Understanding the Stress Response

Understanding the Stress Response

What is Stress?

Stress can be described as pressure we feel when the demands placed on us exceed our resources. Sometimes, this can be positive and stress can be used as a motivational force for example – helping us meet deadlines or react in dangerous situations. Other times, stress can threaten our wellbeing and challenge our ability to cope with everyday life.

There are multiple sources of stressors – environmental, emotional, chemical & nutritional. Some examples include: moving house, financial worries, loss, pregnancy, excess alcohol or vitamin deficiencies.

When you are exposed to stress, your body reacts in a few different ways. Firstly, it has a short-term response (often known as the flight or fight reaction) which helps you to cope with any immediate threats. Your body releases hormones which increase heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar levels while diverting blood to the essential organs like the heart and brain.

If the stress is maintained, so is the body’s stress response. This adaptation to stress causes continued increased blood pressure, increased blood sugar levels, poor digestion, inflammation and a weakened immune system.

If the stress continues long-term, the body becomes exhausted and depleted. Drained of resources, there often can be a worsening of any ongoing health complaints or recurring illnesses. People often experience a type of ‘burnout’ and are forced to rest due to ill health.

If you are suffering from stress, you might be experiencing a combination of some of the following symptoms;

  • feeling overwhelmed, irritable, ‘wound up’, anxious, scared or lacking in self-esteem
  • You might find that you are constantly worrying, find it difficult to make decisions or concentrate
  • Physically, you could be suffering from headaches, muscular pain, dizziness, tiredness and trouble sleeping

Often in our everyday lives, we are exposed to at least one stressor and we adapt and cope with this. However many of us have to respond to multiple sources of stress on a daily basis. This has a massive impact on our ability to cope and, over time, leads to the deterioration of our ability to manage stress.                

Coping mechanisms

  • Becoming aware of our reaction to stress
  • Talk to someone about your feelings and concerns, don’t be afraid to ask for help or speak honestly about your problems
  • Try to maintain healthy habits like exercising (swimming, yin yoga, cycling or brisk walking are especially recommended) and eating a balanced diet
  • Prioritise the things most important to you and try to eliminate the less important things
  • Making time for fun and relaxation

Recovering from Stress & How Reflexology can help

Reflexology aims to restore and maintain the body’s natural balance (homeostasis) which is disturbed by the effects of stress. Reflexology calms the mind, body and emotions allowing harmony to be restored to the body systems.

Relaxation affects the body in the following ways:

  • Decreasing adrenaline levels, blood sugar levels & cholesterol levels
  • Increasing immune system functioning
  • Calming emotions
  • Reduces muscular tension
  • Improving digestive system functioning
  • Slowing breathing, increasing lung function

The effects last much longer than your treatment duration, often still being felt days and weeks afterward. Coupled with lifestyle changes and other appropriate care, reflexology can be a long-term solution to stress and anxiety.

Click here to book an appointment to help manage stress.


Categories: Stress, Womens Health
Tags: , , , , ,
Atlas Therapies Launches New Service

Atlas Therapies Launches New Service

Bespoke Aromatherapy Blends.

Alongside offering reflexology and massage, Atlas Therapies has developed a new service to help you benefit from aromatherapy outside of the clinic!

Who is it for?

  • Anyone who wants to benefit from the effects of aromatherapy in a more flexible way
  • Women going into hospital to give birth – take a rollerball or room spray with you to create a more comforting environment (you can use the same scent during your pregnancy at home to enhance this effect)
  • People who have sensitive skin and can’t use many pre-blended aromatherapy products
  • People who would like to use aromatherapy to help with specific emotional and physical health issues
  • Women practising hypnobirthing who are looking for a pregnancy suitable massage oil
  • People who don’t have time for a treatment in the clinic
  • Someone looking for a special gift for a loved one – you can purchase a gift voucher for this service

How it works

Following an email consultation, a bespoke blend of essential oils will be created especially for you. Your blend will be created based on the symptoms and conditions that you wish to manage and for their therapeutic effect on mind, body and emotions. You can choose to have your bespoke aromatherapy blend made for use as a bath & massage oil, rollerball or room spray.

Personalised advice will also be given on how to use your bespoke blend at home and information on the oils included.

Great! How do I order?

Just email rachael@atlastherapies.co.uk and request a consultation form for Bespoke Aromatherapy to get the ball rolling then I’ll get to work creating your very own blend!

Categories: Aromatherapy, Complementary Therapies, Holistic Health, Pregnancy, Womens Health
Tags: , , , , , , ,
How To Use Essential Oils During Pregnancy

How To Use Essential Oils During Pregnancy

Aromatherapy and, in particular, essential oils have many benefits to offer during pregnancy. With a little caution, they can be used safely and positively throughout the whole of your pregnancy to help maintain your wellbeing and naturally manage any issues you experience. This guide will cover how to use adapt aromatherapy for pregnancy. This post details some of the safest and most effective oils you might want to use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using Essential Oils Safely
Dilution – Essential oils are sold in their highly concentrated form and therefore must be diluted prior to use. In aromatherapy, dilution is measured in percentage and a dilution of 1% or less is recommended for pregnancy. This equates to one drop of essential oil in 5ml of base oil (almond, coconut, olive, avocado, jojoba oil etcetera).
Skin sensitivity – Your skin can become more sensitive during pregnancy so it’s a good idea to patch test oils 24 hours before first use. To do this, just create your blend, add to a cotton bud and swipe onto your inner arm. Monitor for any itchiness, redness or irritation at the site.
Light sensitivity – Due to increased melanin stimulating hormone levels in pregnancy, your skin can be more sensitive to the sun. Citrus oils can cause further light sensitivity so make sure that your exposure to the sun and/or sunbeds is limited for up to 24 hours after using.
Smell sensitivity – Throughout pregnancy you will have a heightened sense of smell. Some oils that you liked previously might now smell overwhelming to you. This is another reason that a dilution of only 1% should be used.

