Measure current level of stress

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Establishing the baseline

When your aim is treatment of a condition which is affecting your client, it's important that you are able to measure the severity of their condition. If you can do this, you can compare their current level of stress (in this case) against their original level of stress to see if the approach that you have chosen is having a postive effect.

Measuring their current level is stress is also called establishing a baseline assessment measure.

It's best if baseline assessment measures can be objective (e.g. joint range of movement) rather than subjective (“rate pain on a scale of 1-10”). You don't really want the measure to change depending on the mood of your client on the day of assessment. It's fairly difficult to develop an objective measure of stress for use in clinical practice. Stress-related research often uses blood sampling of hormones such as cortisol which are related to the stress response as an objective assessment measure, however this is not an approach that you can commonly take in your practice. Another way to attempt to measure someone's stress levels is to take a multi-factor approach.

Here are a couple of stress assessment instruments

  • Stress monitor - developed by students in the Otago Polytechnic massage therapy programm, 2008
  • Assess your stress – developed by the Cleveland health clinic