The Whole Body
The human body is a magnificent biomechanical “machine”. It consists out of 206 bones held together with roughly 640 muscles and supported by approximately 60 km of nerves serving as the communication pathways to the muscles and 78 organs. To make it even more special, this system has the capability to heal and restore itself and best of all it is extremely adaptable and durable.
From the day we are born it is in constant use, from the ribcage expanding with every breath to the muscles going in to action to keep us upright with the first attempt to stand up as a baby and then with every step we take thereafter. With the earth’s gravity pulling on the body, the muscles are never completely at ease so regardless whether you are doing an intense physical activity or just lounging on the couch, the body is in use and over time this constant activity can lead to overuse, causing muscle tension in a specific area, or over various parts of the body due to the body adapting to locked-in tension.
In Body Stress Release we look at various types of overload that can cause body stress and locked-in muscle tension. There is the mechanical or physical overload – this is what we do with and to the body daily; emotional overload from mental stress, trauma and depression, which can also manifest as a physical reaction in the body; chemical stress – comes from the environment, in what we eat, drink, inhale, and absorb on the skin, and can cause a variety of symptoms.
Overloading the body with stresses is a vicious cycle, it starts with muscles tightening up to protect an overloaded area, which then causes muscle spasms, cramps and sometimes even numbness. Due to these tight muscles, there is pressure on the nerves leading to possible nervous system issues and pain. The nervous system issues may lead to lack of sleep, that causes further fatigue and tiredness. There may also be a mental emotional overload that can increase feelings of negativity and depression, and because the body’s response to emotional tension and trauma is to lock in more tension, the cycle starts again. But what exactly are the various overload factors and what impact do they have on the whole body:
Physical overload is what we do with the body itself, it can build up over time due to poor posture or because of an incident. For example, as a baby you had a difficult birth where tongs or a vacuum pump was used and in the process the neck muscles were strained. Over the years life happened and now you are in a job spending 1-2 hours driving in traffic and at least 8 hours behind your computer and your neck is killing you as you suffer from muscle spasms, headaches and numbness in the arms while sleeping. To get the muscles to relax, we hit the gym, focussing on making the muscles stronger and then the repetitive strain injury (RSI) happens. In addition, physical trauma may also cause stress to be locked in the body from sources such as, operations, breaks and fractures, falls, car accidents, whiplash, childbirth and epidural injections. Often the body during these types of sudden shocks or impacts, goes into a protective mode, locks in tension and then fails to release it in the recovery process. We often see clients who suffer long-term symptoms after these traumatic events.
Tiredness and fatigue (exhaustion)
Often the stresses of modern society do not allow our bodies sufficient recovery time, and we often live in a near permanent state of stress-overload. Clients often complain of whole body tiredness, and fatigue, while some even suffer from exhaustion. This is often due to stressed and tight muscles needing energy to keep them in this protective state, thus leaving little extra time for other normal activities. The overall tiredness may disrupt your sleep and you could wake up feeling exhausted. Often, after only a few sessions of Body Stress Release, clients frequently say they feel much more energised and sleep much better as, energy is returned to the body from locked-in muscle tension throughout the whole body.
Muscle spasms and muscle cramps:
As muscles tighten up over time and become less pliable, clients often complain of a lack of mobility, muscle spasms and muscle cramps. This often occurs through our sedentary lifestyles, sitting too much or a lack of mobility and exercise in our daily routines. Sitting on the floor and getting up is not as easy as it used to be, and putting on those socks may also be a strain? The main issues we see in practice are shoulder cramps and shoulder spasms and often calf cramps, waking people from deep sleep.
Generally we see body numbness in our body extremities, arm or hand numbness and leg numbness, often due to referred signals from locked-in tension in the spine. Body Stress Release Practitioners see two types of numbness in general, firstly clients complaining of numbness that goes away again, such as arms going numb at night when you sleep and then areas of numbness on the body. Locked-in tension causes muscles to expand and interrupt nerve pathways. A lack of sensation or numbness is for us a key indicator of body stress.
Disc herniations are diagnosed by doctors and it is common in the lower back and the neck area. Clients often come to us with reports from doctors of these diagnoses. A disc herniation can happen over time as the muscles continue to pull the vertebra together, or with a physical trauma incident such as a fall or accident. The bulging disc cause pressure on the nerve, causing possible pain in the location of the hernia or referred nervous system issues such as numbness in the legs. Often clients come for Body Stress Release prior to considering possible disc herniation operations and have success, where released tension in the spine pulls the disc herniation back into place.
