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Chronic stress

Age-Old Solutions to Managing Modern-Day Stress

Wednesday, December 05, 2007 by: Roger Harris
Tags: chronic stress, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Stressed out at work?  Back hurt from shouldering family demands?  To cope with the unavoidable stress of modern life, the best way may not be the newest pharmaceutical, but techniques developed thousands of years ago.  Yoga, meditation and deep breathing exercises are now among the prescriptions for stress-related disease from medical centers around the country.

For instance, stress reduction techniques are an important component of diabetes self-management, according to Ann Doherty, RN, CDE, Manager of Alta Bates Summit Diabetes Center in Berkeley, California. "Based on Jon Kabat Zin's work at The University of Massachusetts, we integrate deep breathing, gentle yoga stretches and mindful meditation practice into our education program," says Doherty, "as well as encouraging ongoing participation in support groups and stress management classes".

In addition, Doherty founded Hawaii Health Getaways eight years ago, after she learned how traditional Hawaiian mind-body healing techniques were beneficial in dealing with stress and as an adjunct to any medical regimen.  In fact, Doherty feels stress management is such an important factor in achieving optimal health that her 2008 Getaway is titled "The Art of Stress Management," to focus on Hawaiian and other age-old solutions.

According to the ancient Hawaiian Huna philosophy, all illness is related to stress. "The body's innate healing abilities can be restored if you relieve the tension caused by physical, emotional, mental or spiritual stress", explains Serge Kahili King, PhD, a Hawaiian-trained shaman healer, and world-wide teacher and author. Huna mind-body healing techniques work on all four levels to get to the root of chronic tension in the body.

What, for instance, is mental stress?  Criticism, whether of yourself, another person or even the weather, creates stress and tension in your body, explains King.  A quick mental stress reliever is "Saturation Praise" - spending just one minute focusing on everything you like about yourself or the world.  "Try it," says King, "it's so simple, yet so effective."

Modern medical research continues to prove the relationship between stress and illness - linking stress to everything from high blood pressure and heart disease to chronic pain and obesity. The body's stress response includes increased heart rate and blood sugar, and inhibited digestion and immune response.  Unless the body returns to a state of balance and regulation, chronic stress will lead to degenerative disease.

"Stress is unavoidable," says Doherty, "but we can help manage our body's negative reaction to stressful situations by making self-care practices a priority in our daily schedule." Getting adequate sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising, maintaining a positive attitude, managing time efficiently, enjoying leisure activities, maintaining healthy relationships, and practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing and meditation are all beneficial.

Yoga has been studied and practiced in the East for thousands of years, while in the West, we have only recently discovered the restorative and relaxing benefits of this ancient art. "Yoga, which means "union," offers a means to experience the infinite, or higher self, that is always at peace", explains Annie Enea, RYT, founder of Choose Total Wellness and owner of Sacred Garden Yoga Studio in Half Moon Bay, California. "The practice of yoga, which encompasses meditation and breath work, leaves you physically relaxed yet energized; plus emotionally and mentally clear, really there in the moment, with peace of mind."

For an acutely stressful situation, it's good to have a few emergency backups like the "instant healing" techniques described at (www.HawaiiHealthGetaway.com).  They include directed breathing, mental imagery, healing touch and massage. "Or break the body's reaction to stress," advises Doherty, "by taking a walk, making yourself laugh, listening to a guided imagery/meditation CD, or drinking a soothing herbal tea.  Even a 30-second yoga stretch at your desk, on an airplane, anywhere, will release body tension before it leads to chronic pain or dis-ease".

About the author

Roger Harris is a writer and environmental advocate living on the Big Island of Hawaii. He has formed a network to provide alternatives to pesticides and chemicals, www.GreenerWorld.net to help the citizens of Hawaii and the world choose a healthier future.

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