The digestive system is another that can be directly affected. High stress levels can cause the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to become insufficiently active(1). What a lot of people don’t realise is that we also have an opposing state of ‘being’ known as ‘Rest and Digest’, and that these two states can’t occur simultaneously. This means during an episode of fight or flight/prolonged stress, your digestive tract and urinary output has reduced activity. Long term inactivity of the bowles can be linked to a range of different inflammatory conditions including IBS, Polyps, hemorrhoids. And even cancer(3,4).
Recent links to stress and depression
Not only can inadequate GI health potentially cause depression(5,6,7), but some recent studies have also indicated that those corticosteroids may also be an active effector. It has been known for some time that the constant assault of corticosteroids on the bodies organs can cause inflammatory conditions in different organs such as the heart, lungs, blood vessels, skeletal and visceral musculature or an imbalanced homeostasis, it has only been recently discovered that the long term interaction of the corticosteroids can also cause an inflammatory response in the brain, which has been linked to depression(7).
Yes, it’s a technical term! Cortisol (a hormone released during long term fight or flight) has been tested and measured during massage therapy trials and has been noted to show a reduction of the steroid over the period established in the study. Also seen was an increase in the ‘feel good’ hormones released by the brain known as dopamine and serotonin(8,9). So if you or someone you know is suffering from prolonged stress, bowel issues, or depressive episodes, then book yourself in for a therapeutic massage. Let us shift your body from ‘fight or flight’ to ‘rest and digest’ and see how amazing the effects can be at relieving the symptoms associated with stress… walk away feeling like a new person.