Keep stress in check

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FEATURE -

STRESS is a phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal bur­den that of­ten causes mus­cle ten­sion and headaches, but you can keep it in check with the right re­lax­ation tech­niques.

“A mas­sage can work won­ders, be­cause massages stim­u­late the me­tab­o­lism, re­lease ‘happy’ hor­mones and strengthen our im­mune sys­tem,” says Ingo Froboese, a sports health pro­fes­sor.

A mas­sage will help loosen mus­cles that have be­come painful to move from over­strain and will let your body and mind re­lax.

You do not even need to splash out on the ex­pen­sive ser­vices of a pro­fes­sional: a few sim­ple hand move­ments can turn a self-mas­sage into an ef­fec­tive weapon against stress.

A face mas­sage is one good self­mas­sage method, and it brings in­stant re­lax­ation. You need to gen­tly stroke your face with the palm of your hand, from your nose to­wards your cheek­bones and your ears, and fi­nally slide your fin­gers over prom­i­nent fea­tures in your face.

You should also stroke the skin around your mouth and eyes, and you can loosen your chin by ap­ply­ing slight pres­sure on it. Gen­tle taps will help you re­lax and also have the ef­fect of tight­en­ing your skin.

Most com­mon ten­sions tend to build up at the back of the neck and in the shoul­der area. They are usu­ally caused by sit­ting at a desk for too long or by mak­ing just one part of your body do all the work.

You can loosen the hard spots in your neck mus­cles with your own hands by gen­tly mas­sag­ing the back of the neck. You should start at the back of your head, at the top cer­vi­cal ver­te­bra, and slide your hands down to the tho­racic ver­te­brae.

So-called trig­ger points, the places where ten­sions tend to build up the most, need spe­cial at­ten­tion. Your fin­ger­tips should ap­ply a bit of ex­tra pres­sure on those mus­cles, but gen­tle cir­cu­lar move­ments will help dis­solve the stiff­ness.

“Fi­nally, slightly stretch­ing the neck and nape mus­cles will con­trib­ute to the com­plete re­lax­ation of the mas­saged mus­cles,” Froboese says at his of­fice at the Ger­man Sports Univer­sity in Cologne.

“Self-mas­sage tech­niques should never cause any pain. They should al­ways feel pleas­ant,” the fit­ness ex­pert warns.

Af­ter the mas­sage, you should take ap­prox­i­mately 15 min­utes to en­joy the re­lax­ing re­sult and feel the changes that the self-mas­sage has brought about in your body. – dpa

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