We all experience stress at one time or another. Unfortunately some of us experience more stress than others. Amazingly, there are some people who can deal with a lot of stress and manage it well…almost like the stress is not even occurring. The key to dealing with stress and managing it lies in the tools we use. We all have access to the tools needed to manage stress effectively. The challenge lies in whether we know what to tools are and if we elect to take advantage of them.
To understand how the tools work and which ones are available, we first need to understand what stress is. In the most simplest of terms, stress is a reaction your body has to demands put upon it or when it feels threatened. When your body experiences a threat or demand, it releases a hormone called cortisol which triggers your internal fight or flight response, allowing you to take action. Your body becomes on alert and your senses become more heightened. You may experience things like higher blood pressure, tense muscles, extreme alertness, everything your body needs in order to respond the appropriate way. All of the reactions our body has during a time of stress, takes a toll on our body. We may experience things like poor digestion, risk of heart attack, lowered immune system, sore muscles, headaches, outbursts of anger, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and the list goes on.
Coping Tools & Strategies
Prolonged exposure to stress without intervention can serious damage to your body and your overall feeling of well being. While we cannot control some of the things that cause us to feel stress, we can control how we manage stress, respond to and relieve it.
We have several tools and strategies we like to use and advise our clients to use when they encounter stress. We like diversity when suggesting tools since not every tool is for everyone! Sometimes, a combination of tools is your best defense!
Take a look at our favorite ways to relieve stress and tension…
Traditional Chinese Acupuncture is the most widely practiced form of acupuncture. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the human body is mapped with “channels” also called meridians through which the energy of the body flows just like blood, lymph or electrical current through our nervous system. Acupuncture consists of inserting fine sterile stainless steel needles into specific points called acupuncture points to remove blockages and imbalances in the body’s energy flow, therefore positioning the body to heal itself.
For the ones of us who like science…
Clinical trials have shown that the insertion of a needle in an acupuncture point stimulates the central nervous system causing the release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins (Beta-endorphin, Dynorphin; natural opiates estimated to be 10-200 times stronger than morphine), serotonin-norepinephrine and encephalin, all substances involved in pain mechanisms.
The use of acupuncture comes with many benefits; it addresses the source of the problem along with its symptoms, it reduces healing time significantly enabling patient to resume normal activities faster and it reduces the incidence of undesirable effects caused by pharmaceutical drugs and the cost associated to them.
Cupping is an ancient Chinese practice that helps alleviate pain, release toxins and stimulate the immune and the lymphatic systems. A rounded glass cup is placed on the skin creating a suction effect. Several health benefits are assigned to this modality; reduces pain, swelling, inflammation and congestion, loosens adhesions and maximizes blood circulation.
Gua Sha is a traditional healing technique, in which a practitioner applies repeated strokes over lubricated skin using a round-edged instrument. The application of the strokes causes small red spots to appear on the skin which will dissipate after a couple of days. The technique is most commonly used to treat fever, heat exhaustion, upper respiratory diseases, muscle and tendon injuries, poor blood circulation and pain.
Energy work is the general term used to describe all the therapy modalities that are based on energy healing. The most commonly known techniques are Reike, Therapeutic Touch, Polarity, Chakra balancing, Breath Work, Yoga, Tai Chi, to only name a few. .Energy work aims at creating a balance between body, mind and spirit. There is a lot of confusion surrounding this subject that stems from misinformation, misconceptions and fear.
Cranial Sacral Therapy
A craniosacral therapy session involves gentle work with the spine and the skull and its cranial sutures, diaphragms, and fascia. In this way, the restrictions of nerve passages are said to be eased, the movement of cerebrospinal fluid through the spinal cord is said to be optimized, and misaligned bones are said to be restored to their proper position.
Myofascial ReleaseReflexology is a form of bodywork that focuses primarily on the feet and hands.The underlying theory behind reflexology is that there are “reflex” areas on the feet and hands that correspond to specific parts of the body. Applying pressure to these reflex areas can promote health in the corresponding organs through energetic pathways.