How to use Essential Oils
Diffuser – fill the diffuser with water and add up to 4 drops of essential oil
Massage – use 1drop of essential oil per 5ml of base oil then gently massage into skin or book an appointment here.
Bath – Dilute 1 drop of essential oil in 5ml of base oil then add to your bath

Categories: Uncategorised, Complementary Therapies, Pregnancy
Tags: , , ,
Twenty essential oils safe to use in pregnancy

Twenty essential oils safe to use in pregnancy

Many of my clients enjoy using essential oils at home but during pregnancy it can be difficult to know what oils are safe to use. It’s a question I hear a lot so, to answer it, I’ve put together this guide. I have grouped the oils into three distinct categories based on their main effect to make it easier to choose the most appropriate one for you.

Calming Essential Oils

The following essential oils are renowned for the soothing & calming effect that they have on the body and emotions. Best used when feeling stressed or anxious.

Chamomile

Soothing to the skin & emotions. It reduces oedema and encourages sleep.

Benzoin

A vanilla – like, warm and comforting oil. It helps relieve heartburn and is also good for healing cracked skin.

Cypress

This oil improves circulation and eases the discomfort of varicose veins.

Eucalyptus

An excellent oil to use when congested, Eucalyptus acts as a decongestant as well as relaxing muscle tension.

Frankincense

Historically one of the most precious essential oils, Frankincense relaxes the body by encouraging deeper breathing. Often used in meditation.

Lavender

This oil has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It can reduce muscle tension & relieve insomnia.

Mandarin

A gentle and soothing oil, Madarin is great to use in skin care as it can help prevent stretch marks.

Energising Essential Oils

These oils have an uplifting effect on the body & emotions. They are good to use when feeling sluggish, tired or down.

Bergamot

Uplifting to the emotions, relieves insomnia & settles indigestion.

Black Pepper

Warming & stimulating. Black pepper eases muscular tension by encouraging blood flow to the areas that are achey.

Ginger

Another warming oil that settles indigestion and nausea.

Grapefruit

This oil balances emotions and energises the body and mind.

Lemon

Uplifting, stimulating & cleansing.

Sweet marjoram

This oil is has a  warming and analgesic effect on the body.

Balancing Essential Oils

These oils are good to use when you’re feeling out of sorts and need some extra support.

Geranium

Balances the mood and hormones. It’s also effective at reducing oedema.

Rose Otto

Regulates appetite, relaxes and balances emotions. It’s known for having an affinity with the female reproductive system and is often use to ease women;s health issues.

Neroli

Relieves stress, anxiety and has an aphrodisiac effect.

Sandalwood

Very calming & grounding. Can increase focus but is almost sedative if too much is used.

Ylang Ylang

Lifts the mood and promotes self-confidence

Tea Tree

Wound healing and stimulating to the immune system

Information taken from:

“Pregnancy Guidelines” by The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists

The Essential Guide to Holistic & Complementary Therapies” by Beckmann and Le Quesne.

“Aromatherapy: An A-Z” by Davies

Contact me to work together – if you would like to experience the benefits of essential oils with an experienced aromatherapist, you can book an aromatherapy consultation with me by email.

You might also find the next post helpful, detailing how to use oils at home safely.

Categories: Uncategorised
Tags: , , , , ,
Five Simple Ways To Improve Your Wellbeing This Spring

Five Simple Ways To Improve Your Wellbeing This Spring

Spring is officially here! I love everything about this transitional time of the year – the first bulbs that poke their way out of the earth, the lighter days and the longer nights. But more than any of this, I love the energy of spring. It’s the time of year when we start to feel more optimistic as we cautiously head out of winter and into the new season. Spring feels like a promise of better things to come and I find it easier to make changes to my habits and routines at this time of year. Below you will find the five things that I’ll be doing over the next few months to improve my wellbeing this spring season.

  1. Eating more fruit and veg!  As the chilly winter weather starts to dissipate, I don’t feel the need to fortify myself with as many heavy stews and soups as I did over the winter. For me, warmer weather = salad. This website has a calendar showing what is in season in Scotland for each month of the year which is really helpful in preparing your meals.
  2. Use the optimistic energy of spring to renew resolutions made in winter over the new year. It can be hard to stick to those plans of exercising more and eating healthily when all you want to do is hibernate so why not use the new season as a chance to revisit your resolutions? You could try a new outdoor exercise class or recipe.
  3. Spring clean! This can apply to anything in your life. Declutter your home, open the windows and let out stagnant energy. Work in your garden or spring clean your wardrobe by repairing and storing your winter clothes and accessories so that they are ready to go next year. Then, update your wardrobe with some new season touches if needed.
  4. Connect with loved ones. The longer days and lighter nights mean more opportunity to socialise and spend time with friends and family.
  5. Bring some joy into your everyday life – appreciate the spring blooms, enjoy the seasonal fruit & veg and notice how the lighter mornings make you feel more awake each day.

Let me know what you thought of my tips and comment below with any suggestions of your own!

 

Categories: Holistic Health
Tags: , , , , , ,