Stress has a definite body–mind connection. What we do to relax our bodies will positively impact our minds, and vice versa. There are a legion of relaxation techniques that we can employ to balance stress and its effects through this body-mind connection.
Autogenic training (AT)
Autogenic means "generated from within". AT is a technique that involves simple relaxation and body awareness exercises that focus on physical manifestations of relaxation in the body, such as heaviness in the muscles and bones and warmth in the circulatory system. This is followed by awareness of heartbeat, breathing, the abdomen and a cool forehead. AT works by reducing the intensity of the body's stress response. The technique can be used to find instant calm in a stressful situation.
Massage is probably the oldest therapy known to man, and it is a simple yet very effective technique against stress. It reduces the heart rate and blood pressure, relaxes tense muscles and calms the mind. Combining massage with carefully selected essential oils can work to soothe all the senses.
Meditation enables you to reach a deep state of calmness while remaining fully alert. Because the brain waves during meditation are similar to those during sleep, it can be a useful aid in treating insomnia. Other health benefits are improved circulation, lower blood pressure, better memory and better concentration.
Reiki is not a form of massage, but actually an energy exercise that aims to revitalise the life force and balance the body's energies. The reiki practitioner "opens" him- or herself as a channel for the universal life energy to pass through the body and into the hands. Reiki is said to be very effective in the treatment of headaches and lowered immunity, but also has great benefits for the treatment of anxiety and to enhance mental clarity.
Yoga has been described as "moving meditation". Yoga postures exercise the whole body, also the internal organs. While doing the postures, the practitioner focuses on breathing throughout. This leads to a deep feeling of calm and tranquillity that balances energy and is mentally soothing.
Alexander, J. 1999. The Five Minute Healer. Gaia Books
Selby, A. 2009. Quick and Easy Stress Busters. Duncan Baird Publishers
Good Health Fact Book. 1996. Reader’s Digest