Lets talk about stress
What is stress?
There are three kinds of stress:
- Emotional stress, everybody knows about this one. It can be from life, as a recovering New Yorker, it can be stressful trying to get that green light before it turns red, to get the kids somewhere on time. More severely it can come from trauma. Memories are hard to erase and by replaying them in our heads it can lead to self medicating which leads to…
- Chemical stress, these are substances in the body that make it go haywire. Self-medicating with coffee, nicotine, alcohol, poor diet, prescription medication and wait for it…opioid abuse, is like putting a fire out with kerosene. What people don’t realize is that most prescriptions alter physiology and create dependency. If you have high blood pressure; and your are on meds for it, you can’t just stop taking your prescription, with out rebound symptoms that can be harmful. Always consult your physician before altering prescriptions.
- Physical stress, this one is less obvious but we’ve heard of repetitive stress injuries. We associate these with industrial labor. How many times have you heard sitting is the new smoking. Sitting at a computer can lead to back and neck pain. Or that pain between the shoulder blades that no one knows how to place. It radiates all over and it’s hard to nail down. Funny enough, people actually pay for repetitive stress injuries when they join the gym and pound the treadmill, tear their muscle lifting weights and overdoing cross fit. Try yoga or tai chi or both.
Remember that there is good and bad stress. Eu-stress is that energy that gets you up and going in the morning in order to smash your goals.
So how does stress work?
Stress response is a reaction of the sympathetic response of the autonomic nervous system (fright or flight tor fight). Some stimulus:
- Releases cortisol, a chemical that takes blood away from the brain and pumps it to the muscles. Have you ever heard of the term “I was so scared I nearly fill in the blank myself.” That’s the body’s way of dropping weight in order to run faster. Think of that next time you pound that coffee (chemical stressor). Long term side effects of cortisol are a suppressed immune system. We use steroids like cortisone that reduce the immune system in order to relieve inflammation. This is how stress leads to weight gain. If we are in a state of stress all the time we don’t get a good supply of blood the brain and we are unable to use critical thought and go in to more of reflex response mode. Our problem solving skill set is reduced, we can’t think our way out of the problem. We are “fried.”
- Cortisol trigger nor-adrenaline and epinephrine. These chemicals shrink the blood vessels to get the blood to the muscles, like the heart, to pump more blood to the limbs for taking off or throwing down. Increased heart rate and tighter blood vessels is the literal definition of HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE.
- decreased serotonin which is a feel good regulating hormone.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
- Acupuncture releases endorphins. Acupuncture can put the body into parasympathetic (REST and DIGEST) aspect of the autonomic nervous system
- Endorphins reduce cortisol and nor-adrenaline.
- Acupuncture can help you reboot your system.
With acupuncture and the correct lifestyle changes we can help you get back on the right path to health.