The folks are Rennie got in touch with me recently to share some super interesting info about how people around the world cope with stress in different ways. Now, as we all know, I am a big fan of discovering new ways to improve our wellbeing, so I was intrigued to see what they found.
Rennie knows that stress can be a cause of heartburn and indigestion, so it makes sense to look at different ways to relax to help.
RELAXATION TECHNIQUES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
INDIA – MEDITATION AND YOGA
Meditation and yoga are great for spiritual and stress-reducing benefits. But they’re also known to be equally effective on a cellular level in your body. People practising yoga and meditation show fewer signs of inflammation, including a decrease in inflammatory proteins.
Furthermore, meditation and yoga help with attention, memory and creativity. And even show a slowing of age-related shrinkage of the brain.
FRANCE – ENJOYING A GLASS OF WINE AND SIDES
The French are known for relaxing with a petit aperitif after a stressful day. This includes a small glass of wine with a side snack of cashews or bread and olives. Wine is a relaxant, but more importantly this little ritual is a great way to wind down after a stressful day.
JAPAN – HOT SPRING BATHS
The area around Mount Fuji in Japan is filled with natural hot spings which contain minerals and elements. It’s thoughts the minerals could have health benefits, but just the hot baths can help remove lactic acid from muscles more efficiently, helping you recover from exercise and feel relaxed.
WEST AFRICA – GROUP DRUMMING
Group drumming has been shown to improve mood and decrease stress, with some folks believing that it can also strengthen the immune system.
African djembe drums are almost always found beside bongos and congas in modern drum circles, but in West Africa, the djembe drummer is usually a solo storyteller who sets the rhythm and structure for a celebratory dance.
Drumming creates a sense of unity with other drummers, helps sharp concentration, and offers an appreciation for a different culture.
GREECE – QUIET TIME
In Greece the word “mesimeri” means midday and describes the time between 2 -5 pm, but it also has another meaning: quiet time. Mesimeri basically means it’s time to be quiet and take a nap.
Until 30 years ago most people worked until 2 or 3 pm and the nap was part of the daily routine. Today there is still evidence of this healthy habit even in big cities. Stores close for mesimeri and re-open later in the afternoon.
There is even a law defining 3-5pm as a period of quiet time. During these official quiet hours you are not allowed to have loud music or make noise. Roadwork, construction or other kinds of work also cease in respect to this long-standing ritual.
THAILAND – A THAI MASSAGE
Thai massage is a science in Thailand and Thai people consider it an essential part of your wellbeing routine. It’s a rigorous massage often using the knees and elbows of the masseuse to apply pressure.
By stimulating pressure receptors the body releases serotonin which is a natural antidepressant. Thai massage also boosts blood circulation, reduces stress, and calms the nervous system.
BRAZIL – ACTIVE MEDITATIVE RELAXING CAPOEIRA
Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music. It’s can be enjoyed as a aerobic workout to express joy, happiness and strength.
AUSTRALASIA – PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION
Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups throughout your body.
When you’re feeling stressed, anxious or suffering from an anxiety disorder, you often develop really tight muscles. Learning how to relax your muscles properly can reverse this. This is a common type of relaxation training, and works best if practiced regularly.
I have tried a few of the relaxation techniques detailed above both at home and on my travels. I have practiced yoga and meditation as founded in India, both at home and at local classes. I have had some pretty vigorous Thai massage on my travels to Thailand, including one that fixed my back problem. I’ve enjoyed afternoon quiet time as prescribed in Greece. And I have enjoyed hot thermal spring baths on my trips to spas.
I don’t know if I could pick a favourite. In my opinion, a healthy wellbeing regime should include several techniques to help you relax. It’s a case of trying them all out and figuring out what works best for you and your lifestyle.
WHAT IS ACID REFLUX?
Acid reflux is the reverse passage of gastric contents into the oesophagus (‘food pipe’) which can cause heartburn. The terms are often used interchangeably, but acid reflux is the actual action of part of the stomach contents traveling back up the oesophagus (sometimes into the throat and even into the mouth), while heartburn is the uncomfortable feeling as a result of that action.
SOME FACTS ABOUT ACID REFLUX
Eating late or at irregular times may cause acid reflux
Eating spicy or citric foods can cause acid reflux, and as a result heartburn & indigestion
Drinking too much caffeine or alcohol may have the same effect
Stress can trigger acid reflux, and therefore heartburn & indigestion
Acid reflux can be pain free but it can cause other symptoms such as hiccups, bad breath, cramps, nausea