Written by Tina Franchetto

Ever wonder why we get body aches and pains, reduced sleep, or how any other ailments suddenly creep up on you? Do you know what could be triggering these things? One common theme is stress.

What is Stress? 

There are many different definitions of stress but the one the resonates is:

“ A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”

What happens to our body when we’re under stress?

Our bodies tighten up and we shallow breathe. When this happens, our bodies go into protective mode. When we shallow breathe, our bodies use different muscles; these include the intercostal muscles along the ribs and other muscles in your neck. The most important breathing muscle is our diaphragm.

As a Registered Massage Therapist, the three most common things clients come to me for are:

  • Pain Relief
  • Stress Relief
  • Relaxation

During a massage therapy session, we focus on the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the person. The massage consists of techniques used to manipulate the soft tissues and joints of the body to help reduce pain, increase range of motion, reduce stress and promote relaxation. All of these elements help improve overall health. Another common element in a massage therapy session is where people vent about their stressors- whether it’s work, family, finances, trauma, etc. Knowing that it’s a safe space to vent and that it’s confidential really comforts them and helps release that stress. It’s very important for people to recognize what is causing or triggering their stress so that they can release it. Being able to manage the effects of stress is very important.

There are many different things you can do at home to relieve stress and promote relaxation. Some strategies include:

Heating Pad

  • Using a heating pad on the areas of the body that are sore and stiff, this will help loosen up and relax the muscles that are causing discomfort or stiffness.
  • Using a heating pad on the abdomen and feet. Putting the heating pad along the abdomen helps promote relaxation and sleep. This promotes the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in. This system is referred to your “rest and digest.” When your digestive system is rested, you will feel more relaxed and will have a more restful sleep. Placing the heating pad on your feet allows your entire body to relax. It will stimulate the reflexology points on your feet to relax therefore reducing stress.

Hot Tub or Bath

  • Using a hot tub if one is available, as this will relax everything. If you don’t have access to a hot tub, I recommend having a hot bath or an Epsom salt bath. Make the water as hot as you can tolerate, if you choose to put Epsom salts in the bath I would recommend pouring approximately 1 cup to the water and allow it to dissolve before going in the tub. The hot water will promote circulation and relaxation and the Epsom salts will eliminate any toxins through your skin. This is a great way to manage pain and stiffness. It is also a great way to and reduce stress promote relaxation.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

  • Diaphragmatic breathing is very important. That allows you to take a deep breath and bring oxygen to your body. This also strengthens your diaphragm and allows your lungs to work more efficiently. When we’re stressed, we shallow breathe and stop using our diaphragm. Here are the steps to diaphragmatic breathing:
  • Lay on your back and put your hands on your abdomen. Take a deep breath in through your nose and watch and feel your abdomen rise. When the abdomen rises, you know the diaphragm is expanding. Release your breath through your nose or mouth and watch and feel your abdomen go back down. Do this sequence multiple times. You will notice with the deep breathing it will bring your body to a more relaxed state.
  • It may be tricky at first but once you get the hang of it, then it becomes much easier to incorporate that into your daily routine. I use this technique on a daily basis and it’s very powerful.

I use these strategies on a regular basis. They are very effective in promoting relaxation, reducing stress and pain. I find them very powerful

Other modalities that help manage stress and other ailments include BioEnergetics (BIE), Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Reiki. These are other services I provide and if you’re interested in learning more regarding these modalities let’s connect and have a conversation.

Tina Franchetto is a Holistic Health and Wellness Practitioner. She provides a full range of client focused, holistic services and wellness solutions that can be customized to your personal needs. Services include Registered Massage Therapy, BioEnergetics (BIE), Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Reiki. Being a Registered Massage Therapist for over 23 years, Tina knows the importance of self-care. Her passion is to help empower clients with the knowledge to take control and accountability of their overall health and well-being. This allows clients to be more aware of their body and how to utilize the holistic options that are available to them in order to achieve optimal health. To learn more about the services she offers, book a free phone consult at tinafranchetto@gmail.com


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