(Warning: I use footnotes, which I haven’t done since college!)

Have you ever participated in role playing games? RPG’s? Think Dungeons and Dragons. If you have, you may be familiar with character that have immunity to…I don’t know…magic swords or something. I don’t know, I only played one time and nearly fell asleep because we started at 11 pm after an already long day.

Point being that immunity is important in the game so your character doesn’t get knocked off in the first epic (pretend) battle. Pretend, of course, unless you are LARPing (Live Action Role Playing).

Oh dear. I’ve probably lost my non-nerd friends and they’re thinking about their next Starbucks Soy Latte.

Well, let’s talk about what everyone – I mean EVERYONE – is talking about…COVID-19.

Me too, Capt. Me too.

I’m not going to talk about how to wash your hands or anything like that. I want to talk to you about your reaction to all that’s going on.

Are you feeling stressed about it? Like…overly stressed. You didn’t get toilet paper before people went bonkers and bought up every sheet and now you have a half a roll left. Your kids are going to be home with you for the next two weeks. At least.

I imagine there is some stress in this situation. But be careful you don’t get too stressed.

Research in the 60’s& 70’s show “convincing evidence that the central nervous system (CNS) interacts with the endocrine and immune systems and that these interactions are bi-directional,”[1] with stress being a focal point for it causing “dysregulation” of the immune system.

Other researchers in the 80’s and 90’s found that medical “students’ immunity went down every year under the simple stress of the three-day exam period.”[2]

Folks, I don’t know about you, but with this COVID-19 thing around, between a regular schedule being disrupted and the pandemonium because of products flying off grocery store shelves, I’m a bit stressed…but we all don’t need our immune systems compromised any more than they already are.

Thought I was a germophobe before….Ha!

How to reduce your stress? Let’s talk about a few ways, other than what WebMD has to say about it. [3]  Of course there are more ways, but I’ll just go over three to keep it simple.

Breathe. Diamond Dallas Page says, if you can control your breath, you can control your life. “When we take deep, long, slow breaths, we can actually stop the “fight or flight” portion of our nervous system (called the sympathetic nervous system) from overreacting to different types of stress.”[4]

Meditate. “Meditation can wipe away the day’s stress, bringing with it inner peace.”[5]

Get a Massage! Of course I’m going to say this! Unless you’re one of those people who doesn’t like to be touched, getting a massage can go a long way in calming your Sympathetic Nervous System (fight or flight) and can activate your Parasympathetic Nervous System (rest and digest)…which can reduce your stress level!

Choose wisely

If you don’t have a massage therapist, and you’re in the Frederick, MD area, I would love to set up your first appointment. If you are not in the Frederick area, check out https://www.amtamassage.org/findamassage/index.html to find a local massage therapist who would love to help you reduce that stress.

I know that “they” are recommending “social distancing” to reduce spread of this virus. Please know that licensed massage therapists have been trained in Universal Precautions. Which basically means good practices of sanitation, washing their hands, and linens are changed after every massage, and basically are germophobes.

Let massage earn your immunity points!

Stay safe and healthy my friends!

[1] http://www.discoverymedicine.com/Ronald-Glaser/2009/07/18/stress-damages-immune-system-and-health/

[2] https://www.apa.org/research/action/immune

[3] https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-management

[4] https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/142914.Diamond_Dallas_Page

[5] https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858