We are now running around in a fast-paced world that still filled with weary, confused people who seem to have missed out on the benefits of science, technology and the million and one gadgets that promised to bring easy living.

It has become all too common to hear of people complaining about feeing harassed or stressed out because of the challenges everyday life. Stress affects people from all walks of life. From the plain housewife whose is trying to balance household chores, taking care of the children and being a loving wife to her husband…to the Sales Manager overseeing a group of sales agents while trying to meet the daily sales quota…to the ever-busy executive who burns the midnight oil just to finish the product presentation in time for the deadline…to the student cramming up for the exams and tons of other schoolwork.

There are a lot of other reasons why we all come under stress. The Age of E-mails, Cellular Phones, and Microwave has not, so it seems, ushered a new time of relaxation. Like our forebears, we 21st century homo sapiens still grapple with the issues of death in the family, marital separation, lingering illness, a loss of a job, financial troubles, getting pregnant, even divorce, and a whole lot of other human woes.

Stress and Anxiety has been a constant companion of just about every ordinary executive, laborer or employee who meets pressures and demands from all sides. Being at work and being at home equally pose different degrees of challenges that try even the most patient of persons. The truly hassled people tend to lose sleep and their appetite with it. Trying to meet office and family obligations has become like a juggling act using razor-sharp knives. Fixing a busy, full schedule is now a modern tale of failure for most urban professionals and managers. The whole business of living has become like a roller coaster ride where situations become so overwhelming that we are left with no choice other than to accept that we are not in control.

Events that provoke stress are called stressors. Stress and anxiety results from the volume of dizzying interactions we need to make with different people every single day. The demanding work and home enviroments have pushed many to seek many ways and means to control stress and anxiety.

It is no wonder that stress management is now an everyday, household word. But more and more people are not just using the term as a catchy phrase. It is, for many people, a mantra for self-help and health. More and more people are turning to alternative ways to cope with the stress and number have found rest and solace inside the spa. Spa treatments are no longer the same as the saunas of yesteryear. Presnt-day spas are more hip and trendy, catering to the tired executive and hurried employee’s craving for serenity and a little tender loving care.

Stress management involves taking a spa and getting a massage. But instead of just relying on the good old mint-scented liniment and the massage, people today demand excellent facilities that incorporate the calming designs of Zen and the soothing scents of chamomile and a host of other aromatic scents. A 2006 survey made by the International Spa Association (ISPA) show that most Americans, or about 57 million people, have had at least one visit to the spa to calm down frayed nerves and get a much-needed therapeutic touch.

These days, a trip to the spa is no longer a luxury but a necessity to maintain one’s health. Pampering one’s self is a means to release tension. Getting a full body massage is a way to help the body and the mind to relax. A tired soul can always go for the traditional body massage, the Swedish variant, or the Japanese shiatsu method — to get those muscles, joints and spine all rubbed and lined up for health. Spas are no longer just places to break up a sweat. These health salons are now the fastest growing businesses that promote stress management, offering a wide range of services from foot spas, body scrubs, to vegetarian diets. Recently, another innovation in stress management was introduced with the opening of the so-called hydrotherapy centers, where water itself is used as a massage tool.

Whatever method or technique, so long as people find life to be a source of stress, the business of massage, spa, and other health-promoting regimen will continue to be good businesses and viable alternative treatments.

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