Stress is the body’s natural reaction to a perceived threat or challenge. However, due to our frantic and high-information world, many of us suffer from chronic stress, which damages our physical and mental health. Complementary therapies are a fantastic solution to ease stress and its associated symptoms.
Let’s look at three of my favourite ways to increase relaxation and balance the body in times of stress – Reiki, reflexology and aromatherapy.
Reiki involves channelling healing energy through the hands to promote healing and relaxation. It was developed in Japan in the early 20th century by Mikao Usui, who studied healing methods and spirituality for years. During a spiritual awakening, a method of healing was revealed to him. He named it Reiki, which comes from the word “rei”, – meaning universal or spiritual, and “ki”, – meaning life force energy.
Stress disrupts energy flow through the body, leading to energetic blockages. Reiki promotes balance and relaxation in the body’s energy systems, releasing these blockages and returning our bodies to their natural state of balance and harmony.
Several studies show the promising effects of Reiki on stress and anxiety. Out of an analysis of thirteen studies, eight showed Reiki to be more effective than a placebo for depression, anxiety and stress.
Reflexology is a therapy that uses pressure on specific points to encourage relaxation and healing in the entire body.
The premise of reflexology is that the body’s systems and organs are mirrored or reflected in smaller outer regions, such as the feet, hands, ears, and face. So, by stimulating them, the body’s natural healing processes are activated, bringing the body back into a state of balance and calm.
For most people the sensations of touch, particularly of having the feet ‘rubbed’ by someone they trust releases a good deal of tension. Additionally, the relaxing benefits of a tranquil treatment room with soft music and lighting, warm blankets and aromatherapy oils will help to ease stress from the physical and mental bodies.
A review of twenty-six studies with over 2000 participants showed that reflexology significantly improved depression, anxiety and sleep quality.
Aromatherapy is a holistic therapy that uses essential oils (concentrated plant extracts) to promote physical and emotional well-being.
These oils have aromatic compounds which interact with the olfactory system when we inhale them. The olfactory system is closely linked to the limbic system, which governs emotions, memory and behaviour. As a result, different oils affect how we feel – they can relax or energise us according to their unique properties.
Certain essential oils have also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a common bodily response to stress, which makes aromatherapy a beautiful and non-invasive way to support your body through difficult times.
There are several studies which show that essential oils have a positive effect on stress and mood. For example, one study demonstrated that lavender oil decreased blood pressure and heart rate while increasing feelings of relaxation. Another study on adolescents showed that aromatherapy significantly lowered stress responses compared to a placebo.
In conclusion, these therapies offer promising benefits for reducing stress, and numerous studies show that these practices have a provable impact. From reducing anxiety to improving sleep quality, reiki, reflexology, and aromatherapy provide a range of holistic tools for stress management that are easy to incorporate into your lifestyle. So why not try them out and see if they work for you? Click here to find out more and access the booking form