There are many physical and psychological responses to stress on the body. The physical response to stress affects all of the systems in the body.
* The digestive system – stress can cause constipation, diarrhoea, IBS, indigestion, heart burn and stomach ulcers
* The integumentary system – stress can cause rashes and skin irritations
* The cardiovascular system – stress can cause heart problems and high blood pressure
* The respiratory system – stress can cause hyperventilation
* The nervous system – stress can cause pins and needles, panic attacks, fatigue, an inability to concentrate and memory problems
* The reproductive system – stress can cause menstrual changes, loss of libido and sexual problems
* The urinary system – long term stress can cause bladder incontinence
* The lymphatic and immune system – stress can reduce white blood cells lowering protection against illness and disease
* The muscular system – stress can cause tension in muscles resulting in aches and pains
* The skeletal system – similarly tension can cause skeletal aches and pains
* The endocrine system – arguably the most affected system in the body. The hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal link produces the heightened reactions throughout the body.
In addition to the physical response to stress, there are many psychological responses- namely feeling anxious, depressed, unable to concentrate or make simple decisions, becoming forgetful and easily distracted. People suffering with stress can become emotional, experience mood swings, feel angry and irritable. They can become overly sensitive to criticism and can be defensive.
Often people with stress feel as if they have no time for themselves, they have trouble sleeping and can become reliant on alcohol, caffeine or smoking. They can become workaholics or contrastingly be absent from work more often. It is therefore imperative to look at ways to reduce stress levels.
Reflexology is a wonderful way to relax, alleviate everyday stress and tension and revitalise the body and mind.