Experts have failed to agree on a single definition of stress, it is many things to many people. It has therefore been difficult to measure stress quantitatively; there are only soft or qualitative indictors to stress levels. Many people therefore have very different ideas with respect to their definition of stress. There are three stress states covering the body where we can either be: calm (or unstressed), in a state of stress that is good or healthy (Eustress) and an unhealthy or distressed state.
From a state of calmness we may experience good stress, such as the elation or adrenalin rush from competing in a race; that first kiss, a graduation ceremony, or a bungee jump. This type of stress is normal and quite healthy for the mind and the body. When our body however goes into distress, it is the interaction between the external environment or conditions interacting with our body’s internal biochemical and physiological systems in a cognitive or thinking process.
This distressed state in the most acute of situation might lead to the “fight or flight” option where our lives might be in danger. Throughout evolution this is natures wayor dealing with acute stress. It is often very a very tangible threat and passes quickly. A more sinister stress is chronic stress, resulting from everyday but severe aspect of daily living, bills, our children, divorce etc. This is the stress our body attempts to control or deal with by pushing it down or physically suppressing it. These stresses can be derived from, emotional, physical or chemical factors.
Causes of Body Stress
Probably the most common and fitting of definition of this state of stress in relation to Body Stress release is;
The lines of tension stored, in physical structures, as a result of stress overload, which disturbs the normal tone of the body and undermines the efficiency of its communication system
Gail Meggersee in her book Self-Healing with Body Stress Release defines these further as three discrete but perhaps inter related
Emotional or Mental Stress
These can include fear of the future, financial worries, competition in the workplace, disintegrating family relationships. At times we experience sudden violent emotions, such as anger or shock, or we undergo milder but ongoing forms of mental strain, e.g. anxiety, depression and resentment. We may become aware of the physical effect of emotional pressures, as the diaphragm, jaw, neck and shoulders tighten in a defensive posture, to armour us against the onslaught of life’s stresses.
Physical or Mechanical Stress
The body is designed to withstand a certain amount of physical force, bumps, jerks and falls, but if the mechanical stress goes beyond the body’s limit of adaptability, the effects may become stored as body stress. The causes may be sudden and violent, such as a car accident, a severe fall, or lifting a heavy object incorrectly. Or, there may be a gradual accumulation of milder mechanical stress, e.g. habitually sitting incorrectly, or undertaking inappropriate exercises
The sources of chemical stress include pollutants in the air, insecticides and certain food additives and preservatives, colorants, artificial growth hormones. Harmful chemicals may be consumed, inhaled, or even absorbed when contacting the skin. Examples of chemical stress are severe headaches and nausea, to name but two.