include most instances of high blood
pressure, migraine and tension headaches,
and peptic ulcer as well as many
other problems. It is commonly estimated
that 50-80% of physician visits
are motivated by symptoms of stress-related
illnesses. These problems can usually
be prevented or treated effectively
by learning to regulate the autonomic
nervous system, the musculature,
and the central nervous system.
autonomic system is composed of
the sympathetic branch (active in
response to stress), and the parasympathetic
branch (active during relaxation
and digestion). Self-regulation
of sympathetic nervous system activity
is accomplished with hand- and foot-warming
and with control of palmar sweating.
In a general way this may be thought
of as quieting the emotions.
they know how to breathe or they
wouldn't be alive, but there are
different breathing patterns. Those
who have learned to sing or play
a wind instrument have often been
taught diaphragmatic breathing,
but many others are uncertain about
this healthy form of breathing.
With diaphragmatic breathing, when
a person exhales with a hand on
the stomach, that hand moves toward
the backbone. With inhalation, the
stomach area expands like a balloon
filling with air. Many people with
asthma breathe exactly opposite
of this, while many other people
do not move the stomach at all.
The first pattern is known as "reverse
breathing' and the second one as
Neither of these patterns is as
healthy as diaphragmatic breathing
which allows the air in the bottom
of the lungs to be efficiently scavenged
out to be replaced by fresh air.
activated in response to stress
as part of the fight-flight pattern.
When muscles are active they use
much more energy than when relaxed.
When muscles are relaxed, messages
are sent to the brain to the effect
"everything is OK." This
helps to relax both the sympathetic
nervous system and the central nervous
system. Muscle relaxation can be
thought of as quieting the body.
Stress management and treatment
go through Stress
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