Therefore, it is vitally important to not only reduce but to control the effects that chronic stress has on our lives on a day to day basis. Stress affects both our physical, emotional and spiritual health. More importantly, stress can hamper our body's ability to fight infections, slow down digestion, and cause damage to our cardiovascular system as well. Even everyday occurrences such as asthma and headaches are either brought on or made worse by stress that we experience.
A new study, however, proves that papering yourself can lead to an improvement in your overall health. The easiest way to pamper yourself is to visit a day spa or salon in your area.
Unlike salons, day spas offer a wider variety of services to truly pamper you with. Neck massages, whole body massages, Reiki, Reflexology, Aromatherapy, body wraps, and body scrubs are some of the services that are offered in the majority of day spas throughout the world.
Salons, on the other hand, usually only offer haircuts, pedicures, manicures and facials.
However, the overall experience of receiving any type of service, at either a day spa or a salon, is one of pure relaxation and self indulgence, which, in turn, helps to lower your stress level.
The coordinator at the Michigan day spa, Crown Jewel Spa and Salon, Nikki Markle, explains that, "Most people, after they come, are extremely relaxed. They feel rejuvenated and refreshed."
Even stay at home or work from home mothers and retirees can benefit from attending a day spa, as the environment is drastically different to what they experience in their own homes. Most day spas include heated beds, imported cotton towels and robes, luxurious oils, fragrant lotions - all things that most people do not own in their own home. Other day spas offer jetted hydrotherapy tubs or showers with multiple massaging spray heads and even cappuccinos, smoothies and other exotic drinks.
A frequent client at the Crown Jewel Spa and Salon, Michelle Glower, says, "The ambience, the atmosphere is so quiet, so soothing. It is just so serene. I'm addicted."
A trip to a day spa has quickly become a part of the wedding process in order to help alleviate some of the stress that bride and her ensemble may be experiencing. Bridal consultants meet with the brides to plan out every detailed service that require for themselves and their bridesmaids - right down to what name brand bottle of champagne that they would like served to them.
For those who are extremely stressed out, aromatherapy massage usually does the trick!
"This is not your normal feel-good massage," says Tamsen Bolt, who has been a client at Holistic Care Approach in Grand Rapids for many years. "This is therapeutic body work for really releasing tension. Aromatherapy is an added element that helps the body relax."
Owner of Holistic Care Approach, and also a registered nurse, Barb Meconis, explains that essential oils have the potential to eliminate harmful germs in the environment and that they are the essence of all types of holistic healing.
"People come in with headaches all the time and get great relief from aromatherapy," she says.
In fact, the recent swine flu scare caused her to be inundated with requests for her antibacterial, antiviral oils. Meconis says that combining certain oils "will not only boost your immunity, if you diffuse it, it will kill the germs within the environment."
And even in these tough economic times, Meconis' aromatherapy business still remains strong:
"Even in this tough economy, people realize they have to take care of themselves," she says.
Administrator for Grand Rapids Public Schools, Mayda Gunnell, agrees: "It's just a way of pampering yourself and feeling relaxed and stress-free when you leave. It's worth the money."
Gunnell allows herself to be pampered with massages, facials, manicures, and pedicures as often as possible.
If affording a visit to a day spa or salon is not within your budget, there are a few things that you can try at home to pamper yourself and improve your health.
An old-time favorite is to light some scented candles or dim the lights, and relax in a soothing bubble bath whilst listening to some soft music playing in the background.
Other options are taking a quiet drive or walk through the nearby countryside or reading a new and exciting book.Even practicing daily meditations can help to improve the Zen quality of your life.
But these stress busting options aren't only for women. In fact, having a couples' massage together will help you both relax at the same time.
Photo Credit: Dennis Wong