Monday, 20 May 2013

Holistic Health Information Stress

Life brings us stress from a multitude of sources: work, relationships, toxins, driving, exercise, food, emotions, trauma, and even good news. Because of this, we must find ways to counteract the toll it takes on our physical, mental, and emotional well being.

In our body, the adrenal glands are two organs that sit on top of our kidney glands, which monitor and respond to stress. The adrenals produce a series of hormones that stimulate a “flight” or “fight” response, causing our nervous system to go into an alarm state. that we can recover from if this stress is short term in duration.

Unfortunately, we are always faced with constant stress, so our adrenal glands do not get a chance to get the respite they need to recover. These glands are interconnected with many other glands and organs that run our body. They directly affect the thyroid gland, the intestinal tract, the pancreas, the brain, the liver, the spleen, the heart, the arteries and blood vessels, the digestive tract, the immune system, male and female hormones, inflammation in the body, muscle building, bone density, and recovery from exercise. As you can see, if the adrenal glands are not functioning properly, we will end up with never-ending diseases and dysfunctions. Therefore, we must do everything we can to counter stress and maintain adrenal health.

The hormones produced by the adrenal glands are adrenaline, noradrenalin, and cortisol. If the adrenals are pushed too much, they will make too much of these hormones. Over time, they start to get exhausted, and cannot make enough. Consequently, fatigue, weight gain, inability to recover from injuries, inability build muscle mass, poor metabolism, anxiety, chronic pain, allergies, disturbed digestion, blood pressure problems, insomnia, chronic illnesses, irritability, allergies, and osteoporosis can plague us all at once, or one by one.

Strategies that can support our adrenal glands and lead to stress management in our lives include: eating regular balanced meals; regular exercise; yoga; meditation; prayer; hot baths; 8 hours of restful sleep per night; supplements and herbs that support adrenal function; vacations; drinking at least 8-10 glasses of clean spring or filtered water per day; laughter; spending time with those you love; and balancing your emotions with flower essences and homeopathic medicines.

Also, the daily restorative pose can offset the effects of stress. This is done by: laying on the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees, and your calves resting on a couch, bench, or chair, with your hands by your sides, and placing a picture of nature scene or resort up on the ceiling above you. Imagine yourself there having a serene, relaxing time. Do this for 15 minutes a day.

There are several herbs that support adrenal function, including: holy basil, ashwaganda, codyceps, Siberian ginseng, licorice root, and rhodiola. There are also vitamins and amino acids that assist adrenal function, including: pantothenic acid, phosphotadylserine, folic acid, vitamin C, B6, and L-carnitine. These should be taken on a regular basis to maintain wellness and prevent dysfunction. The one hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands, and, when exhausted, is in short supply, is DHEA. Therefore taking it when needed not only insures adrenal health, but also has beneficial effects on all other body systems and processes. When there are high enough levels of DHEA in the body, the brain believes you are younger. The brain then instructs the body to upkeep, repair, and regenerate more efficiently, slowing the aging process.

Contact me to learn more about holistic approaches to dealing with stress.

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