What is relaxation and why do we need to relax?
Relaxation is a process in which our mind and body are free from stress and anxiety. It is a process in which the tension lowers, and there are no types of arousal like anger, fear, stress, sadness and similar. Relaxation can have many benefits for our mind, body, overall health, and the way we think. It can be practiced through various methods, like yoga, fitness, meditation and breathing exercises, or even different hobbies that are related to creativity- like drawing or painting, creating music, sewing and similar.
The way that stress, anxiety and other factors that contribute to our psychological arousal work is that they speed up our heart rate, our blood pressure, and our blood flow. Other side effects of this process include slowed digestion process, and increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline. While some might not feel their heart beating faster or palms getting sweatier when they get anxious or nervous, many people feel dizzy, nauseous, have an upset stomach or feel like they are going to throw up.
Being stressed out or anxious more often than usual can reflect on your life and your everyday function- this means that you become more prone to depression, anxiety and panic attacks. These states can further have a negative influence on your sleep (hypersomnia, insomnia), sex life and overall functions.
This is where relaxation saves the day. Relaxation is a very important process that anybody can do. While sometimes it takes some time to practice, most people can easily do it on their own.
There are many ways in which relaxation positively affects us, our minds and our bodies. Firstly, it does everything opposite from stress- our heart rate slows down, blood pressure reduces, and we are relieved from tension. Furthermore, when we relax, we can think more clearly and less impulsively, and it also benefits our concentration, memory and decision-making. Along with that, relaxation positively affects our metabolism, because it is easier for our bodies to absorb nutrients when we are relaxed, than when we are stressed.
In the long term, relaxation can reduce the risk of various mental and body health problems- like anxiety, depression, obesity, asthma, heart disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and gastrointestinal problems. Relaxation can also lower symptoms of these diseases. However, relaxation is something that should be a part of your every day, not just a short-term practice.
Aromatherapy, or sometimes referred to as essential oil therapy, is a relaxation method that uses a holistic approach to promote health and well-being. These essential oils are carefully picked in correspondence to which the problem is being treated. Aromatherapy involves gentle massage strokes, but the focus isn’t on certain pressure spots. The biggest benefits of aromatherapy include good sleep, stress relief, body detox and muscle spasm treatment.
Reflexology, also known as zone therapy, is a type of a massage that focuses on applying pressure on different pressure points- hands, ears and feet. The main idea of reflexology is that certain parts of your body are connected to certain organs and body areas. It is believed that by practicing reflexology, the body is put in a state of complete relaxation. That way, blood pressure is lowered, heart rate is decreased, and nerve function is improved. Reflexology also helps with muscular tension.
Deep muscle massage
Deep muscle massage is a therapy that applies pressure with a firm, slow strokes. It is mostly used in the treatment of different sport injuries and strains. But, along with that, it is also used in relaxing the muscles and reducing muscular tension. It is believed that by spreading muscle fibers and tissues muscles relax and loosen up, which then influences you to relax fully.
Hair treatment and massage
Scalp massages or head massages are therapies that use warm oil, which is massaged deeply into your scalp. Because we often feel tension and pressure on different spots of the neck and temple, this type of a massage is often a successful stress relief. Furthermore, many types of research have proven that scalp massage lowers blood pressure, slows the heart rate and promotes stress relief.
Meditation is a practice that focuses on breathing, inner peace and calmness. This practice is often used in spas, but is also often recommended by therapists. It helps reach self-awareness, better decision-making, clearer thinking, concentration and memory. Scientifically and psychologically speaking, meditation can lower levels of cortisol, adrenaline and epinephrine, which are all increased in stressful situations. As well as in other relaxation methods, meditation can help remain a steady heart rate and regulate levels of blood pressure.