Today we are bombarded with all kinds of stressors; rushing here and there, meeting deadlines, bad diets, lack of exercise, poor sleep, pollution, sedentary lifestyles and the list goes on.
Here are a couple of interesting tidbits: Since the beginning of the industrial revolution something like 40 million different chemicals have been introduced into our environment, and did you know that a lack of regular sleep has been shown to dramatically decrease our life expectancy?
The good news is that the obvious toll that stress has on our health and well being is mitigated by our remarkable ability to essentially ‘fight off’ stress. There are many ways in which we can (and should) manage stress. Among them are things like: getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, meditating etc. etc. We have systems in place to keep things running. This is known as homeostasis. Basically our own ‘auto-pilot’. Survival is contingent on these ‘systems’ which can be broken down to our biochemistry which is all mediated by the nervous systems or the ‘master control center of the body’ if you will.
Our endocrine system is an elaborate feedback system which responds chemically to the various highs and lows in order to maintain homeostasis. There is a key hormone that we secrete known as cortisol that helps our bodies ‘manage’ our stress response. Cortisol (also known as ‘the stress hormone’) is secreted by our adrenal glands which are located on ‘top’ of our kidneys. We have all heard of the fight or flight response. Basically this is a mechanism of stress response. There are times we need a bursts of energy to deal with stress, whether that would be our ancestral past of hunting our dinner or preventing ourselves from becoming dinner, or modern times of working the night shift and having to deal with difficult co-workers for example. In either case, we secrete more cortisol so that our bodies -are able to ‘deal’ with the stressful event. The problem with modern society is that many of us are faced with too-much-stress-all-the-time and this tends to ‘burn out’ our adrenals which leads to a lot of problems, like fatigue, depression, and weight gain to name a few. This problem is sometimes know as adrenal fatigue or adrenal stress -adaptation syndrome.
So what can we do about this problem? Well the obvious answer is to reduce our stress, however that is not always practical and perhaps it is too late for many of us. Another thing that we can do is to try to help ‘boost’ the adrenal glands and improve their function. There are many things that can do this. For example Chiropractic Adjustments, Acupuncture, and Massage Therapy can help by improving our nervous systems function and providing our bodies with a better healing environment. There are many herbs and supplements that have been shown to help with stress. A couple that are worth mentioning are Ashwagandha and Adrenal extract. Ashwagandha is popular herb usen in Aruvedic medicine with is an ancient East Indian healing art. Adrenal extract is actual animal sourced adrenal tissue and has shown to be very effective in treating adrenal insufficiency.
Stress or adrenal fatigue is a problem that is not often acknowledged by mainstream medicine and it is a problem with some serious implications that has reached epidemic proportions. As always, the best cure is prevention, but if your body needs a bit more, support your adrenal glands. If you would like to begin reducing stress with any of our above mentioned therapies, please call our office for an appointment – 519-258-8544.
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