How does Stress affect health?
Stress is a major factor for pain conditions as well as most other internal medical disorders. Stress depletes neurotransmitters in the brain, locks you into a 'fight or flight' reaction, depletes Zinc, agitates the nervous system, and can result in Adrenal Burnout, heart disease, liver disorders, kidney dysfunction, stomach ulcers, inflamed intestines (Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome)or neurological disorders such as migraine headaches, neuropathies and even stroke.
How does stress affect health?
Stress causes a "Fight or Flight" reaction which is a switching on of our sympathetic nervous system. This causes our heart and nervous system to speed up, tensing our muscles, constricting our blood vessels, quickening our breath, and basically preparing us for either a quick escape, or an intense battle: "fight or flight".
All of this physiological activity demands a lot of quick energy, so the Adrenal glands are called upon to release adrenaline, aldosterone, and cortisol in large amounts.
The release of Aldosterone causes a couple of things to happen:
- Aldosterone causes the kidneys to retain Sodium, which is needed in large amounts for the conduction of sympathetic neural pathways and cell permeability
- Copper is also retained by the kidneys for its stimulating effect on the nervous system as well as its effect of raising Sodium levels.
- Magnesium and Zinc are excreted in large amounts through the kidneys. This is because Zinc and Magnesium are relaxing to the musculature and nervous system. That is why Magnesium is used for muscle cramps and to calm the mind.
- Water retention follows the Sodium retention, so blood volume increases, which raises blood pressure.
Copper and Zinc effect one another closely. When one of them rises, the other one falls, and vice versa. So in two ways, Zinc is being suppressed during a stress reaction. When Zinc and Magnesium become depleted, this can lead to severe health problems due to the utmost importance that these to minerals serve in the body.
- Zinc is necessary for the production of every protein made in the body. These include:
- digestive enzymes
- neurotransmitters in the brain, necessary for memory and concentration.
- Zinc is needed for immunity and antibody production.
- Zinc is needed in wound healing as it is needed in the production of new tissues, skin, cartilage,and ligaments.
- Zinc stimulates our higher functions of thought and intuition.
When we are in a 'fight or flight' stress reaction, we become more sensitive to our environment and therefore more easily disturbed by all kinds of various stimulating stressors, such as loud noises, minor inconveniences, annoying people. When we are quick to react to every little annoyance, these little stress reactions build up and build up until just a tiny nuisance sends us into complete hysteria as we become overwhelmed by the multitude of stressors that have collected in our consciousness.
Stressors can be a wide variety of things such as problems in personal relationships, work, money problems, road traffic, accumulated little problems, watching the news, getting a stain on your shirt, environmental toxins,
chronic pain, relationship problems, eating too much sugar or salt, early childhood traumas, over-exhaustion and
can all cause stress reactions.
These stressors elicit a sort of panic inside our minds and bodies. Our comfort, security or safety is being threatened. We respond to these stressors with a stress-response, which is a switching over to our
'fight or flight'
or sympathetic nervous system.
This causes strain on our hearts, adrenals, liver, stomach and intestines, our circulatory system, our kidneys as well as our muscles and ligaments, all of which connect with the brain, thus straining our mind. We start clenching our teeth, tensing our ligaments, contracting our muscles and constricting our arteries and vessels.
Our adrenal glands pump out huge amounts of adrenaline, cortisol and other hormones to power our stress-response. These hormones, especially epinephrine, have been found to exacerbate and prolong the pain sensations in our sensory nerves. Follow this link for more details:
How Stress exacerbates Pain sensations
That is why
and other relaxing therapies are so effective for chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, back pain and arthritis.
After a prolonged amount of time of our adrenals releasing large amounts of epinephrine, catecholamines, and cortisol to sustain our stress induced 'fight or flight' reactions, our nerves become overly sensitive and reactive to stressors, our minds become stuck in a hyperactive and stressful mode of thinking, our bodies become tense and then atrophy as all of our vital nutrients and energy resources are being tied up by our 'fight or flight' stress-response. This leads to
Adrenal Burnout Syndrome.
This results in being tired all the time, reduced immunity and increased incidence of catching colds, increase in inflammation due to a deficiency in cortisol, cold hands and feet or general feeling of cold,
and a tendency to crave sugar, caffeine, and other stimulants or substances to help you feel energized.
You may also become dependent on alcohol and anti-anxiety medication to settle your mind and nerves since your mind is actually over-active while your adrenals and your physical body weakens.
