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Video:Natural Stress Relief

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In this video, learn how to relieve stress naturally, so you can get back to being healthy.See Transcript

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Transcript:Natural Stress Relief

Hello, I'm Perry Levenson. I hold New York State licenses in Massage Therapy and Acupuncture, and I am board certified in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.  I'm here for About.com to talk to you about natural stress relief.

How Our Body Reacts to Stress

Stress is a normal physiological and physical reaction to the demands of modern life.  In fact in some cases, stress can be quite helpful. Your body comes hard-wired with an alarm system that senses danger. Once activated this alarm system diverts energy from our digestion and moves it to our arms, legs, lungs, and heart. 

Our muscles tense, our hearts beat faster, our breathing becomes shallow and rapid.  This is known as the' flight or fight' response to stress. Our bodies become ready to fight for our lives, or run for our lives. This response goes back to our earliest ancestors and the reaction is the same for any perceived stress. Your body does not know the difference between a hard, rapidly approaching deadline and a Saber-Toothed Tiger about to strike. The reaction is the same fight or flight.

In normal circumstances the body reacts to the stressful situation, and once the stress has passed it returns to normal function. 

Chronic Stress

However, in our modern world we are constantly being subjected to stressful images and situations and for many of us the Stress Response is never turned off.  This is known as living in a state of chronic stress and it can lead to many health problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, and Insomnia.  That is why it is so important to learn natural and safe ways to manage daily stress and turn off the stress response.
Here are a few ideas:

Exercise on a Regular Basis

Regular exercise is perhaps the easiest change a person can make to manage stress and improve overall health.  Any form of regular movement from running, cycling and swimming to gentler forms of exercise like yoga ant T'ai chi have been shown to have a positive effect on reducing stress levels.

Herbal Remedies Combat Stress

Herbal remedies such as Passionflower, Kava, and Valerian have been found to have anti-anxiety and calming effects in humans. All are available in pill or liquid form at health food stores, although it is best to take these products under the direction of a qualified health professional. Valerian is usually taken about an hour before bedtime. It takes about two to three weeks to work and shouldn't be used for more than three months at a time.

Massage Therapy

Body work such as massage therapy, and cranial sacral therapy have also been shown to reduce anxiety and stress levels. These techniques, and other forms of body work, are widely used to diminish muscle tension, relieve stress and improve sleep.
Finally, when it comes to stress, Laughter may indeed be the best medicine.  According to the Mayo Clinic a'Good laugh not only lightens your load mentally, but has a number of physiological benefits as well,' such as increasing your intake of oxygen rich air, and stimulating the release of endorphins, the'feel-good' hormones in your brain and laughter stimulates circulation and helps ease muscle tension.  Have you heard the one about….? ( pause and smile)

I'm Perry Levenson.  For more information about natural ways to manage stress visit About.com

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