December 22, 2014 Updated September 17, 2015
This is the perfect time of year to learn stress reduction techniques. Start the New Year with a deeper understanding of how to let the accumulated tension melt away like the snow in spring time. This article is directed to the many ways that one can reconnect with themselves and take a step toward improved health no matter the season outside. These stress reduction techniques may be the single most important first step for a long life.
The seasons can have an effect on anyone's since of calm and wellbeing. SO there is no time like now to learn a few of the most calming and wonderful ways to quite the mind and body. Here is a list of our favorite relaxation and stress reduction techniques.
Self-Massage using Hot Oil is a traditional concept within India. Let Abhyanga hot oil massage melt the hours of accumulated stress away. In India within Ayurvedic Medicine Abhyanga self-oil massage is used to balance the doshas and envelope the individual in hot oil imparting a deep sense of warmth and love. The benefits of abhyanga are essential for Vata imbalances, yet every individual will reap reward from this luxurious stress reduction practice.
A quote from an ancient Ayurveda text: "The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age”, imparts to us in a modern age a knowledge of how to relax the human form and reduce tension within the body's tissues and cells. * Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89 Many additional benefits can be imparted via the specific oil selected for use.
Daily hot oil massage calms the nerves, enhances vision, and induces deep sleep patterns. Its effect on the doshas is to pacify Vata and Pitta and stimulate Kapha. A 15 to 20 minute routine is recommended. Sesame or Almond oil is considered to be relaxing and best for the Vata dosha, whereas coconut and sunflower oil is considered to be soothing and best for the Pitta dosha and safflower oil is considered to be invigorating and best for the Kapha dosha.
Just a few moments of meditation a day found to have profound, near-instant benefits on stress reduction
July 14, 2014 by Natural News
(NaturalNews) Author J. D. Heyes So-called "mindfulness meditation" has become increasingly popular as a method of improving your mental and physical health, but most of the research that supports or substantiates its benefits has primarily focused on lengthy, weeks-long training programs.
However, new research from Carnegie Mellon University has become the first body of work to demonstrate that even brief mindfulness mediation practice - just 25 minutes a day for three consecutive days - can mitigate psychological stressors.
The research, which was published in the journal Psychoneuroenocrinology, examined how mindfulness medication can affect people's ability to be resilient under stress.
"More and more people report using meditation practices for stress reduction, but we know very little about how much you need to do for stress reduction and health benefits," said lead author J. David Creswell, associate professor of psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Shorter meditation times equal good results too
To conduct the study, Creswell and his team of researchers had 66 healthy subjects ranging in age from 18 to 30 participate in a three-day experiment. Some of the participants underwent a brief mindfulness mediation training program. Then, for three consecutive days, for 25 minutes at a stretch, participants were given breathing exercises that helped them monitor their breath and pay closer attention to their present moment experiences.
A second group of participants completed a matched three-day cognitive training program in which they were asked to critically analyze poetry in an effort to enhance problem-solving skills, said a press release from the university.
After the final training activity, all of the study's participants were asked to complete stressful math and speech tasks in front of evaluators who remained stern-faced. Each of the participants reported their stress levels in response to the stressful tasks, and they also provided saliva samples for measurement of cortisol, which is most commonly referred to as the body's stress hormone.
As noted in the press release:
The participants who received the brief mindfulness training reported reduced stress perceptions to the speech and math tasks, indicating that the mindfulness meditation fostered psychological stress resilience. More interestingly, on the biological side, the mindfulness meditation participants showed greater cortisol reactivity.
"When you initially learn mindfulness mediation practices, you have to cognitively work at it - especially during a stressful task," said Creswell. "And, these active cognitive efforts may result in the task feeling less stressful, but they may also have physiological costs with higher cortisol production."
Meditation over medication
Creswell's research group is currently testing the possibility that mindfulness can become much more automatic and thus easier to use with long-term mindfulness meditation training, which could then result in reduced cortisol reactivity.
In addition to Creswell, the research team consisted of Carnegie Mellon's Laura E. Pacilio and Emily K. Lindsay and Virginia Commonwealth University's Kirk Warren Brown, the university announced, adding that the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse Opportunity Fund supported the research.
