Stress and Chiropractic

We live in such a fast paced society today that being stressed just seems normal. We are always busy and have so much input coming at us from everywhere. Stress isn’t inherently a bad thing. There are times where stress is important, such as if you have a deadline coming up for work, as stress increases our productivity levels. Stress is needed in situations where there is a threat or danger present, as it allows us to respond fast and appropriately.

Stress is also what allows us to feel excited when we do things such as ride a rollercoaster, or go on a first date. But while stress is important in some situations, long term, constant stress can be detrimental to both our physical and mental health. This is because our bodies are only designed for quick bursts, “acute”, not long term ‘chronic’ stress. While there are not always things we can do about what is causing our troubles, such as a stressful job, there are things we can do to manage our stress to make sure it doesn’t start taking a toll on our mind and body.

 

How can stress affect us?

 

Chronic stress has numerous effects on our mind and body. It can have negative effects on nearly every system in our body. Some of the effects it can have include1:

  • Problems with our mental health, such as irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and depression
  • Behavioural problems such as over or under eating, alcohol or drug abuse, and social withdrawal
  • Increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and increased risk of having a stroke or hearth attack
  • Tensions headaches, tense muscles, and back pain
  • Issues with the digestive system such as acid reflux, diarrhoea, constipation, stomached, nausea, and vomiting
  • Extra blood sugar is released to help give the body extra energy, long term this can lead to increased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Weaken the immune system and slow down healing times

How can chiropractic help manage stress?

 

As chronic stress is such a common thing in today’s society, and quite regularly hard to avoid, people will be looking for ways to manage their stress and deal with any issues their stress may be causing. While it is impossible to completely remove stress from our lives, chiropractic care is a safe, healthy, and natural way to manage, and reduces its effects on the body, to help prevent long term damage:

 

Causes.

 

  • Sleep – good quality sleep is such an important factor in dealing with chronic stress, as it lets our brain slow down and our body relax and heal. Insomnia is also one of the issues that can come around because of chronic stress. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown both to help with insomnia, and with improving quality of sleep. The better sleep we can get the better we can prevent and deal with stress2.
  • Muscle tension – when we are stressed, our muscles start to tense up in response. This creates a negative cycle, as when our muscle stay tense they start causing pain, which can end up causing more stress. Chiropractic care returns the normal motion to the spinal joints, which allows all the muscles in these areas to relax. This can help reduce pain levels, and reduces overall stress3.
  • Blood pressure – studies have been done that show that blood pressure is reduced following chiropractic treatment. This helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels4. Decrease blood pressure and more relaxed musculature helps the body feel more calm and allows the brain to switch of the flight or flight response that is constantly on during chronic stress4, 5.

 

Causes cont.

 

  • Immune system – chronic stress weakens the immune system and slows down healing time. Because chiropractic removes interference from the nervous system it allows the brain and body to communicate better. When the brain is receiving more accurate information, it can send out the messages that can improve healing and boost immune system function6.
  • Avoid unhealthy behaviors – by reducing stress levels with chiropractic care, this removes some of the temptation of dealing with stress in unhealthy ways, such as overeating or turning to alcohol or drugs. Chiropractic is a natural way of dealing with it that is safe and has little side effects.

 

 

References:

 

  1. Pietrangelo, A., & Watson, S. (2017, June 5). The effects of stress on your body. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#1
  2. Kingston, J., Raggio, C., Spencer, K., Stalaker, K., & Tuchin, P. J. (2010). A review of the literature on chiropractic and insomnia. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 9(3), 121-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcm.2010.03.003
  3. Resources to Recover. (2019, March 12). Benefits of chiropractic care for anxiety and depression. Resources To Recover. https://www.rtor.org/2019/02/21/mental-health-and-chiropractic-care/
  4. Palmer College of Chiropractic. (2015, September 24). How can chiropractic care help alleviate stres? Palmer College of Chiropractic Blogs. https://blogs.palmer.edu/askpalmer/2015/09/24/how-to-alleviate-stress-with-chiropractic-exercises/
  5. Yates, R. G., Lamping, D. L., Abram, N. L., & Wright, C. (1988). Effects of chiropractic treatment on blood pressure and anxiety: a randomized, controlled trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 11(6), 484-488.
  6. Slosberg, M. (2011, May 6). Immune responses to spinal manipulation. The Chiropractic Resource Organisation. https://chiro.org/research/ABSTRACTS/Immune_Responses_to_Spinal_Manipulation.shtml

