Water Therapy for Stress Relief

 

How Water Therapy can assist those who are experiencing stress.

Overview of Stress Relief

Stress is the demand placed on your brain or physical body. It can be triggered by an event or scenario that makes you feel frustrated or nervous. According to NIB, it is estimated that 1 in 10 Australians feel the effect of stress. However, the actual figure is difficult to determine as people feel stress in different ways, often do not understand how they are feeling and often goes unreported.

Research shows ongoing stress contributes to physical illness – including high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease to being more prone to infections and chronic fatigue. If left untreated, stress can also evolve into mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

Various studies have shown that aquatic therapy has the potential to provide significant psychological benefits such as:

• Stress reduction

• Improved coping skills

• Increased sense of well-beingLowered anxiety levels. 

• It has been found that water can profoundly affect the body and mind. 

What is Stress?

Stress is often felt as a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.  Stress is your body's response to a challenge or demand. In short, it's a reaction to a situation where you feel like you're not in control. 

When you feel stress, your body will naturally release hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones make your heart beat faster and give you a burst of energy. They also narrow your blood vessels and increase your blood pressure. This "fight-or-flight" response is a natural reaction that helps you deal with perceived threats. But if it is happening all too often, it can take a toll on your health.

Stress means different things to different people. What causes stress for one person may be of little stress or worry to another. Some people are better able to cope with stressful situations than others and have a higher stress tolerance. Also, not all stress is bad. In small amounts, stress can assist you to accomplish tasks and prevent you from getting hurt. For example, it is stress that causes you to hit the brakes to avoid hitting the car in front of you. This is a good thing. Our bodies are designed to handle small amounts of stress. But, not to handle long-term or high stress levels without causing other physical and mental effects.

There are so many different causes of stress: Some are external, and some are internal. 

The most common causes of stress are: 

• Not getting enough sleep

• Having too much to do at work

• Not having enough time for yourself

• Not having enough time for your family and friends

• Financial worries

• Health concerns

If you're feeling stressed, you can take steps to reduce your stress levels by getting more sleep and eating healthy meals. 

Who Is More Likely To Suffer From Stress?

Stress is a physical and emotional response that occurs when we feel overwhelmed. It can result from many external factors, such as work or family responsibilities, or internal factors, such as a health condition.

The cliché that women are more emotional while men are more rational is backed by science when it comes to the experience of stress. Men are more likely to respond to stress with aggression, while women are more likely to respond with anxiety. When men are stressed, their bodies secrete more of the hormone cortisol, which is linked to stress and anxiety. On the other hand, women produce less cortisol when they are stressed and are more likely to become withdrawn and depressed. 

Different people can react to stress differently, and many factors can contribute to how well someone copes with it. 

However, some groups are more likely to suffer from stress than others, including those who are:

• Unemployed or underemployed

• Working long hours

• In low-paying or insecure jobs

• Caring for young children or elderly relatives

• Experiencing financial difficulties

• Living in unsafe or overcrowded conditions

• Dealing with chronic health problems

Symptoms of Stress

Stress can manifest itself in both physical and mental symptoms. 

The symptoms of stress can differ from person to person because everyone experiences and responds to stress differently.  Some people may feel anxious or irritable, while others may feel more tired or have trouble sleeping. 

The symptoms of stress can also vary depending on the type of stress you're experiencing. For example, acute stress symptoms (short-term stress) may be different from the symptoms of chronic stress (long-term stress). Some people may also be more sensitive to stress, have a higher level of stress hormones, or have different coping mechanisms. Additionally, some people may have preexisting conditions that can make them more susceptible to stress.

Somatic (body) stress responses are common symptoms of stress. The most common ones are:

• Muscle tension

• Headaches

• Difficulty sleeping

• Stomach ache

• Fast heartbeat

• Shortness of breath.


The emotional stress responses are as follows:

• Feeling anxious

•  Feeling irritable

• Feeling depressed

It is essential to note that the symptoms of stress are highly variable and will never be the same from person to person.

Muscle Tension

Muscle tension is, by far, one of the most common symptoms of stress. When we are stressed, our muscles tighten up to protect us from injury.  This is known as the "fight or flight" response. While this response is helpful in dangerous situations, it can cause problems when we are feeling stressed but are not in danger. Muscle tension can lead to intense headaches, back pain, and other issues.

Headaches

There are many possible explanations for why headaches may be a symptom of stress. One possibility is that stress can lead to muscle tension, and this tension can, in turn, lead to headaches. Additionally, stress can cause changes in blood pressure and heart rate, which may also contribute to headaches. 

Some research has suggested that certain types of headaches may be more likely to occur during periods of stress.

Sleep Interruptions

Cortisol is the hormone that can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.  When we're stressed, our bodies will produce more of the hormone cortisol.  Additionally, stress can cause us to feel anxious and tense, making it hard to relax enough to fall asleep.  Finally, stress can lead to racing thoughts and a restless mind, making it difficult to fall asleep.

