Guest post written by Roza Adams, mother, blogger, entrepreneur, photographer, polyglot and owner of thepresentmarket.com
What is stress? What causes stress?
Have you ever wondered why we become hot and sweaty when we are stressed, embarrassed or anxious? The culprit is called psychogenic fever. This “fever” actually causes our body temperature to increase in order to prepare our muscles for an extreme situation such as combat or fleeing. These short-term effects are called a “flight or fight response,” which was useful to our ancestors when faced with dangerous situations, however, in modern times we aren’t threatened by wild beasts, but instead, by school, work, and family matters.
In response to the stressor, the adrenal gland, located in the brain, releases a hormone called cortisol. This release triggers the release of glucose into the bloodstream. This rush of glucose is meant to prepare us to combat danger. It also acts to suppress digestion and the immune system in order to save the body energy.
Cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone” can influence the body in a number of ways, by affecting blood pressure, digestion, and immune reactions such as inflammation. Problems arise when chronic stress causes the body to continually release cortisol. Typically, the cortisol hormone is meant to maintain inflammation, but after a while, cells can become burned-out and less receptive to the hormone, causing the inflammation to become out of control.
Surprisingly, chronic stress is just as bad as lack of sleep and a poor diet. Studies have found that Americans are some of the most stressed people in the world, reporting that work, money and the economy are the main causes of their daily stress.
If this sounds like you, continue reading below to learn about three natural practices that can reduce anxiety and pain, plus assist in managing stress.
1. Heat Therapy
Heat therapy dilates the blood vessels, increases lymphatic drainage, stimulates oxygenation and enables sore and tight muscles to relax. Improved circulation decreases the buildup of lactic acid waste which can occur after exercise. Heat can also have the psychological effect of providing safety and comfort. Heat therapy is usually used to treat acute muscle pain or sore joints.
Heat therapy can be used for any of the following issues:
- Strains and sprains
- Tendonitis, or chronic irritation and stiffness of the tendons
- Spasms relating to neck or back injury, including the lower back
Warning: Heat therapy should never be used on a new injury, an open wound, or in the case of being overheated. Also, be careful not to apply extreme temperatures to skin.
2. Cold Therapy
Cold treatment decreases blood flow and metabolism, therefore, reducing inflammation, swelling and tissue damage. Additionally, it numbs inflamed tissues by acting as a local anesthetic. A cold pack can help treat swollen and inflamed joints or muscles. Cold therapy is most effective within 48 hours of an injury.
Cold therapy can be used for any of the following issues:
- Recent injury
- Tendinitis, or irritation in the tendons
Warning: A cold pack should not be used if a person is already cold, as that may cause the pain to worse
Click here to view Dreamedies assortment of Hot/Cold Therapy Pillows.
The use of aromatherapy originates from ancient times.
Today, essential oils are commonly used for the following issues:
- Improve sleep
- Protect against diabetes symptoms
- Headache relief
- Slow aging with powerful antioxidants
- Reduce anxiety and emotional stress
- Restore skin complexion and reduce acne
- Improve brain function
One of the most popular essential oils is Lavender, as it contains powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial, sedative, calming and anti-depressive properties. This powerful essential oil has been used in supplemental cancer or post-surgery treatments.
Click here for Dreamedies line of essential oil blends
Mandy Allen is the owner of Dreamedies. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two miniature greyhounds. She spends her time perusing thrift stores, tinkering with different types of sewing machines and working a bit everyday on being a spiritual renegade.