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Eat To Live – Dr Joel Furhman

Eat to Live – Dr Joel Furhman

Do YOU want to change your life?

Would you like to get rid of your pain?

Do YOU want to become healthier?

Would you like more energy?

Do YOU want more happiness?

Would you like to say goodbye to your headaches and migraines?

Do YOU want to say goodbye to your heart disease, arthritis, autoimmune conditions, chronic illnesses and diseases?

Do you want to say goodbye to the medications you’ve been made to believe you need?

READ THIS BOOK CALLED “EAT to LIVE” AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

Eat To Live by Dr Joel Furhman

Here are some videos you can watch too:

Video 1 : 19 minutes

Video 2 : 1 hour 44 minutes

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4katnfHzXA[/embedyt]

Eat to live

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How To Avoid Burnout (Stay Sane!)

You have experienced a decrease in focus, memory, and clear thoughts. This is a sign of what’s known as mental fatigue or burnout. It can be linked to many things in your life including sleep, stress, and even diet!

The biggest contributor to all this is really at the core of how society runs today with non-stop activities and connectivity. It’s hard to catch a break! And rather than just eliminate everything that you know, why not try to increase your resilience and build some coping strategies to ensure that you can get the most out of what you do.

Structural chiropractors are known for improving the function of the spinal joints and other joints in the body to help your nervous system thrive, but what good is that if your life is under an emotional thunderstorm and mental breakdown? Structural chiropractors look at the whole person and offer lifestyle advice, as well as recognize who requires further investigation by another health care provider.

Here are four burnout resiliency strategies that you can include into your life:

  1. Sleep: aim for 7-9 hours as it seems to be the optimal range for proper recovery of the brain and body. Be sure to check out our blog on how to sleep properly to support the structure of your spine.
  2. Exercise: increasing exercise has been shown to decrease the risk of depression and anxiety. It does this by getting you out of the house and releasing endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that help you feel good and confident. If you’re hesitant about doing exercise on your own – join a class!
  3. Nutrition: reducing the amount of inflammation in your diet can help your reap huge health benefits. Inflammation-inducing foods are unique for each individual and may require form trial and error, but can often be found in processed meats, juice or pop and even gluten. If you really don’t know where to start, speak to a nutritionist.
  4. Meditate: If you flick through some past blogs you’ll see that we’ve started to mention meditation as a positive health strategy quite a bit. And this is with good reason. Meditation is up and coming and many people are now experiencing the benefits of taking the time to step back and relax their mind for a bit as it can produce greater productivity and efficiency later. Even 10 minutes a day can do wonders for your health. It can be in any way you’d like; focusing on the breath, breathing techniques, a stroll outside. Find what works for you and schedule it in!

Summary

At the end of the day, the only person that can help yourself is you. And when you’re feeling foggy, unmotivated, and burnout it can be hard sometimes and it can be a downward spiral. The best way to address that is to make a decision to do something about (these strategies) and the rest will figure itself out as you start to take time and take care of yourself and your mental health. Contact one of our structural chiropractors if you have any questions.

 

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Taking Control of Stress

Control? Why?

 

Work, kids, school, money, exercise, eating… What do these all have in common? Well, they can stress you out to the point of ripping your hair out OR inspire and motivate you to get out of bed and do what you do every single day. The KEY is to find your stress sweet spot and use it to fast track your goals, and potential.

Too much stress can get in the way of you and your goals… Maybe even lead to you crashing and burning. However, too little stress can slow down your progress because you’ll get bored. Let’s find out how to hit that optimal point of stress to keep you at the top of your game.

