Our lives are stressful. No more free refills at the Flying M, the days are too hot than rainy and gloomy, too much run around and not enough A/C.
We need to chill.
But seriously, too often we are activated, on edge and living in a state of stress. The part on your body that helps you survive a bear attack (or a bout of road rage) is called your sympathetic nervous system.
Your sympathetic nervous system elevates your heart, speeds up your breathing, dilates your pupils and sends a rush of adrenaline through your body. In other words, you are on high alert. Sometimes we use the phrase "fight or flight" to describe this physiological response. We are only supposed to utilize this system 25% of the time.
On the opposite side of this autonomic coin is your parasympathetic nervous system. The lesser known state called "rest and digest." This underutilized system has the opposite function, breathing and heart rate slow down, food is digested and absorbed at the cellular level. This is the state of zen you can achieve when you eat four tacos then take a nap on a beach. Or when you get a massage.
Massage stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system and brings you into a state of relaxation. When you operate from this state you are less reactionary, feel more at ease and better able to handle the daily stress load called life. In a relaxed state your body has the energy to focus on tissue repair, nutrient absorption and waste management. Basically all the functions that get shut down whenever you need to run from bears.
Stress is a killer. But you can support life in your body and calm in your mind with regular massage. Spend your summer in the parasympathetic. Spend it (or at least an hour of it) at Indian Creek.