Reflexology is a form of bodywork that focuses primarily on the feet and hands.The underlying theory behind reflexology is that there are “reflex” areas on the feet and hands that correspond to specific parts of the body. Applying pressure to these reflex areas can promote health in the corresponding organs through energetic pathways.
Essential Oils & Essential Oil Infused Lotions
Essential oils can help us heal whether it be a physical ailment, mental or emotional. The molecules in essential oils are incredibly small, making it easy for them to deliver healing qualities to our bodies through inhalation, topical application or ingesting them.
Herbal teas also deliver healing properties through the ingestion of organic herbs and spices.
Soothe your body with healing salts. A soak in the tub can do wonders for tense muscles.
Gentle Yoga is derived from a yoga style that was invented by B.K.S. Iyengar, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest yoga masters in the world. Generally speaking, gentle-style yoga is ideal for people with movement limitations and/ or chronic pain; arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, bad posture or lack of coordination, recovering from surgery, illness or injury, for seniors, new practitioners and those seeking stress-reduction, energy boost or weight management.
Our YogaPLUS class combines the stretching and breathing benefits of gentle restorative yoga with mild core strengthening to promote better posture and balance. The class concludes with a relaxing and soothing meditative shavasana. This class can help with chronic back pain and discomfort associated with muscle tension.
Tai Chi/Qigong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention. The slow gentle movements of Qigong forms can be easily adapted for the physically challenged and practiced by all age groups. It is based on the meridian system used in acupuncture, emphasizes the importance of adding mind intent and breathing techniques to physical movements. Western scientific research confirms that the gentle, rhythmic movements of Qigong improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions offering its practitioners the benefits of reduced stress and hypertension, increased stamina and enhanced immune system.
Guided meditation types involve focusing attention on a single object which could include the breath, an inner or external image, a movement pattern, a sound, a word or a phrase that is repeated silently (mantra). Based upon more than 30 years of scientific research as well as theoretical understanding, meditation is considered to be one of the better therapies for many stress-related conditions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, chronic pain syndromes, chronic fatigue, lack of concentration, hypertension, headaches and much more.
Stress is a complex, human reaction to the environment we live in. What works for one, may not work for another. Sometimes, it is the combination of several strategies working together that can really make the difference!
Curious about what may work for you? Schedule a free consultation with us, where we can assess your situation and help you design the best plan for you!
About Dr. Marie Perkins, OTR/L, LMT, DOM, Dipl.Ac.
Dr. Marie Perkins, OTR/L, LMT, DOM, Dipl. Ac. is one of the most recognized practitioners in Palm Harbor as a “non-pharmaceutical” pain specialist.
Born and raised in Quebec City Canada, Dr. Perkins received her Bachelor Degree in Occupational Therapy from University Laval in 1993.
Her passion led her to leave everything behind and immigrated to Florida in 1995. She proceeded with acquiring her Massage Therapy license from Bahkti Academy in 1999 and her Master’s Degree in Oriental Medicine from the Florida Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2004.
Her goal for founding East West Healing Solutions was to be a pioneer in the community working at bridging the gap between Eastern and Western Medicine. She has established strong partnership with Medical Doctors, Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, Orthopedic Surgeons, Neurologists, Pain Management Physicians, Doctors of Chiropractic, Rehabilitative Specialists, Athletic Directors, Coaches and Personal Injury Attorneys in the community proving not only that it can be done but also that a cohesive team approach is often the most efficient way to help a patient.
Over the years I have continued to add to my knowledge in order to be able to help as many patients I possibly could. Most of the time, a joint effort from Western and Eastern Medicine is required to obtain optimal health. For that reason, patients should proactively seek a team of highly trained professionals in various fields, all working toward one common goal; the PATIENT’S best interest. Your health portfolio should be built with the same concepts as your financial portfolio; diversification is the key!,” Dr. Marie Perkins tells her patients.
34876 US Highway 19 N
Palm Harbor, FL 34684