First, let’s go through the difference between a positive and negative stress response. Stressors aren’t necessarily good OR bad, it depends on your response. A positive response means you’re feeling energized, focused, pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone, balancing stress and rest, and learning and growing through the process. A negative response leads to you feeling weak, distracted, in need of rest, not challenging yourself, and can even lead to weight gain and metabolic, hormonal, and immunity disruptions.

 

How do I deal with this?

 

How? Well first you’ve got to recognize what factors are out of your control and more importantly, which factors are IN your control. Also, if you’re stress resistant by nature and have had lots of practice at handling stress growing up, your view on stress may be that it is a challenge to tackle. But if you’re stress prone and have had little practice dealing with stress, you may find yourself looking at stress as a problem to avoid. If you’re having a hard time changing your attitude and view on stress, look at building a strong support network and changing your environment to have more time outdoors in nature or with loved ones.

It’s important that you look at your current stress load and ask yourself “does it have to be that high or that low?” Think about your goals and how your actions align. Find out what’s worth taking out or adding in.

 

What does it feel like?

  • Too low: bored, unfocused, purposeless
  • Too high: anxious or obsessive, panicked, stuck
  • Just enough: energized, engaged, actively moving towards goals

 

A great way to address inspiration and energy is to learn how to set effective goals. We’ll be releasing a blog post diving into this topic further in the near future. But until then, go read up on the last blog titled “How NOT to set goals”. Do this too get started on the perspective you should be taking when approaching goals.

For rest and recovery, there are many things that you can do! A lot of it depends on personal preference, but here are 4 examples to get you started.

  1. Practice relaxing activities: Walking, massage, deep breathing, laughing, yoga, meditation, and even (especially) sex, which is not always relaxing.
  2. Get outside: take your walk outside for improved mood and lower stress hormones and heart rate. Getting moderate sun exposure is ideal and helps increase mood and vitamin D levels.
  3. Adjust your exercise routine: the most effective way to approach this is with a mix of strength training (weights), conditioning (cardio, intervals) and low-intensity recovery (walk)
  4. Practice self-compassion: ask for help when you need it. Get counseling if you’re feeling helpless, know your limits and unplug regularly.

If you follow and apply these recommendations you’ll be well on your way to taking control of your stress. Stay tuned for more valuable blog posts!

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Breathe Deep

In a given day how often do you breathe deeply? In a stressed out world you can unconsciously end up breathing short and shallow breaths, this can reduce oxygen intake and further drive the stress response.

Breathing is an interesting function of the body and arguably the only one that is both unconscious and consciously controlled. Think about it, until you start dreading this you were breathing without paying attention to it. It happens automatically. But you can also slow down or speed up your breathing pattern at your own will.

Rapid, shallow breathing is a natural response to a stressful situation. Deeper, slower breathing is a natural response when you are relaxed. Taking conscious control of your breathing during the day, especially when you are stressed, can help calm your nervous system so it can focus on healing, digesting and creativity.

Try this simple breathing exercise each day to calm you mind and body.

4-7-8 Breathing

This technique was developed by Dr Andrew Weil as a great technique to calm your body when lying in bed at night to assist you falling asleep or to calm your mind and body during the day.

  • Exhale forcefully through the mouth
  • Close your mouth and silently breathe in through the nose as you mentally count to 4
  • Hold the breath for a count of 7
  • Exhale forcefully through the mouth for a count of 8

Do this a total of four times and repeat twice daily to maximise the benefits of the technique. The ratio of the inhalation to exhalation is more important than the overall length of time. At first you may not be able to hold your breath very long so count faster but as your body becomes more efficient over time you will find that you can really slow the process down.

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Pillar No. 4: Stress Less, Be Well

Introduction

“The best time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

I think we can all relate with this quote. You find yourself halfway through the week swamped with a long list of to-dos and no end in sight… Except for maybe a vacation here and there, but let’s be honest, most of us fill those vacations days with just as much stuff to do as when we’re not on vacation.

