MOTHER Nature's Remedies
By Carol Schneider
Although the ancient philosophies and healing practices of other cultures have recognized everything is interconnected, and many of us know it too, our scientific community is only beginning to take this into consideration when they look at disease.
More and more, connections between stress and physical health are being explored. Studies are showing the link between emotional distress and lowered immune function, physical pain, chronic inflammation, increased blood pressure and cholesterol levels, altered brain chemistry and mental illness, blood sugar level and hormonal imbalance. Stress has also been found to increase the rate at which tumors grow and to affect how long we live.
Even the conservative Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 85% of all disease has an emotional element. Stress and anxiety are the preponderant reasons why people acquire ulcers, sleeping problems and depression. Gabor Mate, MD, says, “We have the effects of stress on health, particularly of the hidden stresses we all generate from our early programming, a pattern so deep and so subtle that it feels like a part of our real selves.”
When we’re stressed, our body releases stress hormones like cortisol, which prepare us to fight or flee the stressful event. The heart rate increases, lungs take in more oxygen, blood flow increases and the immune system is suppressed, leaving us unable to fight pathogens and other foreign invaders. This is the response to temporary stress—then the body usually goes back to balance.
When stress becomes chronic, however, the immune system becomes less sensitive to the continual flood of cortisol, so that now the inflammatory response, meant to decimate “the intruder,” is out of control and turns against the body. This is how constant emotional stress makes us sick, and, if it continues unabated, the illness worsens and the inflammation results in “a chronic condition” in the weakest areas of our body, or an auto-immune disease like rheumatoid arthritis or irritable bowel syndrome.
A study by The American Psychosomatic Society found that ruminating on a stressful incident can increase levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the body. The study showed those who were told not to think about their poor performance after a test kept normal C-reactive protein levels.
Life Extension Magazine reports higher stress levels cause accelerated shortening of telomeres. Telomeres are disposable buffers at the ends of chromosomes; their presence protects the genes. Shortened telomeres speed up cellular aging.
A survey of more than 2000 people showed work to be the most stressful factor in their lives (34%), followed by financial problems (30%), and health problems (17%). The survey showed 60% of those with workplace stress used alcohol after work to cope. Other destructive coping mechanisms cited were: smoking (28%), taking anti-depressants (15%), and over-the-counter and prescription sleeping pills (16%/10%).
According to cellular biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton, the prognosis for one’s life does not lie within our DNA. It is created within our cells. Each cell membrane has receptors that pick up various signals—including our thoughts and emotional states—and these control the on/off switches of the genes inside our cells. Our cells can choose whether to follow the genetic blueprint depending on the signals being received from our total body environment. This is known as epigenetic control; the environment within our body—including our emotional terrain— controls our genetic expression, not the other way around.
Almost a century earlier, in a reading, Edgar Cayce said, “...excessive worry or mental stress might weaken the body and make it vulnerable to genetic influences.” He also said something we won’t find in scientific journals: In certain instances the genetic factor is so strong as to almost ensure that a particular problem will manifest. Such cases are “karmic,”...where the importance of viewing the condition as a lesson to be learned and an opportunity for growth was emphasized.
Every feeling you have affects some part of your body, and stress can wreak havoc on your physical health even if you’re doing everything right. Fortunately doing everything right mitigates the effects of stress: Having a good diet with a big vegetable salad every day; exercising daily, which releases endorphins (outdoors, if possible, and with attention to breathing); getting enough sleep in a cool, dark, calm, electronic-device free room; daily laughter; getting daily sunlight and/or Vitamin D3; and, according to Cayce, meditation, a spiritual practice that helps you feel peace and love, should be considered primary in one’s life.
A tool which Dr. Joseph Mercola highly recommends is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which can reprogram your body’s reactions and relationship to the emotional stressors of everyday life and eliminate emotional scarring to lasting effect. One should also seek the help of a licensed therapist when dealing with PTSD or grief.
Sip Bach’s flower remedy, “Rescue,” which is good to have at one’s fingertips in environments where stress may be expected (4 drops in 1⁄2 glass of water). B vita- mins are known to ease anxiety, and vitamin C (as ascorbate) can lower stress hormone levels. Adaptogens such as bacopa, cordyceps and ashwagandha help mediate stress, and L-Carnosine, anti-aging formula par excellence, lengthens chromosome telomeres.
Our happiness lies in our ability to adjust to the changing conditions around us. Our doctors still look upon us as an assemblage of organs. But we know we heal ourselves so it is up to us to live an informed, responsible and enlightened life, practicing gratitude and generosity and aware of the larger presence—a life that heals.
“For the body-physical becomes that which it assimilates from material nature. The body-mental be- comes that which it assimilates from both the physical mental and the spiritual mental. The soul is all of that the entity is, has been, or may be. (Edgar Cayce Reading 2475-1)
Sources: Mercola.com, Cayce Health Database, Life Ex- tension Magazine, Dr. G. Mate: “When the Body Says No...Exploring the Stress Disease Connection.”
Published in The Open Door, April-June 2014 issue
Images courtesy of Renjith Krishnan and Master Isolated Images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net