Chewing Gum – The Everyday Stress Relief Therapy
Did you know that the seemingly mundane (and sometimes annoying) act of chewing a gum has been the object of scientific study for more than eighty years? Believe it or not, scientists see much more in chewing gum than just a means to keep plaque-free teeth and fresh breath. One of the more recent scientific avenues stemming from chewing gum is stress relief. Studies have shown that chewing gum happens to be an effective stress relief ‘therapy,’ and one which countless individuals already take part in on a daily basis.
The research on a correlation between chewing gum and reducing stress levels has been conducted in laboratory, epidemiological, and real-life environments, and the results are quite concrete and clear – it works! Although there are some exceptions to the rule, these are statistically and scientifically insignificant at this point.
Chewing gum in stressful situations
Have you ever noticed how sports coaches, footballers, and other athletes tend to furiously chew on a piece of gum during games? Members of the emergency services and police have also been seen working those jaw muscles in critical situations. So what’s going on here, you might ask?
Well, stress happens to be a major issue for many sections of society. Dealing with stress on a daily basis takes its toll on the mind and body. People who live a stressful lifestyle actively seek means to fight the symptoms and effects of stress.
During a stressful situation, turning to gum is the preferred option for many individuals. This comes as no surprise as many of the immediate physical effects of stress (jaw clenching, teeth grinding, dry mouth, facial muscle twitches, etc.) are cancelled out by chewing gum.
Chewing gum is by no means the only way to mitigate daily stress. You might choose stress relief supplements instead, while others go for yoga or essential oil treatments in combination with natural stress relief therapies. Whichever is your preferred way of alleviating stress, always consult with your doctor or dietitian before committing to a specific therapy or treatment. Bodymune wishes to advise people living high-pressure lifestyles that prolonged exposure to stress can damage a person both mentally and physically. If you are experiencing stress symptoms on a regular basis, take measures to combat this; there is plenty you can do.
Gum vs Stress – the research
In order to confirm the positive correlation between chewing gum and reducing stress levels, individuals who took part in one of the studies were asked to perform a number of mental, physical, and emotional activities specially created to induce high levels of stress. These were all performed simultaneously (or one after the other) in order for the individuals to experience peak levels of stress caused by multiple sources.
What did the results show? You guessed it – people who were chewing gum throughout the experiment outperformed those who weren’t chewing gum while going through their tasks. Biological manifestations of stress, such as muscle twitches, shaking/trembling, sweating, increased body temperature, etc., were also lessened to a degree among ‘chewing group’ members.
Another experiment used the TSST (Trier Social Stress Task) system to confirm a positive correlation. Not sure what that is? Don’t worry, it’s just a scientific way of saying participants had to do a 5-minute public speech and mentally solve a math problem at the same time. Again, results showed that those chewing gum during the exercise reported feeling less stressed, their biological read outs confirmed it, and their overall performance was better than that of non-chewers.
Perhaps anxiety is the only form of stress that isn’t positively affected by chewing gum. Anxiety is different to stress, so this is to be expected.