Stress is everywhere. Luckily, we can control how our body responds to it by regularly practising some stress relief therapies. You can try a physical approach. Or you can see if you can stress less by resolving any emotional issues you may have. These 12 therapies can help. Which one is best for you?
These therapies involve physical touch, whether with hands or instruments. Touch releases “feel-good” hormones, such as serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine. These hormones help reduce stress.
Using principles of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture unblocks energy bottlenecks throughout the body so that Qi—a.k.a. life energy—can flow freely. To do this, the acupuncturist inserts special metal needles into acupoints where they believe energy has stagnated. The needles “loosen up” the energy blocks, consequently improving circulation and tissue oxygenation, and finally relieving stress.
Similar to acupuncture, dry needling uses needles to “break up” tension in the body. Instead of acupoints, though, a dry needling practitioner inserts needles into myofascial trigger points (areas in the body with taut bands of skeletal muscle) where tight knots tend to be. Dry needling can also positively affect areas of the brain that process pain and stress management.
The body tension from stress can cause your spinal bones to misalign. This disturbs the vital nerves that run through these bones, mixing up pain and stress messages to your brain. Regular chiropractic care makes sure your spine stays aligned, which lets your nervous system function as it should.
Stress inevitably causes tense muscles. By stretching and massaging your muscles, an osteopath can detect and eventually loosen up the tight areas in your body. And since the physical body is deeply connected to your spiritual and mental well-being, when your body relaxes, so does your mind.
The goal of these therapies is to reduce stress and other ailments by resolving deep-seated emotional blocks.
Emotional freedom technique (EFT)
A combination of psychology and ancient Chinese acupressure methods, EFT works by tapping on acupressure points to release energy blocks. A study published by Dr. Dawson Church in the Journal of Nervous and mental Disease found that EFT tapping lowers cortisol (the stress hormone) more significantly than traditional talk therapy. The study was replicated in 2020 by Dr. Peta Stapleton and found similar results, with study subjects experiencing a 43-percent decrease in their cortisol levels! Less cortisol means you stress less.
This method involves revisiting past traumatic events in your life and looking at them from a different, more positive, perspective. By doing this, you can resolve deep-seated emotional scars that affect how you react to present issues. Through matrix reimprinting, you can change your perception of past trauma, let go of counter-productive thinking, and handle stress triggers better.
By realigning your energy fields, a reiki practitioner can help bring about physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing. They do this by placing their hands on or over your body to balance the flow of energy. This process, is believed to ease stress, anxiety, and even adjust your perception of pain.
Your sense of smell and sense of sound are great gateways to stress relief.
Using essential oils extracted from plants, aromatherapists can treat common ailments, such as headaches and joint pain. They can also help ease stress and anxiety. Lavender oil is particularly effective in calming the nervous system, thereby reducing stress. You can add essential oils to your bath water, put them in a diffuser, or spray them on fabric.
For centuries, vibrations and music have been used to heal and calm. Sound therapy is a technique using items such as gongs, chimes, drums and Tibetan singing bowls. Sound baths—where you are surrounded with and immersed in different calming sounds and vibrations—can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
Breath and movement
Breathing and exercise go hand-in-hand in relieving stress.
When you’re stressed out, do you notice how you breathe in short, shallow breaths? This just aggravates your stress. Deep breaths from your diaphragm can keep your stress response under control. Abdominal breathing brings more oxygen to your brain. This calms you down and significantly reduces your stress.
Yoga is a combination of many stress-relieving techniques, including breathwork (pranayama), exercise, and meditation. For yoga to be effective, though, it has to be done regularly and according to your experience level. For beginners, you can try hatha yoga, which consists of gentle, basic poses that you hold for just a few seconds at a time.
Slow movements and controlled breathing characterise the practice of Qi Gong. Its main goal is to use these movements to unblock energy bottlenecks so that Qi can flow freely. By doing the gentle poses, you can also lower your blood pressure and cortisol level. Qi Gong’s slow movements make it great for all ages.All these stress-relieving therapies work. You just have to find the one that is right for you. In your search, why not explore Everything Alternative’s blog for more tips on how to naturally reduce stress.