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Can Work Be Relaxing?

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Chiropractic Care and Stress Reduction

If we're alive, we have stress. That much is a given. In fact, we are well-designed to cope with stress, but these ancient mechanisms can often go awry. Just as allergies and other hypersensitivity reactions represent extreme responses of normal physiological processes, the high levels of stress many of us experience on a daily basis represent abnormal responses of our built-in fight-or-flight mechanisms.

Stress is normal, but daily ongoing internal stress is abnormal. Chiropractic care can often provide substantial help, by reducing or eliminating extra sources of stress in our bodies. For example, restricted spinal joint mobility can lead to high levels of physiologic stress in muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support the joints. Stress in these soft tissues causes build-up of metabolic toxins and drains resources, such as oxygen and nutrients, that are needed elsewhere. These physiologic stresses create a vicious cycle of increasing stress in many areas of the body. Mechanical stress leads to mental stress, and mental stress leads to more muscle tension and even pain.

Chiropractic care directly addresses the spinal source of much physiologic stress. The result is a body that works more efficiently and more effectively. The result is increased health, happiness, and well-being.

Not too many people would agree that "oh, yeah, my work is relaxing". For most of us, work involves plenty of stress. If we're in customer service, there's always a seemingly never-ending stream of customers with an abundance of problems that need to be handled yesterday. If we work in an office, office politics adds an unnecessary layer of stress to the normal daily stress of the work we're supposed to be doing. If we work for ourselves, there's the ongoing stress of lining up the next contract, even while we're dealing with the pressures involved in fulfilling the demands of the current project. And on and on.

If we work at a computer there are additional physiological stresses. Our bodies were not designed for prolonged sitting, nor were they designed for staring a computer screen for hours at a time. The highly complex and highly delicate structures of our forearms, wrists, and hands were not meant to be used for typing on a keyboard. Anyone can type for 15 minutes - that's not a problem. But typing for most of the day, day after day, week after week - that's definitely a problem.

These few work scenarios are common. We can recognize ourselves in the descriptions. No one would describe such circumstances as relaxing. But this is how we live. How can we turn what might be thought of as "lemons" into lemonade? Are there tactics we can employ in an overall strategy of causing our lives to be healthy, satisfying, and meaningful, as well as fun and relaxing?

The answer is a resounding "yes". But there is effort involved. We need to be creative and willing to take action on our own behalf. First, it's important to acknowledge the conundrum each of us faces every day. We are required to work to obtain food, shelter, and clothing for ourselves and our families. But the work that we're doing may not be our first choice. Or the second choice. Or sometimes even the third. Still, there it is. We need to work. This is where the creativity comes in.

Our work environment and/or our work itself may never be relaxing. However, we can actively choose to be relaxed. This is an ongoing process and occurs in the moment. For example, you can affirm "I am relaxed. My work is fulfilling and satisfying." And then, pretty soon, something happens to which you respond with tension. As soon as you come back to yourself and remember that you want to be creating a relaxing environment, you reaffirm your intention. This is very much like Zen or other practices which focus on centering. In Zen, the student is reminded to pay attention, to believe nothing, and that nothing is personal.

These powerful reminders can help us greatly in our intention to have our work be relaxing.1,2,3 The key is to take on the concept of practice. We are practicing centering. We are practicing self-awareness. We are practicing relaxing. And as we practice these things, our overall experience is one of being centered, relaxed, and self-aware, regardless of all the things that are going on around us.

1Chiesa A, Malinowski P: Mindfulness-based approaches: are they all the same? J Clin Psychol 67(4):404:424, 2011
2Zeidan F, et al: Brain mechanisms supporting the modulation of pain by mindfulness meditation. J Neurosci 31(14):5540-5548, 2011
3Ledesma D, Kumano H: Mindfulness-based stress reduction and cancer: a meta-analysis. Psychooncology 18(6):571-579, 2009

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Testimonial

I was referred to Heartwood Holistic by some friends. Their exact words were, "Dr. Drew is amazing! And Debbie at the front desk is wonderful!" They were right! At most doctor's offices you go in for the initial visit and fill out pages of paper work only to be asked those questions again once you get seen by the physician. Not so here. Dr. Drew zeroed in on what was ailing me and presented a plan of action by the end of my first visit. I've been a regular and don't plan on changing up anytime soon. I look forward to my visits there 1.) for the relief 2.) the staff. Everyone is so friendly and they actually care about your wellness. Alexis is a special treat! She is very committed to her craft and just a wonderful person. Ask her for the Moxa and just relax on her amethyst heating pad. Dreamy!! You can't go wrong here. Looking forward to my Rolfing session with Aaron. Thank you, HHH family!

Ashley D,  August 2017


I am so thrilled to have come across this little gem of a place! I had the pleasure of meeting this beautiful couple this past week and was able to get in to the clinic for a chiropractic adjustment. I currently live about an hour away from the wellness center, but I'll be making the drive just to see them for my health needs. Dr. Drew was so attentive and thorough. He really listened to me and we discussed what I was accustomed to as far as treatment goes. He takes careful time with each client and truly cares about your health. After 15 years of visiting many different chiropractic doctors, I can quickly get a read on the type of care I'll receive. I immediately felt at ease and confident with him. I was able to chat with his lovely wife, Alexis, as well and am anxious to set up an appointment with her. This is no ordinary wellness center. They offer so many options for treating a vast amount of health challenges. They see and treat the body as a whole, which is the only way to find true health.

Kari P, February 2017

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