Did you know..up to 90% of all doctor visits are for stress related disorders. What does that really mean for you?
The availability of affordable healthcare in the U.S. is an ongoing concern, so preventing your health problems before they start becomes a vital strategy. Even if good healthcare is available where you live, it many of the ills that can affect you in today's world are stress related and best of all can be prevented.
In the event you are already suffering from a stress related condition, you can recover from those annoying symptoms by learning how your body is reacting to stress and learn to change those reactions, re-training your body to optimum functioning and creating a buffer between you and the negative affects of stress.Stress is a major component in:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Stress is so prevelant today, that it almost seems inevitable that it will be in your life. But while stress is here to stay your unhealthy responses to it can be changed. Stress can be both a negative or a positive factor in your life. Stress on your body is related to the changes that occur when you are faced with a need to react. Evolutionarily, called the 'flight' or 'fight' response. This evolved in human beings to make sure of our survival when faced with a real or perceived threat. Early man was able to survive the attack of a saber tooth tiger because his body geared up and enabled him to run fast to get away or stand and fight if that is the needed response.
In its positive interpretation it gives you a boost to accomplish things you might otherwise give up on. Eustress, stress that is fun and exciting, and keeps us vital (e.g. skiing down a slope or racing to meet a deadline)
Acute Stress, very short-term stress either positive (eustress) or more distressing (what we normally think of as 'stress'); this is the type of stress we most often encounter in day-to-day life
Episodic Acute Stress, where acute stress seems to be creating a life of relative chaos (e.g. the type of stress that coined the terms 'drama queen' and 'absent-minded professor')
Chronic Stress, stress that seems never-ending and inescapable, like the stress of a bad marriage or an extremely taxing job
Most of you know the obvious actions to take to ensure your health and well-being, e.g., driving with seat belts, exercising regularly, eating healthy. We know that regular exercise keeps our hearts healthy and strong, maintains our muscle strength and helps with balance and coordination. What many people don't know is that a program to maintain optimal functioning of your body and mind should also include regular relaxation practice. Regular relaxation can help prevent stress related illness by addressing areas that physical exercise misses giving the negative affects of stress a chance to take hold.
Focused relaxation training can reverse the negative effects of stress and more importantly, it can also help prevent those negative effects. Relaxation not only returns the body to it's optimal level of functioning but promotes many positive physiological changes which occur during relaxation. Some of these effects result in less muscle tension, help in normalizing blood pressure and decrease chronic headaches.
Imagine the benefits to your well-being by combining regular relaxation training and exercise. This is exactly what many oriental disciplines have done. Disciplines such as Yoga and T'ai Chi are famous for combining relaxation and exercise and their health benefits are widely known. T'ai Chi has been shown to improve balance and coordination in the elderly. Qigong (related to Acupuncture), a Chinese discipline combining breathing and movement, has been used in China for centuries to treat and prevent many forms of severe physical illness, including cancer and heart disease. Qigong is an aspect of T'ai Chi that makes it so useful for maintaining and promoting the physical and mental well-being of it's practitioners.
As healthcare professionals and practitioners of T'ai Chi, our work has been centered around making the information we have acquired available to people who are interested in living well. Many chronic disorders people suffer from can be eliminated with the educational classes and biofeedback products we have made available on LifeMatters. Consider obtaining more information by reading the T'ai Chi, T'ai Chi and Recovery from Stress and How to Find a T'ai Chi Teacher articles.
While our discipline and knowledge is of T'ai Chi, we have great respect for and encourage the practice of meditation in any of it's many forms. There are very good meditation practices associated with every religious and spiritual tradition. But even if you do not practice these disciplines you can learn deep relaxation with guidance and practice. Regular relaxation practice can be learned and enhanced with biofeedback instruments such as the emWavePro , emWave2 portable stress reliever and the GSR2's which promote general relaxation and provide stress relief throughout the entire body.