WHAT IT IS
Stress is a word that Dr. Hans Seyle, an Austrian neuroendocrinologist who lived and worked in Canada, borrowed from physics in 1936 (in physics, this word means the effort or tension that a material undergoes when external forces act on it) and adapted this word to a “non specific response the body has to a negative stimulus.” In this response, there is the same essence itself of the human species, the mechanism through which man has always been able to quickly decide which way he should take in front of potential danger.In this case, our body, in a fraction of a second, prepares the muscles and the brain to work at their best, increasing the heart rate, accelerating the breathing rhythm, squeezing the suprarenal capsules and requiring the liver to enter the blood glucose and Beta endorphins. Immediately after, a decision is made and we will move ourselves away from danger. When we are safe, the entire body returns to its normal condition and, at that point, a sensation of tiredness is felt determined by the event: then we get some rest and we are ready to start again. This is a typical situation of positive stress with a consequent recovery. There are daily life situations that are perceived as inconvenient or discomforting: an unsatisfactory job, concerns for children, and an unsatisfactory unrewarding life are all causes of stress that, day after day, undermine our body without leaving us the “time to recover”. This reaction damages the body.
The consequences on the body can also be serious. Physical disturbances (such as chronic tiredness, loss of appetite, heartburns or headache), up to real alternations of the immune system and a higher inclination to catch an infectious disease or, even worse, cancer. If we don’t yet have scientific proof of these “disasters due to stress,” the doctors practically know that a stressed patient will get ill more easily. Nowadays, there is a new specialization in medicine with a difficult, but meaningful, name: psycho-neuro-endocrino-immunology (PNEI) which studies this phenomenon and tries to understand the relationships between the psyche and body and mutual risks.
A few studies published on international journals have demonstrated that there is an increase of endorphins in subjects undergoing thermal treatments; endorphins naturally present in our body have a function that is not well known yet that is why they are an interesting topic for neurology and psychiatry. The increase of substances that intervenes in the neurotransmission and in the perception of pain, such as endorphins, can be one of the signals of an anti-stress effect.
AT THE SPAS
The published studies have demonstrated that beta endorphins increase with level remaining high over time due to mud therapy. Furthermore, it is a perfect anti-stress treatment, the combination between thermal water, present in the numberless spa swimming-pools and relaxation centers (at the Euganean spas, the selection is really peerless) and the relaxing environment of the spas where all sources of stress are kept away or avoided. Bath therapy, hydrokinesitherapy or simple immersions in thermal water can be a moment of relaxation with beneficial effects on the body. We recommend taking a break and spending a weekend, at least monthly, at the spa to be pampered with relaxing massages, bath or hydrotherapy, healthy food and opportunity to forget daily problems. This short stay might not have the effects on the traditional pathologies treated with thermal treatments, but it can be useful to fight the negative effects of stress.