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Understanding Body Stress

The dictionary defines stress as ’a force, pressure, tension or constraining influence’.

Body stress is a powerful factor in everyone’s life, undermining health and well-being in a variety of ways. The release of body stress is a catalyst for self-healing, both physically and emotionally. You may be unaware of its presence or misinterpret its effects. Many mysterious problems can be traced to a logical cause – body stress. Each time stress overload occurs …. Tension locks into the body, reducing its efficiency.

We are all constantly subjected to various forms of stress in our daily lives. A certain amount is necessary, to provide us with challenges and to stimulate us to strive for survival and promote growth and development, therefore not all stress is harmful.

The body is designed to be self-healing, it has mechanisms that constantly monitor all of its functions and is continuously adapting to internal changes and external influences, as well as normal daily stress. Proof of this is that the body is capable of healing wounds and fractures, counteracting harmful chemicals and adapting to sudden changes in temperature.

Stress becomes a negative, destructive factor in life when it goes beyond the individual’s ability to adapt to it. When stress overload is reached, instead of the stress being released, it becomes stored within the body as “body stress”. This may lead to stiffness, postural distortion, a loss of flexibility, pain or numbness.

A person with body stress may also feel tense, tired and lacking in energy and enthusiasm for life. Headaches, backache and indigestion may follow. It is also possible for body stress to be present without the individual feeling any pain or stiffness - you will simply come to accept as normal the sense of having less than 100 percent wellbeing. Tense muscles put pressure on nerves disturbing the body’s communication system and reducing the efficiency of the natural healing process.

As we differ in our emotional and physical makeup, we have varying degrees of susceptibility to stress overload.

The effects of body stress impact the body in many different ways:

Mechanical Stress

The body is designed to withstand a certain amount of physical force such as 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. There may also be a gradual accumulation of milder mechanical stress, as a result of sitting incorrectly, or routinely doing inappropriate exercises.


Stress Financial worries, competition in the work-place and disintegrating family relationships can all be factors in emotional/ mental stress. At times we experience sudden strong emotions, such as anger or shock, as well as milder but ongoing forms of mental strain, caused by anxiety, panic attacks, resentment and depression.We may become aware of the physical effect of emotional stress in the form of tightening of the jaw, neck, shoulders and diaphragm, creating a defensive posture to armour us against the onslaught of life’s stresses In addition the physical discomfort resulting from body stress will reinforce the negative emotions creating a vicious circle.

Chemical Stress

Exposure to harmful chemicals may severely irritate the nervous system and cause the neck muscles to tighten, eg chemicals may be inhaled, such as car fumes and insecticides; substances may be absorbed through the skin, such as cleaning materials and certain cosmetics. Some people react adversely to certain foods, preservatives and additives.