Once we become caught in this cycle of:
"Fight or Flight" Stress response
Excess epinephrine and cortisol secreted from adrenals
Increase in pain sensations, muscle and ligament tension, nerve agitation, and negative thoughts
Increase in Stressors
Adrenal burnout, insomnia, chronic fatigue, immune deficiency, fibromyalgia, etc.
it can very difficult to overcome our habitual 'fight or flight' response to stressors. When our adrenals go into burnout, it is very difficult to overcome the stress and the resulting chronic health conditions that follows.
Adrenal Burnout can be diagnosed most accurately by way of a
Hair Mineral Analysis Test.
Hair Mineral Analysis
A hair Mineral Analysis test is a reading of roughly 20 different Minerals and nutrients found in the hair, which is a direct reflection of the Mineral levels in all of the soft tissues of the body including: skin, muscles, cartilage, ligaments, fingernails and hair.
This is a more accurate analysis of your Mineral and Nutrient levels than a blood analysis since the blood is heavily regulated by the endocrine system, so that it stays within a very narrow range of parameters, even if there are serious mineral deficiencies or imbalances taking place in the body.
The Adrenal glands are assessed by looking at the Sodium and Potassium levels. If they are too low are are in an incorrect ration to one another, that is a positive diagnostic reading for adrenal insufficiency or adrenal burnout, depending on how severely low or out of balance your Sodium and Potassium levels are.
Stress and our 'fight or flight' reaction to stress depletes Zinc and B vitamins at an alarming rate while our electrolytes Sodium, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium are distorted into degenerative mineral patterns, as our bodies attempt to compensate for the extreme nature of our stress-response.
When our adrenals are in burnout, we have a difficult time handling sugar and we are more prone to becoming Diabetic. Our ability to handle sugar can be assessed by our Calcium/Sodium ratios.
When our soft tissue levels of Zinc becomes depleted, Copper rises to toxic levels. Zinc naturally keeps levels of Copper low. If we have too much Zinc in our system, our Copper can become too low causing metabolic problems and poor MAgnesium and Calcium absorption. However, most people are Zinc deficient due to the low Zinc levels in the soil and our food supply along with the way Zinc is so drastically depleted by stress, and therefore Copper tends to rise to toxic levels.
Copper toxicity is one of the most common undiagnosed causes of many chronic pain conditions, mental disorders, acne, rashes and other skin problems, and more. To read more about how Copper toxicity effects your health please follow this link:
If you would like a Free Consultation to find out if a Hair Mineral Analysis Test is right for you, please fill out the Contact form on my
with your email and mention your request for a Hair Analysis consultation in the 'Leave a message' box.
Ways to Deal with Stress
One of the first ways that stress causes a physiological dysfunction is our breathing becoming sped up and shallower, lowering our supply of O2 oxygen to the brain, muscles, and nervous system. This creates a feeling of panic as the brain is always gasping for air, creating an alarm response that resonates throughout the entire body.
The most powerful way to reduce stress:
Slow down your breathing.
One of the first things that you can do to slow this cascading snowball of stress from growing enormously to the point that we have a nervous breakdown, need medication, or commit suicide, is to Slow down your breathing.
Slowing down our breath cycle lowers stress in a variety of ways:
- The lungs and heart work together to oxygenate the blood. When you slow down the breath cycle, the heart will also beat more slowly. When the heart slows down, the entire nervous system relaxes since the heart is the pacemaker for the entire nervous system.
- Breathing slowly and deeply enriches the blood with enough oxygen to create a sufficient amount of ATP (cellular energy) in the Kreb's cycle of the mitochondria. Lack of ATP has been linked with heart disease and fibromyalgia. CoQ10, L-Carnitine, and D-Ribose supplements have been found to accelerate the oxygenation of the cells and help produce more ATP.
- Breathing deeply brings oxygen to the brain. When the brain starts to lack oxygen, it goes into a panic state. Most panic disorders are due to too much CO2 (Carbon dioxide) in the blood and too little 02 (Oxygen).
- The breath contains vital subtle energy which supplements the
Jing is the term for the anchoring, heavy, dense energy that makes up the core of your being. When we become Jing depleted, our minds become agitated and can never feel settled. The mind needs the heavy weight of Jing to hold it down, like an anchor keeps a ship from drifting off into the ocean. Otherwise you will become so concerned with your external world and every little thing will agitate you and cause a 'fight or flight' stress reaction.