Scoliosis where the spine twists and curves to the sides and may occur pre or post birth. The body sees this as a structural weakness and the muscles in the surrounding area tighten up to protect and support this weakness. In pre-birth or congenital scoliosis the whole body develops differently to compensate for the structural difference. Scoliosis also has an impact on posture as you may be slightly off-centre and the muscles compensate to keep you upright and moving, leading to more body stress. Body Stress Release has assisted a number of clients in reducing the effects of scoliosis, by reducing the spinal curvature and reducing the resultant pains from scoliosis.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain all over the body, (also referred to as widespread pain), sleep problems, fatigue, and often emotional stress and mental stress. There is no clear cause of why the person is experiencing pain and often the pain moves around the body. The continuous discomfort affects quality of life and may contribute to feelings of depression. We have worked with many clients over the years who often find relief from their symptoms through regular sessions of Body Stress Release.
Mental or Emotional Overload
Mental or Emotional Overload is what happens to us when things are sometimes just too big to deal with or comprehend. Emotional stress can build up over time due to day to day responsibilities or concerns or due to a trauma, like losing a loved one or being diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer. We should not underestimate the impact of mental stress in experiencing pain and fatigue continuously. With the body’s natural response to protect itself, the emotional tension is noted in muscle spasms around the neck, shoulders and chest area and nervous system issues in the body. Body Stress Release is a gentle and relaxing technique that relies on the body’s natural ability to release tension and heal itself. Many of our clients suffering mental or emotional stress find the technique very effective, over time, at reducing these stresses.
Trauma is experienced differently by everyone. What one person experiences as trauma may not be a traumatic experience for another. Working daily in a fast-paced world might be energising for some and cause complete exhaustion in others. Traumas may range from physical traumas such as a bad car accident to more subtle, but no less severe, emotional traumas such as the loss of a child. These types of trauma may often result in locked-in tension in muscles and muscle groups, and by releasing these physical tensions – the client’s trauma may be mitigated to more manageable levels.
Nervous system issues
Nervous system issues may occur with tight muscles causing pressure on the nerves and can arise due to locked-in tension in muscles, resulting in many issues such as bowel problems, constipation, heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, and other organ problems. Clients experiencing emotional overload often complain of migraines, headaches, eye complaints and often dizziness. With muscle spasms in the neck area clients may experience carpal tunnel syndrome pains, arm stiffness and wrist and hand pain. The spinal cord passes about 95% of brain nerve signals to the rest of the body, so stress in the back and spine may result in numerous aches, pains, body sensations and body disfunction in the muscles and organs, Body Stress Release can assist in relieving many of these issues.
Depression affects how we feel, think and behave in our daily lives, and we see many clients on depression medication in our practices. When our quality of life is affected by pain or fatigue, feelings of depression are quite common as we just do not have the energy to participate in daily activities, which could take the joy out of living. We see many clients suffering from depression, and as Body Stress Release is a complementary technique we are able to provide Body Stress Release sessions alongside doctor’s prescribed medication. Some of our clients do come off medications of this nature while having Body Stress Release sessions, but under the full control of their doctors.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
This is an emotional overload commonly associated with people from war zones and areas of natural disaster but can be triggered by any traumatic event such as a home invasion, armed robbery or hijacking. Each person process trauma differently and whether we experience an actual trauma or observe it, the emotional overload can trigger a PTSD response. First responders, ‘Blue Light Services’ and relief workers may also be prone to this type of stress, and often Body Stress Release practitioners work to complement other medical treatments such as counselling and doctor’s medications.
Chemical stress occurs when the body responds to a trigger from outside which then overloads the body, causing migraines, headaches, blurred vision, acute neck pains, sinus reactions and nausea when exposed to these chemical triggers. Our world is filled with chemicals and they are difficult to avoid, but avoidance as much as possible, by using natural products can reduce the exposure risk.
Triggers may be a sweet drink or eating a particular food or even a person’s perfume which can cause the chemical headache. A Body Stress Release practitioner knows and understands these types of stress very well, and has releases to perform which may assist clients. Also they are experienced at spotting these stresses when a client details their case history, during the first Body Stress Release session.
**Information presented here is not qualified medical advice, as BSR is a non-medical and non-therapeutic technique. Nothing expressed herein creates a BSR Practitioner-Client relationship.