Alternate Ways to Ease Muscle Tension and Stress
This weather is all over the place and that means more stress being put on our bodies. Between shoveling, scraping the ice off our cars, gripping the steering wheel during one of those snow storms, our body builds up with stress and tension. Relieving aches and pains can be tough with our busy schedules. Here are some tips to help to reduce aches and pains at home!
- Use deep diaphragmatic breathing- A lot of the time we breathe through our chest. We use our accessory breathing muscles instead of our diaphragm. This can increase tension in our body as we are over breathing, taking more rapid and shallow breaths. It is natural for our bodies to breathe using our bellies, but as we have adapted to stress, it has altered our breathing patterns. The best way to reverse this habit is to breathe with more intention. Take 5-10 minutes a day and find a comfortable position laying on your back. Once there, place your hands on your abdomen. Start by taking an large inhale, for a count of six, feeling your belly lift your hands. Take a pause once you’ve reached your full inhale and exhale for a count of six. Repeat this for the full 5-10 minutes. You can also alter the time for the inhalation and exhalation, lengthening or decreasing the time for either one.
- Progressive relaxation- This is a great tool to use to release the built up tension from the day. The technique is simple. Find a comfortable position this can be laying on your back, on your side, or reclined- whatever feels best for you. . This techniques works by contracting your muscles and joints and holding this for 15-30 seconds. From there you release the contraction and introduce movement back into the muscles and joints. You can start this relaxation technique wherever, for instruction purposes lets begin at your feet. Curl your toes into the soles of your feet, point your feet up or down, and hold this position for 15-30 seconds. Release your feet by making circles at your ankles, wiggling your toes, stretching them open and then closed. Repeat this working your way up your body, from your calves to your thighs and glutes, to your abdominal muscles, your arms and shoulders, finishing with your neck and face.
- Essential Oils- Panaway is a great essential oil to help with relieving stress and tension as well as reducing inflammation and muscles aches and pains. Lavender is another great oil to encourage relaxation and reduce muscle tension, headaches and improve sleep patterns.
- Stretching- Stretch out your tense and tight muscles, and introduce movement back into your joints. You can do this using active range of motion, which is essentially you moving your joints through specific movements. For example, moving your head and neck from side to side, rotating it and bending and extending it.
- Manual Therapy- Make sure you attend regular appointments with your therapist to maintain your wellbeing. At home you can also use tools like the AcuBall to massage out your aches and pains. This is a great tool sold by DHT that works as a self massaging tool. A great feature of the AcuBall is that you can heat it up. Pop it in the microwave according to instructions and then use it to massage out muscles that are tight. The heat of the tool will also aid in loosening tight muscles.
Check out the variety of tools we sell here in the clinic, including the AcuBall and Panaway and Lavender essential oils! Stop your tension aches and pains!!