Writing in EmaxHealth, Lana Bandoim said that researchers will be further studying the long-term effects and benefits in more detail, but already experts are recommending that more people consider meditation (over medication) as a way of reducing stress:
Data from the American Psychological Association reveal that 77 percent of the people in the United States report feeling stressed. Money and work get most of the blame for creating stress in their daily lives, and 48 percent admit that it influences their life in a noticeably negative way. Meditation may not work for every person experiencing stress, but experts suggest it should be considered as an option
Sources for this article include:
To See this article on Natural News click on Natural News above. Reposted with permission from Natural News.
Natural News is a science-based natural health advocacy organization led by activist-turned-scientist Mike Adams, the Health Ranger.
Deep abdominal breathing can be used in conjunction with mindful meditation practices. Deep belly breathing can teach us to let go of stress by bringing our mind and entire body into the abdominal work. Abdominal breathing is believed to not only reduce tension in the body but also provide for a beneficial massaging of the abdominal organs.
The use of the diaphragm and long slow inhales followed by relaxed exhales will increase oxygenation of all the cells and tissues of the body. A key to reducing stress and anxiety is to never hold the breath which is in essence forgetting to exhale. Use of the abdominal musculature for a deep inhale as seen in the image, followed by a deep exhale.
The following video animation helps visualize the benefits of deep abdominal breathing. Watching can help one learn the process of deep abdominal breathing from the inside out.
Pranayama breathing the original mindful meditation. Pranayama breathing is a controlled breathing practice leading to increased life force or prana. Pranayama is a Sanskrit word meaning exetension of breath or prana the physical forms source.
This breathing is based on controlling the breath through the nostrils. Regular practice leads to an enhanced sense of body awareness. In the beginning of practice one may feel as if they are a unit within a factory as undifferentiated as one manufactured unit from the next. With continued practice a deepening sense of connection to all that is opens the personal pathway to creative expansion.
Conscious practice leads to an understanding of freedom within the life space of the heart center . The secret is so simple it makes no sense. It is openness to expanding the persons sense and awareness that allows for the manifestation of the hearts desire. Living within this state increases focus, function and calm action.
In the same vain as mindful meditation Tai Chi has often been described as meditation in motion. Not only is it well suited to stress reduction it is vital for longevity with its ability to improve flexibility and balance. It is an ancient Chinese self-defense fighting form, today it is an elegant full body movement exercise.
Tai chi places very little strain or force upon joints and is said to both stretch and strengthen the skeletal muscles. The low force and simplicity of the movement makes it a wonderful choice for both the old and the young to balance improve overall health and reduce daily stress.
In addition to helping to lower overall stress this wonderful movement art has also been found to increase stamina & energy, enhance sleep and boost immunity. Although Tai Chi can be performed alone as an individual it peaks as a social form of exercise increasing its energetic and immunity boosting character. Practice is best when performed daily at the same time and in the same place when possible.
Once one has become immersed in the practice and style of relaxation of Tai Chi these techniques can be utilized under stressful circumstances even when the actual movements cannot. As hard as it is to unplug from a modern life filled with exhausting levels of stimulation, the alternative of personal collapse can be hit head on with a concise choice to take steps to reduce stress and actively cultivate stress reduction techniques. It is possible to find balance.
Jake Mace presents a beginners guide to the top 10 Tai Chi moves to build on while developing and improving on initial skill sets and practice. Check out his Channel on YouTube. He presents a series of introductory videos.
By viewing both video presentations one is offered both a unifying as well as contrasting features of how West meets East. Although the movements are titled, the titles are not translated into English. The simplicity of motion and transference of energy is easily perceived without language; movement, timing, and rhythm is easily understood. The benefit of the music therapy improves the overall experience. The movements within either video are easily duplicated allowing one to reap the benefits and begin study and practice.
Music and rhythmic sound may be the one most intimately successful methods to reduce stress, promote healing and open one up to personal success. Music and art give us avenues to express ourselves freely without need for value statements. Simply allowing ourselves to fully experience the art and melody of others can often impart great inspiration within ourselves. They allow us to regain our inner power and awaken our personal freedom.
Artistic engagement within sound, drawing, photography and writing has been found to provide over whelming health benefits and most significantly provide an avenue to release and remodel stress factors within our lives. *PMC2804629 Through creativity, imagination and motion we find our reservoir of personal healing and identity. Music and Art Therapy can take many forms and are limited only by our imagination.
Learn to play an instrument, experiment with mixing recorded sounds with a tablet, take a drawing, pottery or painting class, anything that gives you a weekly outlet from all else that absorbs you, will be welcome as a viable stress reduction technique.
References and Resources *
Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89
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