Hello, and welcome to this month’s article! Planning a vacation? If you’ll be heading out of town soon or just taking some time off from work, use some of your vacation time to relax and recharge your batteries. A great way to make the most of your time off is to schedule a massage; it’s a proven way to lessen stress and to help you relax and sleep better.
Speaking of stress...
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, two-thirds of all office visits to family physicians are due to stress-related symptoms.
The American Institute of Stress reports that workplace stress causes approximately one million U.S. employees to miss work each day.
With stress being a major underlying cause to disease, everything you can do to eliminate stressors from your life can help you to stay healthier and happier. Can you think of a more pleasant way to handle stress than a rejuvenating massage?
This issue has recent health reports about increasing levels of stress and how this can affect your long term health, so read on to learn more. See you soon for your next massage!
Stress Levels are Rising in the U.S.
One-fifth of Americans report feeling extreme stress, and 35 percent of the adult population says its stress level has risen in the last year. These results are according to a recent survey from the American Psychological Association (APA). The survey also found Americans aren't getting the stress management we need from our health care system.
Findings from "Stress in America: Missing the Health Care Connection," which was conducted online by Harris Interactive among 2,020 U.S. adults in August of 2012, suggest people are not receiving what they need from their health care providers to manage stress and address lifestyle and behavior changes to improve their health.
While Americans think it is important that health care focuses on issues related to stress and living healthier lifestyles, their experiences do not seem to match up with what they value, according to an APA press release...
More than two-thirds of U.S. adults with high stress (69 percent) say their stress has increased in the past year, yet 33 percent of U.S. adults say that they never discuss ways to manage stress with their health care provider.
Survey findings also show that Americans struggle to keep their stress to levels they believe are healthy, the press release noted. Even though average stress levels across the country appear to be declining (4.9 on a 10-point scale versus 5.2 in 2011), stress levels continue to surpass what Americans define as a healthy level of stress (3.6 on a 10-point scale). And for many Americans, stress is on the rise—35 percent of Americans say their stress increased this past year.
“In order for our nation to get healthier, lower the rates of chronic illnesses, and lower health care costs, we need to improve how we view and treat stress and unhealthy behaviors that are contributing to the high incidence of disease in the U.S,” noted APA CEO Norman B. Anderson, Ph.D.
Day-to-Day Stress May Predict Long-term Mental Health
Massage therapy is one key to keeping stress at bay—and new research indicates managing stress is as important to long-term health as proper nutrition and exercise.
New research shows emotional responses to the stresses of daily life may predict long-term mental health. The research suggests maintaining emotional balance is crucial to avoiding severe mental health problems down the road.
Previous, unrelated research has indicated massage therapy decreases anxiety and depression, boosts mood and lowers blood pressure.
In the new research, using data from two national, longitudinal surveys, the researchers found that participants' negative emotional responses to daily stressors—such as arguments with a spouse or partner, conflicts at work, standing in long lines or sitting in traffic—predicted psychological distress and self-reported anxiety-and-mood disorders 10 years later.
"How we manage daily emotions matters to our overall mental health," lead researcher Susan Charles, a UC Irvine professor of psychology and social behavior, said. "We're so focused on long-term goals that we don't see the importance of regulating our emotions. Changing how you respond to stress and how you think about stressful situations is as important as maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine."
The results were based on data from 711 men and women between 25 and 74 who had participated in the Midlife Development in the United States project and the National Study of Daily Experiences, according to a university press release.
According to Charles and her colleagues, the findings show that mental health outcomes aren't affected by just major life events; they also bear the impact of seemingly minor emotional experiences, the press release noted. "The study suggests that the chronic nature of negative emotions in response to daily stressors can take a toll on long-term psychological well-being."
How microbes affect weight—
Could altering the bacteria in your gut be the key to weight loss? An intriguing new study has shown that gastric bypass surgery, which reduces the amount of food the stomach can hold, also changes the mix of microbes in the digestive tract—and that this altered microbiome accounts for 20 percent of the pounds people drop after undergoing the procedure. Recent research has also shown that the gut ecosystem of obese people changes after gastric bypass to more closely resemble that of normal—weight people. To determine whether the changed microbe population was a cause or an effect of weight loss, Harvard University scientists gave gastric bypass surgery to a group of mice and then implanted their new gut flora into mice bred to carry no bacteria at all. These mice quickly lost weight—suggesting that adjusting people’s microbe levels, without surgery, might one day give doctors “an entirely new way to treat the critical problems of obesity,” study author Lee Kaplan tells the Los Angeles Times. “We’re learning that the story is more complicated than just how much you exercise and how much you eat.”
— THE WEEK Vol 13 Iss 613
"Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time.
Until you value your time, you won’t do anything with it.”
— M. Scott Peck
The content of this article is not designed
to replace professional medical advice. If you’re ill, consult a physician.
© 2013 Massage Marketing. Used with permission; all rights reserved.