Relax – Improve Your Health

February 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Health & Wellbeing

Relax and improve your healthStress is the curse of living in modern times and it seems almost impossible to escape from. And despite what some people might say to the contrary, just about everyone suffers from stress at some point during a typical working day. The problem is, if we experience stress continually it can take a heavy toll on our mind, body and spirit.

In recent studies experts have determined that heart disease is linked to anger, and irritability is linked to mental stress. Too much stress can cause the blood flow to the heart to become restricted (cardiac ischemia) which can lead to a heart attack.

Relaxation becomes a far more serious matter in light of this information. In fact you owe it to yourself to learn the art of relaxation because of the wider implications to your health. Learning to relax properly can not only help you to manage the stress in your life, but it helps you to manage your anger and attitude which can be highly significant to the health of your heart.

Suppressed immune system

Also, we need to relax because apart from lowering blood pressure and decreasing the chances of a stroke or heart attack, stress produces hormones that suppress the efficiency of the immune system. Relaxation gives the immune system time to recover, and in doing so it enables it to function much more efficiently.

So if you are feeling stressed out, exhausted by fatigue or just simply having a miserable day, the best thing to do is simply relax. But that is easier said than done, because many of us have simply forgotten how to relax, – or we feel guilty when we do. In the 24/7 world of today we feel that we must always be doing something. So, what are the best ways to relax and improve your health?

Shift your focus

One of the best ways to relax is to learn transcendental meditation because it brings a wide range of recognized health benefits. Researchers have recently discovered that practitioners of this ancient art significantly reduced the thickness of their arterial wall compared with those who didn’t practice transcendental meditation.

As we age, lipids or fatty substances such as cholesterol and triglycerides are deposited as fatty streaks on the inner lining of the coronary arteries which are normally smooth and free of blockages or obstructions. The accumulation of this material begins to encroach upon the inner channel and starts to interfere with the free flow of blood through the coronary artery. This can lead to a heart attack and stroke.

To practice transcendental meditation you simply repeat a word or ‘mantra’ in your mind for about 15-20 minutes, which helps to calm your mind by blocking out anxieties and worries. Basically, you give your brain something else to focus on instead of whatever is stressing you.

And you don’t have to sit cross-legged in the lotus position to meditate, you can sit comfortably in a chair or even laying on a bed – the main thing is to just relax and clear your mind. Meditation can dramatically reduce the stress in your life once you have learned to calm and focus your mind with a little discipline.

Stretch and bend

The ancient Hindu discipline of yoga is now practiced around the world as a great way to relax and keep fit, but it actually offers much more. In a recent study, participants were subjected to several minutes of mental stress after which they practiced relaxation techniques such as listening to the sounds of nature or classical music. Only those who practiced yoga were able to significantly reduce the time it took for their blood pressures to return back to normal.

Actually, there is far more to yoga than just a few stretching exercises. When practiced properly it seeks to train the consciousness for a state of spiritual awareness and tranquility, which for devotees can become a way of life. The huge range of benefits yoga can bring into every aspect of your life can not be overstated, and I can highly recommend it as a method of stress reduction.

Get the needle

Acupuncture is part of traditional Chinese medicine and is acclaimed as one of the oldest forms of healing throughout the world. An acupuncture treatment involves stimulating specific points in the body with special needles in order to remove blockages in the flow of ‘Qi’ (energy) and thus restore and maintain health.

Acupuncture appears to reduce high blood pressure by initiating several body functions and stimulating the brain to release chemical compounds known as endorphins. Endorphins help to relax muscles, ease panic, decrease pain, and reduce anxiety.

In a study conducted at Yale University Medical School in the 1990’s acupuncture was demonstrated to significantly reduce stress. The study showed that the technique succeeded in lowering blood pressure, anxiety state, heart rate and electrodermal activities in the majority of test subjects. In a later study, published in 1998, acupuncture was successful in treating 85.7 percent of test subjects with General Anxiety Disorder.

Scented serenity

Aromatherapy is possibly the finest method to combat stress and relax, whether it is in the form of a massage or just simply enjoying the vaporized aroma of essential oils. And because of the unique way in which aromatherapy works, there are other far reaching benefits to be gained too.

It has been known for a long time that preventative measures go a very long way towards protecting the body against many types of illness. Therefore, the relaxing and de-stressing influence of massage and essential oils together with their effect on the immune system, places aromatherapy in the pre-eminent position as the finest mode of preventative medicine. And everyone knows that prevention really is much better than cure.

The essential oils listed in the side-panel are great at relieving stress and tension, and will help you to really relax. The very best way that you can enjoy them is in a massage, so offer to swap massages with your partner or a friend if you can’t get an appointment with a qualified aromatherapist.

Relaxing in an aromatherapy bath containing essential oils of rose, sandalwood and ylang ylang also ranks as one of the finest ways to wind down at the end of a stressful day, or if you don’t like soaking in the bath add the essential oils to your burner. Always carry a couple of oils when you are about and about, so that if you start to get stressed just add a couple of drops of Roman chamomile, clary sage or frankincense oils to a tissue and inhale.
Don’t stay tuned

Finally, just a word of warning. Although watching television may be a form of relaxation for some people, it is not recommended by experts because we are continually bombarded with rapidly changing sounds and images plus intrusive advertisements.

Watching television for long periods put you into a trance-like state where your brain shifts into a non-cognitive, passive, receptive state known as alpha mode. In this state, your mind can be easily influenced with suggestions such as, ‘buy this – now’, which is why you find yourself the next day stuffing more food than you intended into your shopping trolley!

So do yourself a favour; turn off the TV and introduce a more controlled, productive and healthier kind of relaxation into your lifestyle. Using the methods I have suggested rather than watching TV will not only reduce your stress levels, but it will also save you money at the supermarket checkout and stop you piling on the pounds!

Copyright © Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 2008


One Response to “Relax – Improve Your Health”
  1. Roisin Dermody says:

    I just received my delivery, which included my Mother’s christmas pressie. I’m really tempted to keep it for myself and buy her something else!

    I love all of the products I got! I will be making some more purchases in the near future.

    Best wwishes,

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