Having worked with tens of thousands of patients over close to 40 years it’s become obvious that “STRESS” is directly related to the persistent symptoms of fatigue, energy, and adrenal overwhelm, which is classically associated with a compromised metabolism, as well as numerous associated issues involving immunity, G.I. compromises and hormonal imbalances, to name a few.
Perception of environmental threats suppresses a cell’s growth activities and causes it to modify its response by adopting a protection “posture. Suppressing growth mechanisms conserves valuable energy needed in exercising life-saving protection behaviors. In humans, a similar systemic switch functions to shut down our growth processes and prepares us for launching a protection response, commonly referred to as the fight, flight or freeze response.
This switching mechanism is mediated by the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis. The brain’s hypothalamus is instrumental in perceiving and assessing environmental signals. The perception of stress causes the hypothalamus to secrete corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF), which in turn, activates certain pituitary cells to release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) into the blood.
ACTH stimulates the adrenal gland to secrete adrenal hormones. These hormones constitute a “master switch” that regulates the systems growth-protection activity and routes vascular flow in preparation for “fight, flight and freeze” reactions. Firstly, adrenal hormones shunt blood from the viscera and redirect it toward the body’s somatic tissues, which adopt a protective posture. Reduced blood flow to the viscera, by definition, implies a suppression of growth-related behaviors.
Secondly, adrenal hormones directly inhibit the action of the immune system, the internal “protection” mechanism.
The adrenal system’s function is to protect the body from threats it perceives in the external environment. Adrenal suppression of the high budget immune system makes more energy available to the somatic system. Consequently, the more stress one experiences, the more susceptible they will be to dis-ease.
Adrenal hormones also reroute brain blood flow by constricting forebrain blood vessels and dilating hindbrain vessels. Fight or flight situations are more successfully handled using hindbrain-mediated reflex behaviors, as they are automatic and built into this primitive mechanism. Constriction of forebrain blood flow suppresses “logic” or “executive reasoning,” since slower thinking responses ultimately jeopardize fight-flight reactions.
By example, you may have experienced a loss of intelligence in response to adrenal-mediated “work stress” Collectively, HPA stress suppresses visceral-mediated growth, inhibits the immune system and stunts intelligence. The degree of expression of these influences is directly related to the level of perceived stress. The more stress, the less growth.
The interference with growth due to chronic stress leads to dis-ease, since the body is unable to adequately maintain its metabolic vitality. In conclusion, conventional allopathic medicine is now beginning to realize that genetic expression, which influences the character of the body, is under the control of the environment.
However, the growth or protection posture of an individual’s tissues and organs is mediated by the nervous system’s perception of its environment. Perceptions are beliefs. Misperceptions can inappropriately increase or decrease physiologic mechanisms and produce dis-ease. The role of perception and mind is now becoming a point of focus in allopathic healthcare, as they try to unravel the mysteries of the placebo effect and the role of psychosomatic stress.
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