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The fight or flight response

We have all heard of the fight or flight response but perhaps don’t give it much thought or perspective with how it affects us each day, our wellbeing, our levels of stress, relaxation and yes even health.

Never underestimate the power of relaxation and the power of our body, mind and yes…nervous system being in a relaxed, balanced state.

Recent research into the effects of chronic stress have taken huge precedence, and there is a lot of research proving it’s negative effects to our health and well-being.

Here’s the thing – if our nervous system is in a fight or flight response (a stress state) healing literally cannot take place. If you consider the stress response; this is a state your body goes into, very cleverly, to protect you in times of threat.

Our bodies are busy on high alert getting ready to run from the sabor-tooth tiger, there’s not time to worry about repairing and replenishing healthy body cells or imbalances, that won’t be important if we don’t literally ‘survive’ the next 30 mins. Very simply, imagine you are under attack, you need to act quickly to get away from the source of danger.

In this instance your body will shut down all functions in the body which aren’t vital in that moment, for example; digestive, reproductive, immune systems. These are all put to rest as they are not deemed essential for your imminent survival.

Instead your body gets ready for action; you breathing becomes fast, and shallow to get more oxygen to your muscles, adrenaline is released ready for fight or flight, your muscles become tense, think of your tense neck and shoulders as  a stressful day drags on.

But now in modern day life, we get stuck in this space and we operate and live a lot of our days from this ‘fight or flight’ space – and that’s a problem!

This is all very useful for a short term threat, but with the constant triggering of the stress response this can have detrimental effects on your long term health.

More often than not we get stuck in these patterns and our bodies literally forget how to relax even if we try too. Regular massage therapy is one of the best ways to start to reset our systems so that our natural state becomes the rest, relaxation and repair state resulting in a happier, healthier and all round better quality of life!


Massage & Bodywork Therapist