Indoor Tanning Offers More Than Just A Great Tan

In Moderate Doses, Stress Provokes You To Do Your Best At Daily Activities. unfortunately, Too Much Stress Can Have A Negative Effect On Your Work, Mood And even Your Physical Well-being. The Good News Is That A Typical Tanning Session at A Professional Tanning Facility Offers Many Of The Things An Expensive stress-reduction Program Does But At A Fraction Of The Cost And With A Golden gorgeous Tan.

Physical Effects Of Stress

our emotional and physical reactions to stress are partly determined by the sensitivity of your sympathetic nervous system. This is the same system that produces the "fight-or-flight reaction" in response to stress and excitement, speeding up and heightening the pulse rate, respiration, muscle tension, glandular function and circulation of the blood.

If you have an especially stressful life, your sympathetic nervous system may be poised to react to a crisis at any time, putting you in a state of constant tension. In this mode, you tend to react to small stresses the same way that you would react to real emergencies. The energy that accumulates in the body to meet this "emergency" must be released in order to bring your body back into balance.

Repeated episodes of the fight-or-flight reaction deplete your energy reserves and, if they continue, can cause a downward spiral that leads to emotional burnout and eventually complete exhaustion.

Stress-related symptoms vary from person to person. Typically, if you have a health problem or even a family predisposition to a certain disorder, that's where researchers say the stress-related symptoms are likely to occur.

Relaxation During The Tanning Session

Finding the time and place to practice relaxation techniques always has been a challenge for people trying to cope effectively with stress. An indoor tanning bed may be just the place to receive a dose of relaxation necessary for stress reduction.

The typical tanning session lasts anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the unit and tanning schedule, allowing for just enough time to escape the demands of everyday life while practicing relaxation techniques.

People with recurring symptoms of anxiety and nervous tension usually are barraged with a constant stream of negativity.

Throughout the day your conscious mind may be inundated with thoughts, feelings and fantasies that trigger upset emotions. Many of these thoughts replay unresolved issues of health, finances, or personal and work relationships.

This relentless mental replay of unresolved issues can reinforce the anxiety symptoms and be exhausting. A tanning session can create the perfect opportunity for you to quiet the mind. Therapists suggest several programs that can be adapted easily for use while building a golden tan.

Technique 1: Focusing. While tanning, visualize a small personal object that you like a great deal. It can be a piece of jewelry or as simple as a flower. Mentally focus all your attention on this object as you inhale and exhale slowly and deeply during the tanning session.

While you are doing this exercise, try not to let any other thoughts or feelings enter your mind. If they do, just return your attention to the object. At the end of this exercise you will feel more peaceful and calmer while establishing or maintaining your beautiful golden tan.

Technique 2: Meditation. Lie comfortably in the tanning bed. Breathe deeply, taking slow and relaxed breaths. Focus all your attention on your breathing. Pay close attention to the movement of your chest with each breath. Block out all other thoughts, feelings and sensations. If you feel your attention wandering, bring it back to your breathing. Continue this exercise until the end of your tanning session or until you feel very relaxed.

Warming Up To Relaxation

Anyone who has ever used an indoor tanning unit knows there is a certain level of heat generated by the unit. This heat is primarily a byproduct of the lamps that produce the tan-stimulating ultraviolet light. This same heat is also tied to the relaxing warmth a tanner experiences during the tanning session.

Apparently the word is out about the success of using heat to reduce physical and mental stress and boost relaxation. According to a National Spa and Pool Institute survey, Americans bought a record 300,000 hot tubs in 1999, and the numbers are expected to increase for 2000 and 2001.

The survey also showed that people between the ages of 45 and 54 accounted for the largest proportion of buyers and that they were looking to relieve aches and pains, reduce stress, relax, feel better and sleep better.

According to Cardiologist Paul Thompson, former president of the American College of Sports Medicine, the main benefit of heat is relaxation. "Heat also can help reduce stiffness of an old injury or relieve pain from conditions such as arthritis," he says.

To get the most out of your tanning session while practicing relaxation techniques, be sure to drink plenty of cool water before and after your tanning session to help reduce heat-related discomfort. Alcoholic beverages should be avoided because they can be dehydrating, as well as disorientating.

Stop And Smell The Roses

Another form of relaxation therapy that has taken the country by storm is aromatherapy. Some tanning beds now add to their therapeutic properties by offering fragrances designed to alter our moods for the better.

Alan Hirsch, a physician who is the neurological director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Institute in Chicago, has been studying the effects of odor on mood and behavior for 20 years. He says aromatherapy has tremendous potential.

The foundation has about 85 studies underway. Among the study results so far: The scent of green apple could help relieve migraine headaches.

If your tanning bed doesn't have aromatherapy, don't worry. If you're tanning indoors, you're no doubt using a great smelling indoor tanning lotion. Researchers at the Institute believe odors that you like tend to induce a positive mood. "When you smell a favorite scent, whatever it is that's bothering you will tend to bother you less--whether it's pain, panic or stress," says Hirsch.

Taking Time For Yourself

When you learn to use relaxation techniques in a warm tanning bed surrounded by your favorite scents, you're escaping from the everyday bombardment of stimulations and demands.

When you relax in a tanning bed, you have an opportunity to restore your energy and reduce the clutter in your mind. By relaxing, you also give the systems in your body a chance to slow down and work more efficiently, you increase your enjoyment of life, and you can focus on what's truly important to you and can maintain a sense of peace about yourself and life.

Because using relaxation techniques during tanning is something we can do for ourselves, it's usually the last thing we think about because our concern is generally about taking care of someone or something first.

In reality, we would do a much better job at helping others if we would focus more on meeting our own needs, including spending quality time in a warm, cozy tanning bed practicing relaxation techniques that lead to our overall well-being while building a beautiful golden tan.

The Following Are Some Common Ways Your Body Tells You It's under Too Much Stress.
Chronic Colds and Flu. If you get a cold every holiday or before a major presentation at work, added stress could be the reason.

Insomnia. If you go to bed with a problem on your mind, your body gives you another shot of adrenaline every time you think about it.

Headaches and Sore Muscles. The stress reaction--also known as "fight-or-flight"--puts your body in a state of red alert, with your muscles tensed to fight back.

Stomach Problems. Stress prompts secretions of stomach acid that can cause heartburn, stomach cramps and other digestive miseries.