Life is stressful — it always has been, and a certain amount of stress is normal. A world completely devoid of stress would be a pretty boring place. But we’re now in a situation where chronic stress has become something of an epidemic. It’s fair to say that stress has hit an all-time high.
The good news is that awareness of mental health issues is growing all the time, and we’re seeing more TV documentaries exploring alternative solutions for stress and mental illness. Social media campaigns have worked tirelessly to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues and encourage more people to seek help.
This is all fantastic, and I think it’s a positive step forward in our approach to health. Finally, we’re realising the importance of mental wellbeing and how it interacts with our physical health. Essentially, this is what holistic therapies are all about — treating the body AND mind as a whole.
However, I think there is one industry that offers massive potential and yet is largely untapped in New Zealand. Let’s talk about massage!
Most people love a good massage — in fact, throughout my career I have only ever met a few people who actively disliked it. There’s nothing like a good massage to blast away stress and tension. I honestly believe that if we all had regular massages, the world would be a better place. If that sounds far-fetched, consider this: it’s thought that around 80% of physical illness is caused, or exacerbated, by stress. Failing to manage long-term stress has a devastating impact on your entire body — the knock-on effects are endless, from high blood pressure to heart attacks. Anything you can do to deal with stress is beneficial to your mental AND physical health. So many people fall into a deteriorating cycle of stress and ill health. We need to be pro-active in taking care of our health, and this includes mental health. Massages can play a key part in soothing physical tension as well as calming the mind.
We need to move away from the idea that massage is something that only happens on a luxury spa day. Why not bring massage into everyday life, and boost the nation’s wellbeing as a result?
The front pages of newspapers are splashed with headlines about our mental health crisis — so why not think outside the box? Rather than handing out endless prescriptions, why not explore other avenues of improving mental health? Of course, massage isn’t going to solve everything – it’s not a miracle cure. But preventative treatments like massage can help to keep stress at bay and prevent it from snowballing into a serious illness. Even a 10-minute massage can ease muscular tension and stiffness, giving you a mental and physical boost.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if more people were prescribed holistic treatments like massage, rather than pills of dubious effectiveness?