Holistic Massage School Shares How Stress Affects the Body


“At Healing Hands School of Holistic Health (HH), every member of our faculty is a Certified Massage Therapist familiar with the physical, emotional and mental benefits of Therapeutic Massage”, said Paula Curtiss, Founding Director.  “We have all witnessed the negative impact stress has on our clients and have seen how their body’s resistance to stress caused problems and made them vulnerable to disease.  An important part of our job is to help clients understand how stress impacts their lives, and encourage them to use holistic practices, such as Massage, to counter its negative effects”, she added.

Anatomy for Bodyworkers is a 100-hour course and pre-requisite for HH’s Massage Therapist and Holistic Health Practitioner Programs. It greatly increases the student’s knowledge of anatomical terms and concepts. Instructors take them on a detailed exploration of individual Body Systems, the interaction between Systems, and how they respond to chronic stress.  Below is a list of a few of these Systems and what students learn about how stress leaves its mark:

Musculoskeletal System: When the body is under stress, our muscle tension automatically increases.  Chronic tension patterns may force the body to adapt, creating postural imbalances like tight, rounded shoulders, neck stiffness, and range-of-motion restrictions.

Cardiovascular System: Stress elevates blood pressure and can keep it there, putting chronic stress on veins and arteries.  Stress can also aggravate and even trigger diseases such as Coronary Heart Disease, Ischemic Cardiopathy, Angina and others.

Nervous System: Our Autonomic Nervous System includes a sympathetic nervous system or ‘fight or flight’ response, as well as our parasympathetic nervous system or, ‘relaxation response’. Stress often plays an important role in depression and a variety of mood disorders. While anxiety is a normal response to elevated stress, prolonged stress can lead to the development of extreme anxiety, causing chemical changes that induce panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders or social anxiety disorders.

Endocrine system: Our endocrine system is responsible for manufacturing powerful hormones that help regulate many of our body’s functions and feelings.  When dealing with chronic stress, the Adrenal glands will initially increase the production of stress hormones which increases feelings of anxiety, causes weight gain, sleep disturbances, and digestive problems.  If stressors continue, the Adrenal glands go into a state of maladaptation where they slow down, causing fluid retention, fatigue, lower sex drive and hair loss. The third stage, Adrenal exhaustion, is associated with depression, joint pain, panic attacks, thyroid disorders, severe constipation and Fibromyalgia.

Integumentary System (Skin): Stress exacerbates several skin disorders like Atopic Dermatitis, Psoriasis, and Neuro-dermatitis, a skin disorder that causes severe itching.  In addition, stress is responsible for several forms of hair loss.

Immune System: Stress can make people more susceptible to catching common illnesses, such as colds and flus, and impairs the body’s inflammatory response.  Inflammatory conditions such as autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular issues and rheumatologic illnesses, are all negatively impacted by chronic stress.

An enjoyable, nurturing and proven stress-management activity, massage not only helps the body return to normal after trauma, it also helps speed healing after over-use, injury or accident. When incorporated into a regular holistic wellness plan, massage can facilitate postural re-alignment, improve clarity and emotional balance, and promote optimal physical health and wellness from the inside out! 

HH has been serving residents from two regional campuses in Escondido and Laguna Hills, with a third location opening in San Diego on March 19th.  Since 1992, HH’s top-notch Faculty have prepared more than 7,000 students for successful careers in Massage Therapy and Holistic Health and can do the same for you.  To learn more, visit us online at www.HealingHandsSchool.com or call us at (760) 746-9364/ Escondido or (949) 305-2722 /Laguna Hills.

Healing Hands School of Holistic Health

“Touching Lives – Touching Hearts”