Practice this following exercise every time you begin to feel upset or annoyed at something:
Breathe in for a count of five seconds and then exhale for seven seconds, completely emptying the lungs.
As you breathe in, your lower abdomen should expand forward, forcing the diaphragm to descend. We call this "abdominal breathing". We would do well to breath like this throughout our entire day. This will establish a calm state of mind with an increase in tranquility and peacefulness.
Meditation and Visualization
As we breath deeply and slowly (our lower abdomen expanding as we inhale and then settling back inwards as we exhale), we can bring our mental focus to the point directly between our nipples in the center of our chest.
This point is called 'Tan Zhong' in Chinese which means, 'Spiritual altar'. It is the same as the 'Heart chakra' in Kundalini yoga.
Breath into this point while smiling in golden rays of sunshine. As you exhale, imagine this golden light expanding down your arms and the front of your body, down your legs to your feet.
More detailed instructions for my 'Heaven and Earth' meditation and visualization techniques can be found here: Heaven and Earth meditation
Give thanks and feel grateful for what you have.
As you inhale in this golden light, GIVE THANKS and gratitude for all of the many gifts that the 'Great Creator' has given you. Try to FEEL LOVE for the world and also feel that the world loves you in return.
This reciprocal exchange of loving energy between you and the world helps to dissolve and melt away any negative emotions that come up during a stressful day at work or while driving in traffic. Expressing Love and Gratitude always helps to reduce feelings of hostility and resentment which tend to come up when we are stressed out. This simple way to deal with stress is amazingly potent at putting you into deep state of ease and contentment.
Return your focus to the soles of your feet.
To close this meditation, inhale golden light one last time from the heavens above into your chest, and then exhale down into the soles of your feet, connecting Heaven and Earth. You are the conduit through which loving energy unites the Earth with the Sky above.
The soles of your feet connect you with the Earth. When we get stressed out, too much energy gets stuck in the head as we get agitated and upset by the outside world. By focusing on the center point of the bottoms of our feet, we bring our energy back down out of our heads and into the root of our being.
If you have a hard time focusing on the soles of your feet, then you can simply massage your feet with our hands or rub our feet together. For more detailed instruction on foot massage techniques, click this link: Stress Relief Foot Massage
I'm too stressed to even slow down my breathing!!
That's OK. If you are not in the mood for visualization, prayer or meditation, maybe you need to do something more active to clear your head.
are a great way to shake things off and reduce stress. These simple tapping exercises accelerate the flow of
and blood and relaxes the muscles and nervous system. You can do a modified version of these warmups by just tapping on specific points around the eyes, mouth, chest, ribs, and fingertips. For detailed instructions, please follow this link:
3. GO FOR A WALK around the block. It seems simple but most of us do not spend enough time walking. We sit in the car, on the train or bus, we sit at work, and then we sit when we get home.
So much sitting actually drains us of energy. Get up right now and walk around a bit. Go ahead. I'll be here when you get back.
How do you feel now?
That is because you just stimulated your heart muscle and improved your circulation throughout your arms, legs, brain, etc.
STRESS CAUSES A DECREASE IN BLOOD CIRCULATION AND CAN LEAD TO HYPERTENSION.
High blood pressure has been clinically proven to increase in times of stress. High blood pressure in turn promotes a feeling of being stressed out.
~WALKING MASSAGES THE SOLES OF THE FEET WHICH IS THE ENTRY POINT FOR THE KIDNEY MERIDIAN
The acupuncture point Kidney 1 or Yongquan (Bubbling Spring) is located in the center of the sole of your feet. Right where the picture of the kidney is located in the foot reflexology chart above.
Massaging this point helps to nourish the Kidneys which are said to rule the lower back. Patients who have chronic lower back pain are often diagnosed by their acupuncturist as being Kidney Yin or Yang deficient. A good Foot Massage is an extremely powerful stress relief technique.
By walking we stimulate the entry point of the Kidney meridian that connects with the actual kidney organs in the lower back and help regulate and nourish the adrenal glands as well, which rest right on top of the kidneys.
I don't have time to walk!
Everybody has time to walk.
Simply park your car a few blocks from your destination or at the back of the parking lot of your grocery store.
Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
Just walk around the block if you don't have time for any more than that. Any little bit helps.
If you find that you just can't motivate yourself to walk more, I can show you other ways to loosen up, promote good blood circulation and relax your mind and nervous system.
THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS TO ELIMINATE STRESS FROM YOUR LIFE WITHOUT THE USE OF DRUGS, ALCOHOL OR TELEVISION.