High cortisol levels in the body lead to weight gain in the midsection along with a variety of other metabolic changes which lower the immune system and stress the cardiovascular system, putting a low level but constant stress on the body over long periods of time. When stress is short term, we recover physically and move on with our lives, but when stress is long term, it begins to take its toll on our bodies. The constant high levels of cortisol in the body causes inflammation, which eventually affects the heart and blood vessels bringing on high blood pressure, hypertension and, eventually, heart disease.
Options to Reduce Stress
There are several ways of reducing stress and, therefore, cortisol in the body – including meditation, learning coping skills, a strong social network of support, exercise and, of course, massage therapy. Massage therapy has been shown to reduce the overall effects of stress on the body and bring about a feeling of emotional well-being. This makes it a powerful tool in the fight against stress and tension.