feeling unable to get in a good full breath. So when you feel tension, remember to breathe.
2. Relaxed shoulders. A lot of us hold our shoulders up by our ears without realizing it. Habitual poor posture adds unnecessary tension to the body. Reminding yourself to relax your shoulders can also remind you to relax your body, improving your mood.
3. Stretching. Yoga, breathing exercises, and other active range of motion (AROM) movements limber up the body. Moving a joint through its full range allows for better lubrication of the joint, and nourishes the joint surface. This can help prevent osteophyte (bony spur) formation and osteoarthritis (OA). Stretching also eases tension in muscles, reducing the amount of wear and tear on the joints.
4. Relaxed knees. Locking your knees unnecessarily adds tension to your low back (LB), especially for ladies who enjoy high heels. Keep your knees “soft” while standing and walking.
5. Hydrate your body. Good fluid intake is important. Water cleanses the body, and is vital to cellular function and health. Moreover, good water intake can optimize one’s immune function.
6. Don’t ignore the body’s pains and aches. When you feel pain, your body is telling you to slow down and pay attention. The body is very resilient and has a high capacity to adapt. However, when pain is ignored, injury can result.
7. If it’s been a while…get some help. Regular massage therapy can also help to address built-up muscle tension. Therapists can work to release scar tissue, muscle adhesions (“knots”), and increase circulation to an area to promote healing. In addition to this, massage therapy can help you escape from stress.
This article was contributed by our Registered Massage Therapist, Tony Jan, R.M.T.
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