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New York Wedding Magazine-- July 1996

Stress Management for New York Brides

How to relax and enjoy your engagement.

Allison knew that it was going to be a challenge to arrange a wedding for 150 people while she and her fiance worked at their very demanding careers. But she was not prepared for how stressful her engagement really would be. "I knew it would be busy," she said, "but I thought it would be a fun kind of busy, and only parts of it were like that. A lot of it was just exhausting and tense." What should be a happy and upbeat time -- the engagement period -- is all too often marred by stress that comes from wedding-related financial concerns, family matters and simply having too much to do.

For many people, nothing can relieve tension like a massage. According to Licensed Massage Therapist Rosann Alfieri, of The New York Massage Company, the best time to start massage therapy in order to arrive at your wedding day feeling relaxed and energetic is three to six months before the wedding. These months before the wedding will give the therapist a chance to become familiar with the bride's tension points, the way that she holds tension in her body and which types of massage work best. Alfieri points out that many couples who themselves enjoy the benefits of massage will present their wedding party with massage gift certificates (just deciding the simple act of choosing gifts for the wedding party reduces stress!) or even treat the wedding party to massages on the wedding morning.

Alfieri also coaches the bride on how to relax herself on the wedding day itself, right before she walks down the aisle. She teaches the Five Methods of Relaxation, which include the following:

The Sea of Tranquillity involves putting the palms together and pressing the backs of the thumbs against the breastbone, gently applying pressure to the heart level.

The Gentle Ear Pull is based on the understanding that the ears, like the feet, are a "map of the body," and manipulation will affect other areas. Pull down and out on the ear, and gently massage.

For the Eye Point, place the index fingers between the brows where your nose meets your forehead and apply gentle pressure.

The Shoulder Well is done by placing the fingertips at the tops of the shoulders, where pressure tends to build. Then, tilt your head back and inhale, and lower your head to exhale.

Joining the Valley should not be performed by pregnant women because it can cause the uterus to contract. The thumb and the finger of the right hand are placed on the flesh between the thumb and the index finger of the left, and gentle pressure is applied.

All of these techniques should relieve tension when performed correctly. According to Alfieri, some methods will work better than others for each individual.

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