Stress Buster Products on the Market

The word ‘stress’ is generally referred to any factor that affects a person’s physical, physiological and emotional well being.  Medically it is defined as the sum of physical and mental responses to an unacceptable disparity between real or imagined personal experience and personal expectations [1].   Although it has been argued that normal levels of stress may be beneficial, its implications, especially on health, are many.

During stress, an important hormone, cortisol, is secreted by the adrenal glands. In childbirth, social bonding, and other situations the body naturally releases its own stress buster chemical,  oxytocin hormone, to reduce cortisol levels and facilitate the release of dopamine, which is responsible for a feeling of wellness and excitement [2].  This observation by medical professionals has inspired the marketing of a nasal spray oxytocin hormone, as a stress buster. Oxytocin is a peptide of nine amino acids (a nonapeptide). The sequence is cysteine – tyrosine – isoleucine – glutamine – asparagine – cysteine – proline – leucine – glycine (CYIQNCPLG). The cysteine residues form a sulfur bridge. Oxytocin has a molecular mass of 1007 daltons.  Synthetic oxytocin is sold under the trade names Pitocin and Syntocinon and also as generic Oxytocin.  It can be purchased online as OxyCalm™ and is marketed by OC International to help promote relaxation, improve mood and enhance inner peace and tranquility, and for quitting smoking. The cost is $24.94 for 2 oz of the product.

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Other products are aimed at counteracting the secondary health effects of stress rather than the chemical imbalance that initiates them. Once such product is the Deluxe Stress Buster Vitality and Exercise Machine which includes an integrated Neck massager, a Far Infared Ray illuminator integrated into the foot massager, and 6 Bio-Magnets integrated into a soft neck and foot rest. The goal of this product is to increase oxygen flow to tissues which is a side effect of stress, and may initiate biochemical imbalances that lead to poor health. This machine is inspired by the observation that the most effective way to acquire a sufficient amount of oxygen is to be in motion, since this stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and expands the bronchus to increase oxygen intake volume. Massage stimulation to the sympathetic nervous system using the machine should also open up the bronchioles to provide maximum oxygen access to the lungs, simultaneously the blood flow to and from the lungs is increased, enhancing oxygen exchange from the lungs to the blood and therefore to the body cells, to excite cellular metabolism. Another effect of this machine is Spinal Balancing.  With the body relaxed in the lying position with no weight on the spine, the massage unit will influence a correction to certain conditions of mis-alignment. Such corrective action can in turn cure or alleviate complications arising in the vertebral joints from certain spinal mis-alignment. The net result is an improvement in the person’s Immune System, since these procedures seem to stimulate immunoglobulin production which increases the immune system’s defense capacity, stimulates blood production, and rebalances the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. Without this, insomnia, excessive dreaming, digestive problems, stomach pain, palpitation, anxiety, constipation, neurasthenia and extensive forms of aches and pains as well as mental stress may surface. This product is available through online marketing for $299 from Tools for Wellness.

A more believable and practical product is Stress Buster ergonomic software. This is a break reminder software, designed to prevent Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and other computer related health problems such as carpel tunnel syndrome, tenosynovitis and tendinitis – often referred to as “upper limb disorders”, “musculoskeletal disorders”, “Occupational Overuse Syndrome” (OOS), computer related injuries, or “Cumulative Trauma Disorders”, or CTD [3-4]. Additionally, there is a condition known as diffuse Repetitive Strain Injury which is more difficult to define but which has also been attributed to nerve damage. The conditions are similar to sports injuries such as tennis elbow. Repetitive strain injuries have been documented for over 300 years, but their prevalence has exploded since the introduction of personal computers into the workplace in the 1970’s – initially without any thought given to ergonomic design. They are almost always occupational in origin. The condition can occur in upper and lower limbs and can also affect the spine in various areas, resulting in referred pain in the limbs. There are various symptoms including sharp pains, dull aches, numbness, tingling, weakness, loss of grip and restricted movement. These symptoms can often result in people being incapable of carrying out some of the simplest tasks, such as opening a jar, at home or in the workplace.

The software product runs quietly in the background of your computer, monitoring your activity and reminding you to take regular breaks. Key features include three levels of breaks: Short Pause, Short Break and Long Break, the ability to tailor the break timings to suit your own preferences and working environment, monitors your computer usage and advises breaks when they are necessary, shows a progress indicator for break time remaining , has a snooze or ignore breaks option, has an optional lock to enforce breaks, has the ability to associate breaks with sounds, runs automatically each time you log on to Windows, and includes a comprehensive help – including ergonomic advice. This product is marketed on line and to encourage purchases, and increase buyer confidence in the product, the buyer can download and try Stress Buster for free for 60 days.  Also included in the Stress Buster Kit are a Seminar Video of an actual Stress Buster presentation , the Stress Buster Seminar Workbook, the Stress Buster Journal, a Stress Ball , and 90 Days Free e-mail support. To increase the value of this product for the consumer these added materials aim to help the customer understand their reactions to stress, techniques to lower stress when faced with difficult people, how to evaluate stress creating expectations, how to use humor to relieve stress, how to clarify your personal, work, couple and family stresses, how to improve coping skills, and how to keep a Stress Buster journal and learn from it.  This product is available for only  $10 dollars from ThreadBuilder, a  Manchester UK, based company with over 20 years information technology experience in a wide variety of industry sectors from manufacturing through local government to banking, using a diverse selection of technologies such as Visual Basic, ActiveX, Com, Java, Oracle and SQL Server.