When’s the last time you went to a spa? When was the last time you allowed yourself the opportunity for a little self-healing? If the answer isn’t ‘recently’, then we need to talk.
In our fast-paced, overscheduled lives we are constantly putting ourselves in situations that cause stress in our bodies. A little stress can be good. It can get us through some tough times. Too much stress over a sustained period of time however, has been shown to adversely affect our health. Stress can raise blood pressure, cause us to lose sleep at night, and bring us headaches, hair-loss, upset stomachs and chest pain. And yes, possibly even wrinkles! And as if all this wasn’t bad enough, according to the World Health Organization, by 2020 the top five diseases will all have the underlying contributing factor of stress.
So what can we do to relieve some of the stress? There are a multitude of answers, ranging from diet to aromatherapy and from exercise to massage. We already know the extraordinary benefits of eating right and making healthy choices in our diets, and we already know the importance of integrating exercise into our lifestyle. But did you know there is a plethora of stress fighting treatments available at spas?
Until recently, spas have been associated with pampering and getting ‘special’ expensive treatments that are above and beyond what are considered ‘necessary’ (think: caviar facials, carrot & sesame body buff). But in the past few years, perception of spas has changed and more and more people are taking the time to invest in themselves and in their health by visiting spas for a chance to ‘regain balance’ and to allow themselves a chance to ‘pause’ their hectic lives. The International Spa Association says, “Spa treatments may not only relieve existing symptoms but they also provide the tools for long term prevention of the elements that create stress in your life. The spa experience can assist you in living a life of greater health, energy, happiness and well-being. The psychological benefits of the spa, often referred to as “well-being,” are immense.”
So what treatments can you look for when trying to reduce the stress and increase your well-being? First and foremost, take the time to get a massage. Massage therapy has been shown to lower your heart rate and blood pressure, relax your muscles, and increase the production of endorphins (your body’s natural ‘feel good’ chemical). Serotonin and dopamine are also released through massage, and the result is a feeling of calm relaxation that makes chronic or habitual stress as well as acute or short-term stress much easier to overcome. Massage alone can decrease anxiety, enhance sleep quality, improve concentration and even aid in injury prevention and recovery. One study found that a single 50 minute massage led to a noticeable reduction in cortisol, a stress hormone in the blood, and an increase in white blood cells that fight infection. Another study in 2010 compared the effects of a 50 minute massage to light touch and found that the participants who received massage had a large decrease in a hormone associated with stress and aggressive behavior. Bottom line: get a massage!!
Other stress-reducing treatments available at spas can range from aromatherapy to acupuncture to thermotherapy. Aromatherapy can be incorporated into a massage treatment and scents such as rosemary and lavender have been linked to reducing levels of cortisol. Eucalyptus oil has also been associated with stress reduction and because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties can be used in massage therapy in the treatment of muscle pain. (FYI, Bath and Body Works has an entire line of eucalyptus oil-infused, stress-reducing lotions, creams and body washes!)
Acupuncture has long been touted as a highly effective method to combat stress. A single treatment can stimulate the release of endorphins and lower stress-related cortisol levels – so much so that clients have been known to fall asleep on the table during treatment. Acupuncture allows the mind to become calm and at the end of the treatment, clients feel deeply relaxed and removed (at least temporarily) from their stress.
Thermotherapy: stressed muscles and tense bodies respond well to being warmed, so to aid your de-stress, try to incorporate heat into your spa experience. Thermal treatments such as saunas and steam rooms increase your body’s internal temperature which tricks it into thinking it has a fever. Your body thereby increases the production of white blood cells, and these help boost your immune system. Steam rooms have also been found to be beneficial as they can reduce your levels of adrenaline and increase endorphins. If possible, take at least half an hour to ‘warm up’ before having a massage to enjoy extra relaxing benefits.
There are so many factors that cause stress but ultimately, stress is a ‘perceived’ reality in that it can vary from one person to another. What one person considers stressful might not affect another person the same way, and vice versa. Stress is not about what happens to you. It’s about how you react to what happens to you. So take action to change your reaction. Besides the obvious eating a healthy diet and exercising, allow yourself moments of meditation and relaxation. During the day, visit a spa for a massage or any treatment that will allow you peace, comfort, and the confidence to move forward feeling less stressed. At night, wear your SilcSkin pads to reduce your wrinkles so when you wake up in the morning, your skin matches your attitude: smoother, younger, happier, and with less worries. SilcSkin pads work while you sleep, which means that fighting wrinkles and having younger looking skin is one less thing you have to worry about or make time for. So take action today: visit a spa (you may find one by going into the Locations tab on our website: Where To Find SilcSkin), order your SilcSkin pads, reduce the stress in your life. Take action so when you look at your reflection in the mirror you see the proof, feel the value, and radiate the peace that comes with investing in yourself.