Digestive Upsets

When you feel stress, your body goes into "fight-or-flight" mode. 

This causes several physical changes, one of which is an increase in the production of the hormone cortisol. 

Cortisol helps you to manage stress by providing a burst of energy. However, it also slows down other systems in your body, including digestion. 

This can lead to digestive issues, such as constipation, diarrhea, and nausea. Stress can also lead to more severe problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). If you are experiencing digestive disturbances regularly, it may be worth speaking to your doctor to see if stress is the cause.

Rapid Heartbeat

The fight-or-flight response is a natural ingrained reaction to stress. When the body experiences stress, it releases hormones that cause the heart to beat faster.  This increases blood flow to the muscles, preparing the body to fight or flee from the perceived threat. 

The fast heartbeat is a way for the body to ensure that the muscles have enough oxygen and nutrients to fight or flee.

Shortness Of Breath

Shortness of breath is a symptom of stress because your body is in a "fight or flight" mode when you are stressed.  This means that your whole body is preparing to fight or run away from a perceived threat. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase in this state, and your breathing becomes shallow and rapid. This can lead to a feeling of being short of breath.

Water Therapy & Stress

Exercise can help to manage stress in various ways. 

It can release endorphins and other feel-good hormones that make you feel calmer and happier. It can also help to improve your sleep, making you feel more relaxed and less stressed out. People who exercise regularly have generally lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

However, exercising in water can be particularly helpful for people experiencing the symptoms of stress. On the physiological level, challenging water workouts release endorphins, natural feel-good compounds whose very name derives from 'endogenous' and 'morphine.' Water can relax and stop excess fight-or-flight stress hormones, converting free-floating angst into muscle relaxation. Water exercise can even promote 'hippocampal neurogenesis', which is the growth of new brain cells in a section of the brain that atrophies when under chronic stress. In trials it has shown itself to be even more potent than drugs like Prozac at spurring such beneficial changes.


The Benefits of Water Therapy for Stress

Water Therapy can help relieve Muscle Tension

Exercising in water can help relieve muscle tension by providing resistance against which the muscles can work. This resistance helps tone and strengthen the muscles while also providing a massage-like effect that can help loosen and relax tight muscles. Additionally, warm water can help increase blood flow to the muscles, helping to relieve muscle tension.

Water Therapy can help relieve Tension Headaches

Exercising in water can help relieve stress headaches by providing a form of relaxation and release from the pain.  The water can help to ease the tension in the muscles and give a sense of calm. It can also help reduce the inflammation that can cause headaches.

Water Therapy can improve your Sleep

There are many benefits to exercising within the water, including improved sleep. When you exercise in water, your body temperature drops, which can help you feel more sleepy and relaxed.  The water can also help massage your muscles and joints, further promoting relaxation. Additionally, the endorphins released during exercise can help to improve your mood and reduce stress levels, both of which can contribute to better sleep.

Water Therapy can lower your Resting Heart Rate

There are numerous benefits to exercising in water, including that it can help improve your heart rate. When you exercise in water, your body is constantly working against the resistance of the water, which helps to get your heart rate up and keep it up for an extended period. This can help improve your overall cardiovascular health and fitness and lower your resting heart rate. Additionally, water exercise is often recommended for people who have heart conditions or are at risk for heart disease, as it can help reduce the strain on the heart.

Water Therapy can improve your Mood

Exercising in water can help improve your mood by releasing endorphins, which are hormones that act as natural painkillers and can also work to improve your mood.  Water exercise can also help reduce stress and anxiety.

Water Therapy Equipment & Stress

Even a few minutes of aqua cycling can help boost your mood and relieve some pent-up tension. You'll also get an excellent cardiovascular workout in the process.

An Aqua bike is a piece of hydro-equipment that can be useful in relieving the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. Many people use it to relieve stress, help them relax, and improve their mood. In addition, exercise reduces tension by increasing the levels of endorphins in the body while also improving circulation and oxygenation of the blood helping you to feel envigorated and motivated. 

Water Cycling can help clear the mind and reduce anxiety, which could help you feel more relaxed and less overwhelmed. If you think you are stressed or feel anxious, a quick and easy way to de-stress is to hop on an aqua bike and pedal away. 

Cycling requires the alternating exercertion and relaxation of skeletal muscles while rythmic in movement with simultaneously deep-breathing in a rhythmic pattern. It can be meditative, particularly when combined with the soothing, calm properties of water.

If stress is causing sleep problems aqua cycling can burn a lot of energy inducing sleep. 

For people under recent stress, an group aqua cycling classes can also be a helpful way to improve mood. The moves to music on the bike improve focus, concentration and promote a change of headspace. The water's supportive environment can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. The music is great fun and the group nature of the class can bring a sense of 'team' and new relationships countering isolation and depression.

Note: Please seek medical advice before exercising & always train under the advice your medical specialist.

PEOPLE WE HAVE HELPED WITH STRESS

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