Kay McDonnell  - Massage , Advanced  Reflexology & Laser Therapist
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KayMcDonnell(Listowel Therapy Centre)

Stress and the Benefits of Human Touch (Massage)

Kay is a Massage Therapist in Listowel, Co. Kerry.

What is stress?

When we find ourselves under some kind of pressure, our bodies respond automatically by releasing adrenaline to ensure we are prepared for action and able to meet the challenge before us.

Some symptoms of stress include
  • Muscles becomes tense 
  • Breathing becomes faster and shallower in an effort to get more air into the body
  • Our hearts race, pumping faster 
  • We feel like we might want to run, yet our legs turn to jelly 
  • Our mind is racing and we may feel dizzy and light-headed
  • We may have difficulty swallowing 
  • We may feel sick or have a lack of appetite
  • We shiver or sweat more than usual 

Flight or Fight
This automatic response to a threatening situation is known as the 'fight or flight' response. The body produces hormones, including one called adrenaline, which helps prepare our bodies either to run away or poised and ready to react. These changes are short-lived and die away when the pressure or threat stops.This pressure can focus our attention, fire us up and can be helpful in coping with pressure. However, too much pressure, can make us less productive and often lead to health problems.
Stress affects people of all ages and from all walks of life.
What stress does to the body.?
ENDOCRINE: Stress hormones trigger the liver to produce more blood sugar, to give you that kick of energy in the moment of perceived danger. But if the "danger" you're concerned with is a long-term dilemma and you're already at risk for type 2 diabetes, bad news: Elevated glucose levels may turn you into a card-carrying diabetic.

RESPIRATORY: At high-stress moments, you may find yourself breathing faster, feeling short of breath, or even hyperventilating. Over the long term, this strain on the system can make you more susceptible to upper-respiratory infections (so if you're considering a career in air-traffic control, you might want to stock up on Emergen-C)

CARDIOVASCULAR: Momentary, acute stress, like, say, when you're walking down the aisle to get married, will make your heart beat faster and blood pressure rise. Long-term stress, like unwelcome pressure from the folks to produce offspring, can cause narrowing of the arteries and elevate cholesterol levels, upping your chances of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

REPRODUCTIVE: Stress can lengthen or shorten your menstrual cycle, stop it altogether, or make your periods more painful. High levels of stress make bacterial vaginosis (BV) more likely and, during pregnancy, may increase the chance of your baby's developing asthma or allergies later in life. 

IMMUNE: Short-term stress can actually boost the immune system, helping your body fight infection. Ongoing stress, however, turns things in the other direction, possibly slowing wound healing, leaving you more susceptible to infection, and worsening skin conditions such as eczema, hives, and yes — acne.

DIGESTIVE: Extreme stress isn't unlike the morning after a bender. It can cause dry mouth, indigestion, nausea, and gas, and it stimulates the muscles of the intestines, possibly causing diarrhea or constipation. Have these symptoms chronically, and you may increase your risk for irritable bowel syndrome, severe heartburn, and ulcers.

MUSCULOSKELETAL: Muscles tense to deal with what your body perceives as danger. No one who's pulled an all-nighter with only PowerPoint for company will be surprised that constantly tight muscles can cause headaches and neck, shoulder, and back pain. Chronic stress may also increase your likelihood of developing osteoporosis.

Massage produces a deep form of relaxation enabling our bodies and minds to forget about everything and let go of life’s daily stresses. But massage is not only about relaxation. As one of the oldest and simplest forms of healthcare, massage also increases circulation, stimulates the lymph system, relaxes injured or overused muscles and releases endorphins (the body’s natural painkiller).

As I have experienced, massage is more than an indulgence—it can relieve pain. This gentle therapy has been around since the dawn of time. Hipprocrates, the father of medicine advocated massage. When combined with medical attention, it helps heal certain conditions and prevents their return.

By dispersing fluids, massage can ease the inflammation that follows sprains and other injuries, although it shouldn't be used the first day or two afterwards.                                                                                        
  • improves healing time of strained ligaments and muscular tissues
  • reduces inflammation in joints improves range of motion increases joint flexibility
  • reduces the heart rate increases endorphins, which is the body's way of reducing pain
  • strengthens the immune system decreases spasms
  • reduces or eliminates pain
  • enhances nourishment to all cells requiring improved oxygen transfer
  • helps relieve muscle tension
The reason you feel different after a massage is because it is healing and invigorating tired, aching or injured muscles. Massage increases blood and lymph circulation. Lymph is a fluid that rids body tissues of waste and is dependent on the squeezing effect of muscles. An active person has better lymph flow than an inactive person. However, stimulation from vigorous activity can lead to increased waste, which can negate the benefit. This is where massage has a huge advantage.

Whatever the type of massage therapy style you choose, there are huge benefits to be gained.


Achy shoulders, neck, and back? 
 Swedish massage, Soft tissue release work wonders!
Mild/uncomfortable pain? 
Try Indian head/scalp / Swedish massage or Advanced Reflexology  to relieve tension.
Relieved by Advanced Reflexology, Swedish massage, Foot & Scalp Massage
Carpal Tunnel?
Sooth aches with Swedish and/or Advanced Reflexology.
Sore/achy/tired feet? 
 Deep Tissue massage
Sore legs and/or calves?
Deep tissue /soft tissue or swedish massage
Constipation /IBS or any Digestive problems
Deep Abdominal / Advanced Reflexology

For more information on our massage treatments, call in to our shop in Listowel, Co. Kerry or please contact Kay on 068-23574 or kay@kaymcdonnell.com

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