The Stressors We Keep Part 2: How Emotional Stress Impacts Us

by | Sep 30, 2019

In Darwin’s book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals he writes, “Heart, guts, and brain communicate intimately…When the mind is strongly excited, it instantly affects the state of the viscera; so that under excitement there will be much mutual action and reaction between these.” [1] Our emotions communicate our mental state and intentions to others. They act as innate responses to our environment to restore or maintain equilibrium. From this we can understand that emotions and bodies are interwoven, affecting our posture, digestive function, and muscle tension. Manual therapy such as massage is a research-supported method of counteracting musculoskeletal imbalances and helping restore equilibrium within the body. This was also true for Sherry (see Part 1 to learn more about Sherry).

Reconnect Mind and Body

Sherry was attending treatments with Bessel, but he did not think that they were making much progress. So Bessel recommended she see a massage therapist to help her reconnect mind and body. Over time Sherry began to relax, make friends with her neighbors, fully participate in her psychiatry treatment, and ultimately stopped picking at her skin.

The Effect of Massage Therapy

In another article from Mayo Clinic we find that, “studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.” [2] Massage therapy not only has a direct influence on the muscular system, but on the nervous system as well, which as mentioned earlier, is the headquarters for stress management.

As a massage therapist myself, I understand that paying attention to the effects of this invisible force in our lives requires some discipline, but happily we have fabulous resources for wellbeing at our fingertips. Here at Moyer Total Wellness, we care about supporting you along your individual wellness journey. It’s okay to feel the feels and to adventure with abandon, but don’t forget to breathe and get a massage along the way.

Written by: Emily Arnold, LMT

Photo Credit: Canva

[1] C. Darwin, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (London: Oxford University Press, 1998).

[2] “Never Had a Massage? What You Should Know.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 6 Oct. 2018, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/massage/art-20045743.

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