I’ll let you in on a little secret to “The Art of De-Stressing”: building daily recovery time. Now the key word here is “building” because you won’t be able to do it all at once to begin with… If you’ve always been on the go, it’ll actually be a bit of a challenge for you to stop for a bit. So start with a little bit of downtime and build from there until you find a way to fit all your other stuff around your daily rest time.

 

Tips to stress less

 

Why rest?

Now for the important question: why do we want to build in daily rest time? Well it has to do with our brain, because you see, our brain function can be broken down into two categories: sympathetic activity (“fight or flight” activity) and parasympathetic activity (“rest and digest” activity).

Most of us tend to be in too much of a sympathetic state, whether it be from our jobs, the kids, our relationships, the bills and any other stressor that takes us to that state. When our body’s are in this “fight or flight” state our adrenal glands produce high levels of circulating cortisol and adrenaline, which are good for short term bursts of energy when trying to get away from a threat like a lion chasing us. But when stress is chronically high it can interfere with certain body functions, such as our digestion, metabolism, immune function and reproduction. If this continues it can result in our hormones being thrown out of whack, reproductive dysfunction, muscle loss, fat gain and even chronic fatigue, which does not make for a happy you at all.

 

Now, what can we do to prevent this sympathetic overdrive from happening in the first place?

Keyword: balance. There’s no way you can reduce all the stressors in your life. In fact, you don’t really want to because a certain amount of stress is actually good for us. Instead, you want to focus on finding more activities that promote your parasympathetic state.

 

Luckily for you, there are all sorts of activities that can help with this:

  • Yoga and Pilates: certain types are known to be very parasympathetic.
  • Meditation: offers huge help with rest and recovery.
  • Spa: can help you achieve a deep parasympathetic state.
  • Jacuzzi/Sauna: much like the spa can help you deal with stress.

 

Even if those aren’t feasible options for you due to affordability or time, there are many activities that can be done at home:

  • Reading: find a quiet spot to read 30 minutes before bed.
  • Zoning out: drink warm tea and watching an episode of your favorite Netflix series is a great way to wind down.
  • Music: listening to relaxing music before bed.
  • Bath and Candles: light some candles while having an Epsom salt bath before bed.

Just remember that it doesn’t matter what activity you choose, as long as you achieve a nice parasympathetic state while doing it. Find the activities that can help you get 30 minutes of quiet, restful, worry-free parasympathetic activity every single day and it’ll do wonders for getting control of your stress.

 

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Healing the Adrenal Glands Naturally

Introduction

Before we dig deep into how you can heal your adrenal glands naturally, let’s quickly go through what can cause adrenal fatigue in the first place.

 

Causes of Adrenal Fatigue

  • Stressful experiences like death of loved one, divorce or surgery
  • Exposure to environmental toxins and pollution
  • Prolonged stress due to financial hardship, bad relationships or work environment, and other conditions that entail feelings of helplessness
  • Negative thinking and emotional trauma
  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor diet (including crash diets and inconsistent nutrition) and lack of exercise
  • Pain
  • Food sensitivities
  • Surgery
  • Reliance on stimulants like caffeine or energy drinks
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.

 

 

Natural ways to heal adrenal glands

1. Follow the adrenal diet.
what to add and what to avoid in adrenal diet

– Caffeine: This can interfere with your sleep cycle and make it hard for your adrenals to recover. If you must drink coffee or a caffeinated beverage, then have a limited amount in the morning before noon. I would highly recommend lowering your caffeine intake to 1 per week overtime if you need to. Try to drink herbal or green tea instead.

– Sugar and sweeteners: Includes avoiding high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners as well. Avoid sugary foods, cereals, candy, sweets, etc. Be aware that sugar is an additive in many breads, condiments and dressings. Try to avoid as much extra sugar as possible. Seek the benefits of stevia as an alternative, and always moderate your use of sweeteners of any kind.

