Natural Health &

Relaxation Centre

Relaxation Techniques for Stress Management

By Ria

For general stress reduction and well-being, individuals can learn relaxation techniques through a variety of methods, including videotapes, audiotapes, books, distance learning courses and community classes. However, it is best for patients with specific medical or psychological issues to visit a healthcare professional or Relaxation Therapy specialist to determine the most appropriate relaxation method and to reduce potential negative side effects, such as relaxation-induced anxiety.

Relaxation techniques are also thought to be useful adjuncts in the treatment of adjustment disorder, addictions, irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, inflammatory bowel disease, arrhythmias, asthma, diabetes, and social phobias, although these applications may not have been as extensively researched as the clinical applications discussed above. In children, relaxation techniques may be beneficial for those suffering from impulsivity due to hyperactivity and disruptive behaviour.

There are many different relaxation techniques you can use to reduce stress levels, these include the use of aromatic oils, massage, breathing and meditation techniques as well as visualisation techniques.

Aromatherapy: If you use an aromatherapy oil for it's fragrance by diffusing it, then the main benefit you get from it is due to the olfactory response. Simply by inhalation, essential oils illicit an immediate olfactory response and they are readily absorbed into the bloodstream stimulating the production of relaxing hormones such as endorphin, serotonin etc. For instance it is said that Chamomile, Lavender and Neroli act on the "Raphe-Nucleus", which secrets the natural sedative hormone called Serotonin, while Bergamot, Frankincense and Rosewood are said to work on the Hypothalamus and secrete a variety of balancing neurochemicals and thereby regulates heart-beat, breathing etc. Oils termed euphoric oils are clary-sage, Jasmine, Rose and Grapefruit. They induce the brain to produce the pain-killing and euphorising hormone called encephalin. Aphrodisiac oils include Amber, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood and Jasmine. They act on the pituitary gland, which secrets the neuro-chemical endorphin, the pleasure giving hormone.

Massage: Massage improves the circulation of body fluids, strengthens the immune system and brings stress hormone levels down. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you go to a massage session once a month and have your energy channels cleared and invigorated. Massage can include Reflexology which invigorates directly the associated organs, Acupressure or Shiatsu, which both work directly on the energy channels also called Meridians and Ayurvedic Massage which works on the whole body energy channels also called nadis and on the chakras and is a highly detoxifying treatment. Sauna is also a good way to relax and detoxify the body.

Creative Activities are a good way to distract your mind and "delve" into an activity that lets you forget the hassle of everyday life. Painting, photography or even DIY work is often experienced as a "meditative" activity as people tend to get completely absorbed in the activity and truly enjoy being creative.

Listening to Gentle Music plays an important part in relaxation as research has proven that Classical, New Age and other styles of relaxation music induce the brain to produce endorphins and other "happy-making" hormones, thus relaxation music being a good anti-stress therapy activity.

Meditation: The regular practice of meditation has been shown to reduce physiological arousal. It calms the mind and nervous system and lowers the heart rate. The rhythm of the breath slows down considerably which is an important element in the revealing of insights into the psychological and emotional conditioning. Due to the slowing down of these functions, our ability to cope with pressure increases, as our internal environment becomes more spacious. Most illness and disease is compacted by anxiety and the which is fear built around it. Meditation can help recovery from these traumas by developing a more relaxed relationship with ourselves. Meditation nourishes our spiritual beliefs, provoking experiences and insights into the deeper meaning of being alive in a human form. It enhances sensitivity, alertness, composition, mental clarity, a feeling of 'centredness' and unity with all beings. It is good to practice meditation in the early mornings or in the evenings, when we can best find the inner peace to calm down and concentrate.

Creative Visualisation Techniques: Our subconscious minds have a very strong impact on how we act, think and also on our physical comfort levels, notably on stress. It is scientifically proven that, if you train yourself mentally to be healthy by using such techniques as autosuggestion or hypnosis, you will eventually grow into the habits and life-style necessary to have a relaxed, healthy and happy life. Without having to compromise on your personal attainments, your job quality or career and your performance in general, you will lead a more peaceful life.


As can be seen, stress has many different causes and is mostly due to an imbalance of working and personal life and due to emotional problems and traumas experienced in childhood, which subsequently lead to ineffective and counterproductive behaviour patterns leading to a rise in stress levels. For most people it will be quite hard to make adequate changes to their life-style and take up nutritional and relaxation techniques to reduce stress levels and improve their work-life balance. Notably so, because people who tend to be stressed are also very ambitious and they fear that spending more time enjoying life will lead to their competitors catching up on them and will put them at a loss in their professional career.

For such people, stress can actually induce a self-sabotage system in the body. The subconscious mind can block achievement of optimum performance levels by purposely putting up barriers until the person takes the hint and rectifies the situation. This is why we should all learn to listen to our little voice within.