As I have treated patients over the years I have seen how stress takes its toll on all health conditions. It constantly amazes me how stress seems to be the one of the main issues in most of the cases that I work with.
I have decided that stress management techniques are so important that in the past year I started taking mind-body trainings to improve my tool kit of stress management techniques to implement with my patients. Mind-body techniques involve different things including relaxation breathing, meditation, dancing and movement and guided imagery. I now create holistic health care plans to include nutrition, medical history, lab work, exercise, mind-body techniques and self-care. Mind-body skills play an important part of the plan because they work on the nervous, immune, and hormonal systems. These systems regulate all other systems in the body so it is important to keep them balance as part of the healing process. Managing stress speeds the healing process for any other disease and mind-body techniques allow you to do that.
Let’s take the example of the fight or flight response--this response is evoked when someone is feeling stressed or feels threatened. The physical responses are increased heart rate, an increase in respiratory rates, inhibited digestion, mobilized glucose stores, increased muscle tension, secretions of the stress hormones and increases of blood pressure. The emotions that are evoked are anxiety, hyper-vigilance, or feeling like one is in danger. This response should only last for a short period of time but in the fast paced world that we now live in people find themselves in this flight or flight response for long periods of time, and it contributes to disease processes. Our body tries to adapt and live in the state for a period of time but if we stay in it for months or years our stress gland can move into exhaustion. Once we reach exhaustion we can be so fatigued that we don’t have the energy to do normal daily activities. Exhaustion also pre-disposes people to chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, digestive complaints and others.