– Processed and microwaved foods: First of all, the microwave has its own dangers, but additionally, most microwaveable, ultra-processed foods have many preservatives and fillers that are hard to digest and wear out your body’s energy and digestion cycle. Try to buy food on the outer walls of your grocery store and prepare your own food whenever possible.

– Processed meats and dairy: An overload of protein can stress your hormones more than you might think, and the added hormones and lacking nutrition in conventional, processed meats (particularly red meats like beef and steak) can throw your system out-of-whack in quick succession. We usually consume way too much animal products in our diet these days which are all the cause of the most deadliest diseases known to human such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Eat these protein-heavy meats only in moderation.

– Hydrogenated oils: Vegetable oils like soybean, canola and corn oil are highly inflammatory and can lead to adrenal inflammation. Try to only use good fats such as coconut oil, olive oil.

 

2. Add nutrient-dense foods that are easy to digest and have healing qualities.

Some of the top superfoods for adrenal health include:

  • Coconut
  • Olives
  • Avocado and other healthy fats
  • Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.)
  • Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
  • Seeds, such as pumpkin, chia and flax
  • Kelp and seaweed
  • Celtic or Himalayan sea salt
  • Fermented foods rich in probiotics
  • Chaga and cordyceps medicinal mushrooms
  • Fruits
  • Whole grain gluten-free carbs.

A strict no-carb diet can stress the body, even more, worsening adrenal burnout. Of course, I’m not saying please go and eat cookies and cakes, but rather quinoa, lentils, and buckwheat.

 

3. Herbs and Supplements.
Herbs and supplements
– Adaptogenic herbs ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, Schisandra, and holy basil: Research indicates that adaptogen herbs may help to lower cortisol levels and mediate stress responses within the body. By using these herbs in food preparation, you can alleviate some of the strain on your adrenal glands

– Licorice root: This spice is available in extract form and helps to increase the DHEA in your body. Licorice root is associated with some side effects and may sometimes be avoided by taking DGL licorice. Pregnant women and those with heart, liver or kidney problems should avoid licorice root. Don’t take it for more than four weeks at a time.

– Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA): There are a large number of benefits of increasing your omega 3 fatty acids intake through natural sources such as chia seeds, flaxeeds/linseeds and hemp seeds. Several of these include counteracting a number of adrenal fatigue-related symptoms and complications, such as diabetes, mental dysfunction, arthritis, immune system function, skin issues, weight gain and anxiety/depression.

– Magnesium: For some time, magnesium has been understood as one of the necessary nutrients for fighting adrenal insufficiency, While the mechanisms of this aren’t fully understood, you may benefit from supplementing with magnesium if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue.

 

4. Vitamins and oils

– B-Complex vitamins: Research has found that vitamin B12 deficiency may be associated with stress on the adrenal cortex in some animals. Vitamin B5 is another commonly deficient vitamin in people with adrenal stress. It may serve you well to take a high-quality B-complex vitamin supplement.

– Vitamin C: Known as a “stress-busting” nutrient, vitamin C has been found to minimize the effects of stress on people as well as reduce the time necessary to bounce back from stressful events.

– Vitamin D: In addition to maintaining homeostasis between magnesium and phosphorus in the body and supporting strong bones, Vitamin D has also more recently been seen to have impact on other conditions, including adrenal dysfunction and disease.

– Selenium: At least one animal study has found that selenium deficiency can negatively impact adrenal function.

– Lavender oil: Human and animal studies show that lavender essential oil has a calming effect that can reduce stress. Research also suggests that it may lower high cortisol levels when inhaled.

– Rosemary oil: Rosemary essential oil (along with lavender) can help to decrease cortisol concentrations and reduce oxidative stress on cells.

 

5. Other things you must pay attention to for healthy adrenal glands:

What else to pay attention to

– Go to bed early.
Getting to bed before 10-11pm is a must in any stage of adrenal fatigue. Many people get a second cortisol surge after 11pm, which further disrupts sleep patterns.

