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Constant stress is one of the defining features of modern life, and the source of many common health problems. Stress plays an obvious role in nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia, but it is also thought to contribute to a vast number of other illnesses.
In the past, most people engaged in many hours of physical exercise daily, an activity that reduces the effects of psychological stress. Life was also slower then and more in harmony with the natural cycles of day and season. Today, however, our bodies are relatively sedentary, while our minds are forced to respond to the rapid pace of a society that never stops. The result is high levels of stress and reduced ability to cope with it.
There are several ways to mitigate the damage caused by stress. Increased physical exercise can help,...
Relaxation therapies are most commonly tried in medical circumstances in which stress is believed to play a particularly large role. These include insomnia , surgery , chronic pain, and cancer chemotherapy .
A very specific form of guided visualization (described below) has also been used in an attempt to actually treat cancer.
There are no known or proposed safety risks with relaxation therapies.