Fighting Stress, Naturally

Colin Hall | Print Edition: July 21, 2013

Colin Hall
Colin Hall
It's 8 am, and you are already late for work. Rushing into the washroom for that seven-minute shower, you think about the day ahead - the meetings, the gruelling Q&A sessions with clients, and the ever-ongoing race against the clock to meet project deadlines. Half an hour later, you stumble out the door only to find a long-overdue credit card bill waiting in your letterbox. Haven't paid that yet, have you? The way your life's going, you could be hurtling towards a nervous breakdown - or worse.

Studies show that nearly 85% of illnesses today are caused by work-induced stress and an unhealthy lifestyle. The most obvious consequences of this phenomenon - which leads to fatigue, forgetfulness, lack of motivation, depression, headache and insomnia - are absenteeism and a downward spiral in productivity. Consequently, a majority of the people who opt for stress management, detox or rejuvenation programmes are corporate captains. Let's look at two 'natural' ways to regain charge of your life.

From the Ayurvedic perspective, there are three different manifestations of day-to-day stress - mental, emotional, and physical. Here are a few therapies that can help you deal with them.

Abhyanga (soothing massage with special herbal oils)

Abhyanga initially works at the physical level to soothe aching muscles and tense nerves, and eventually impacts the mind. It is specifically beneficial for those suffering from low stamina during the day and restless sleep at night.

Siroabhyanga (siro-head, abhyanga-massage)
Besides the scalp, this treatment also works on the face, shoulders, upper back and chest. People suffering from low concentration issues and faltering memory can benefit from Siroabhyanga.

Sirodhara (siro-head, dhara-continuous flow)
Sirodhara relaxes the person and rejuvenates both body and soul - bringing about a free flow of positive energy. It is an effective cure for insomnia.

Essential oils, the core of aromatherapy, have a direct physiological and psychological effect on people - bringing about relaxation. A list of essential oils:

Lavender It has restorative and sedative qualities, relieving tension, depression, panic and nervous exhaustion.

Neroli An oil that relaxes the mind, it relieves chronic anxiety, depression, fear, shock and stress.

Rose Soothes the mind and helps with stress. Sandalwood Useful for tension, depression, nervous exhaustion and anxiety.

Sweet Marjoram Relaxes the nervous system and relieves anxiety and stress. Helps calm hyperactive people.

Chamomile Has a calming and relaxing effect, especially on the nervous system.

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