Stress by Numbers

By Katie Tallent

Have you ever had a pain in the neck?  We all have those moments in life, the change of a job, loss of a loved one or birth, moving.  Even when we experience positive changes they can still cause mental and emotional stress.  The stress of a particular task or person or event can manifest in our bodies leaving us with discomfort and downright pain.

Making time for a massage is my number one choice to loose the weight that piles upon my metaphorical shoulders.  It should be for you as well!  Massage therapy is growing by leaps and bounds reaching an all time high $11 billion industry.  As we begin to understand the benefits to their health and well-being, people are turning more and more to intentional touch for relief and less to medication. In fact, 88% of individuals say they view massage as beneficial to overall health and wellness and is effective in reducing pain.

Finding Out Your Stress:

 1.  Grab and Pen and Paper

2.  Use the Table below from the Holmes and Rahe stress scale

3.  Write Down the number value for each event

4.  Add all the numbers together with a calculator or dust off those math skills

Here’s a list of some of life’s top stressors listed in the Holmes and Rahe stress scale:

The Holmes and Rahe method gives a simple mathematical way of determining your risk of illness based on the stresses your body may be harboring.

 5.  Compare your Total score to list below and see if you are in a higher danger of stress induced illness.

 Score of 300+: At risk of illness.

Score of 150-299: Risk of illness is moderate (reduced by 30% from the above risk).

Score <150: Only have a slight risk of illness.

Symptoms that life events might be inducing illness

  1. reasoning and memory
  2. narrowing of blood vessels causing blood pressure to soar
  3. bruxism (also known as grinding teeth) and TMJ
  4. depression as cortisol suppresses neurotransmission in the brain
  5. insomnia
  6. weakened immune system and infections
  7. increased risk of diseases such as liver disease, lymphomas and certain cancers

So while we can all claim numerous stressors listed in the H and R scale, we ALSO have the ability to reduce the long term effects on our own bodies.  We CAN take back control over our bodies by lowering blood pressure, boosting our immune system, and fighting insomnia.  And as therapists it is deeply fulfilling to extend our skill and knowledge to help our fellow man and woman experience a life exempt from pain and illness.

Here are some other stress busting techniques you may employ between sessions:

  1. “I like to move it, move it!” Along with helping your bodily systems work together, exercise releases endorphins which are the body’s natural pain killer and mood booster.
  2. Laugh it off!  Laughter is the best medicine to blow off fatigue.
  3. Hugs-n-kisses! Hugging is known for its blood pressure lowering effects while kissing releases chemicals that ease hormones associated with stress such as cortisol.  Forming positive relationships has wondrous effects on reducing anxiety.
  4. Get your hands dirty!  Dive into some paint or clay.  Art therapy can take you into a meditative state while you are engaged in creating a masterpiece.


Share with us what your Holmes and Rahe number is & what your stress busting methods are going to be!


Holmes and Rahe Scale

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