– Focus on hydration.
Dehydration is also a hallmark of adrenal fatigue. You can take a multi trace mineral supplement so more water is absorbed into your cells. You can also add fresh lemon juice or Himalayan sea salt to your water instead.

– Build rest into the day.
Practise Iyengar Yoga at least 2 x week and take two 20-minute rest breaks a day (time outs alone to breathe and restore).

– Change your perspective.
Is your definition of success killing you? In many cases, what you perceive as success is driving you into adrenal overload. Try to internalize the idea that “it” doesn’t have to be perfect to be great.

In some cases hormone therapy can be helpful, and if someone has an autoimmune disease called Addison’s, it can be necessary. But for most people who live their way into stage 1, 2 or 3 adrenal fatigue, it’s just a matter of living their way right back out of it and into balance with their bodies.

 

***Adrenal Support Tea link***
Rest and Relax Tea

 

***Adrenal Support Tea Recipe***

Cacao Orange Rejuvenator
Ingredients
1/2 tsp ginseng root
1 tsp roasted chicory root
1/2 tsp orange peel
1/2 tsp licorice root
1 pinch per cup cacao powder
1 drop per cup orange essential oil

This will serve 2–3 cups of rich and rejuvenating tea.
1. Put the ginseng in a pan with a lid. Add 7 ounces cold water and simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes. Add the roasted chicory root, orange peel, and licorice root to the pan along with 14 ounces freshly boiled filtered water. Leave to steep for 10–15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the cups by adding cacao powder to each one.
2. Once the tea has steeped, strain and pour it onto the cacao powder in the cups. Whisk and finish each with a drop of orange essential oil. (If you’re short on time, you can skip simmering the ginseng or leave it out.)

 

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Always Tired and Stressed Out?

Introduction

Are you always tired and stressed out? Are your hormones out of whack? Have you ever thought about what could be causing all this or do you just get on with your life thinking that this is normal or part of aging?

It could be because your adrenal glands are not functioning properly. Our adrenal glands are small glands found on top of each kidney, they are vital for us to function properly. Their primary function is to reduce stress in our bodies by releasing hormones such as adrenaline and androgen which are our sex hormones. However, the two most important hormones it secretes are aldosterone and cortisol. While aldosterone helps control blood pressure by managing minerals in your body such as potassium and sodium, cortisol helps regulate stress levels.

So what happens when your adrenal glands malfunction? As a result, they can either produce too much of one hormone or too little.

 

Addison’s disease (lower levels of hormones)

Addison’s disease is caused by the insufficient production of such hormones, mainly cortisol and aldosterone. Also known as adrenal insufficiency it can be life-threatening if we don’t treat it. Some of these symptoms may occur over a couple of months as it develops slowly. In addition, they include extreme fatigue, weight loss, nausea, irritability, body hair loss, and even depression.

Symptoms of Addison's disease

 

Cushing’s syndrome (higher levels of hormones)

On the other spectrum if you are overproducing hormones you might have what we call Cushing’s syndrome and Conn’s syndrome. Cushing’s syndrome is a result of overexposure to high levels of cortisol over an extended period of time. As a result, Cushing’s syndrome can be identified by a fatty hump in between the shoulders, a rounded face, and pink and purple stretch marks. People who suffer from this disease often show signs of severe fatigue, muscle weakness, cognitive difficulty, and a decrease in bone density.

 

Symptoms of Cushing's syndrome

 

Conn’s syndrome (higher levels of hormones)

Conn’s syndrome is the overproduction of aldosterone which causes you to lose too much potassium and hold excess sodium. The increase in sodium holds onto water within our body ultimately increasing the blood pressure. Usually, the only symptom associated with Conn’s syndrome is high blood pressure. However, the increase in blood pressure may cause headaches, blurred vision, and dizziness.

 

Conclusion

So as you can see our adrenal gland function is very important for our overall health and a malfunction in these small organs may result in life-threatening conditions. In our next blog, I will discuss how you can help improve the function of your adrenal glands naturally and effectively.

 

 

 

Looking for a Chiropractor in Auckland?

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