Complementary Therapies for Stress
Article provided by the Earth Energies Complementary Clinic in Lincolnshire
ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM STRESS ?
What exactly is stress?
Our body is an extremely sophisticated piece of ‘machinery’, which very often we take for granted, rather than looking after it. Going back through the evolutionary scale, we were given an inbuilt mechanism to give us extreme energy and strength for moments of sudden danger, which might have been a dinosaur or someone acting aggressively, for instance. This is sometimes referred to as our ‘fight or flight’ mechanism. In times of sudden danger, our autonomic nervous system triggers responses in our muscles including the heart muscle to increase the heart rate, and in our hormonal systems it triggers the release of chemical messengers such as adrenaline. These responses increase our alertness, boost blood pressure and release sugars into the bloodstream to increase energy. The results are heightened awareness and responses which prepare our body to either fight for our lives our run for our lives! The action taken will then use up the adrenalin and increased blood sugars which have been released into out body. This is a natural response and works extremely well in times of danger.
Unfortunately, in the modern world there are certain parts of our lives that make us feel pressured or stressed which causes the same autonomic nervous system responses. However, because we are not fighting or running for our lives, the responses and chemical messengers released into our bloodstream actually, over time, start to damage our health and reduce our ability to cope.
How does stress cause illness?
The exact role of stress in causing illness has not been sufficiently explained scientifically, but in Complementary Medicine it is clear that stress weakens the immune system, reducing our ability to combat infection and over time, having to combat constant infections makes the body becomes exhausted. The increased adrenalin in our system can lead to adrenal exhaustion, which particularly has an adverse effect on menopausal women. Increased blood sugars can give us energy slumps and mood swings, or even lead to Type 2 Diabetes. Stress is also thought to be one of the causes (or at the very least exacerbates) an overgrowth of yeast in our body called Candida Albicans. This yeast can change into its anaerobic form (or fungal form) when there is a reduction in the ‘healthy’ bacteria’ in our digestive system. Over time, the fungus then roots into our digestive system increasing its permeability and can even spread to other organs in our body, causing other major health problems.
With the increased permeability of the colon, larger molecules of food and toxins than normal enter our bloodstream, causing multiple food intolerances and putting our livers under pressure as it tries to cope with the effect of the increased level of toxins. All this and more, has a major effect on our physical, mental and emotional state and if ignored can lead to lots of debilitating symptoms at best and, major illness at the worst. (If you would like more information regarding the diagnosis and treatment of Candida, contact Jan at Earth Energies).
Often there is no one reason for developing stress-related symptoms, but more a case of lots of little things building up over time, until we reach the point where we cannot cope anymore. Indeed, some people thrive on stress and actually need a certain level to motivate them and get the best out of them. But for the majority of people, chronic, long-term stress is difficult for us to cope with and can be damaging to our health if left unresolved or untreated.
Some of the symptoms that may be experienced through stress:
Trembling / hyperventilating / asthma attacks (in asthma sufferers) / bloating / nausea / vomiting / constipation / diarrhoea / loss of appetite / comfort eating / heartburn or dyspepsia / blood sugar disturbances / periods of irritability or anger / apathy or depression / irrational behaviour / increased emotional responses / constant anxiety / lack of concentration / poor memory / constant headaches / loss of sex drive / increased smoking, drinking or taking recreational drugs / excessive tiredness / skin problems / shoulder, neck and backache due to tension / increased pain from other conditions such as arthritis / heart palpitations / higher blood pressure and for women, missed periods.
Causes of stress.
There are many causes of stress. However, it is not just our jobs, although pressure to perform efficiently can have a major role in stress. There are also other things to take into consideration such as home life, relationships with family and friends, divorce, traumatic events such as witnessing violent death etc., children leaving home, money worries, bereavement, moving home, marriage, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, bad life-style choices and the lack of a job.
It is not so much the stress that causes the problem, but our reaction to that stress. It can start the heart pumping or the stomach churning. Or we smoke more cigarettes, drink more alcohol or coffee or in some cases, start taking recreational drugs.
Of course, adding these factors to the stress will increase our exposure to health risks and in the long term may lead to life threatening problems such as heart attacks, stroke and the development of certain cancers.
How can we combat stress?
So, what can be done? Well some of the ways that you can help yourself is to :
Eat a healthy diet full of fruit, vegetables (organic wherever possible) and wholegrains
Try and cut out red meat.
Stop drinking coffee and lower your intake of tea – drink herbal teas and 1-2 litres of water.
Try not to drink more than 8 units of alcohol a week and get help to stop smoking.
Take more exercise – especially something that you enjoy.
Communicate with the people that you work with and find ways to share responsibilities or manage timescales better (such as meeting deadlines).
Learn to be more assertive – for instance, not agreeing to take on more than you can handle.
Be more organised – it is surprising how much calmer you are if you do this.
Take more ‘pamper’ time out – listen to relaxing music or a relaxation tape, take the time to be intimate with your partner, in a leisurely, loving way.
Join a Stress Management Workshop to learn breathing techniques, meditation, etc.
TALK TO SOMEONE.
Complementary medicine and therapies for stress.
Here at Earth Energies Complimentary Clinic we take stress and the effects of stress very seriously. A lot of our practitioners are medically trained so that during the course of the consultation they can ascertain if long-term stress has had any major effects on your health and treat these effectively. We can also issue sick notes if they are required.
On the other hand, we can help you long before stress has become a major problem. For instance, massage reduces the level of the stress hormone cortisol, thereby helping to beat the onset of stress related conditions. Massage increases circulation by physically pushing blood back to the heart, thus causing blood vessels to dilate. Cells are supplied with sufficient blood and the whole body functions more efficiently.
Here at the clinic we have a team of eighteen fully qualified practitioners who are members of a professional organisation in their particular field, and can offer over twenty different types of treatment. For stress management we can offer :
Stress Management Workshops
Full Body massage / Aromatherapy massage / Indian Head Massage
The Infrared Stress Release Booth – Further details on request.
All of these therapies can relax you and give you stronger coping mechanisms for whatever the cause of your personal stress.
If, however, you believe that stress has already started to have an effect upon your general health, then you may need to have an initial consultation and assessment with the clinic manager. She will give you nutritional and life-style advice, teach you breathing and other coping techniques, and will also advise you on the best course of treatment, tailor-made for you. (This may be Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Osteopathy, Counselling, Hypnotherapy, Food Intolerance & Allergy Testing – depending on your particular symptoms).
For more information, contact Jan Cassells at Earth Energies Complementary Medicine & Therapies Clinic, First Floor, 296 Ashby High Street, Scunthorpe. Tel: 01724 – 853810 or visit
(We have a stairlift for disabled access)
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