Because our stress response is all about being able to run away or fight our way out of a stressful situation (think evolution: a hungry lion is heading your way!), our stress hormones are geared toward activating the blood vessels and muscles designed for this task. The muscles of our hips, the gluteals, piriformis, and hamstrings are the muscles of running, and these are targets for adrenaline. The muscles of our neck and shoulder girdle, the trapezius, scalenes, and deltoids to name a few, are also running muscles, and of course are involved in fighting.
All this energy is produced to prepare us to run and fight, and of course, mostly what we do is sit and stay at our computers, phones, and car wheels and mutter to ourselves. Where does this energy and built up hormone production go? Nowhere. It stays in the muscles, slowly dissipating, but mainly just building up, creating more and more muscle tension.
From a Chinese Medical perspective, the effect of excessive stress or pressure on our Qi, our vital energy, creates blockages in the pathways that form a network throughout our body. Where the Qi cannot flow, a pooling, or stagnation is created, which creates pain in the channel and associated tissues surrounding the area. Over time, this Qi stagnation also begins to create Blood stagnation, so that the Blood cannot properly flow and nourish the muscles and sinews. Here, we have muscles that are chronically stiff and sore, and have a feeling of permanent hardness that doesn’t go away easily when we massage it ourselves.
This, combined with the repetitive movements and positions we put ourselves in during our every day life, leads to a lot of muscular aches and pains which bring people to our clinic to seek relief through Acupuncture or Massage.