Modern day life is full of deadlines, frustrations and demands and there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to complete all tasks resulting in less time to exercise and relax.
Stress is all around us and we often look for comfort food during these times such as coffee or sweets and quick meals which are high in carbohydrates but low in nutrition to make us feel better. However these foods cause more stress to the pancreas, liver, kidneys and stomach, by increasing our acid and blood sugar levels. This results in a lowered immune system allowing our bodies to become prone to infections, tumors, cardiovascular disease, infertility and premature ageing.
Anything that puts demands on a person or forces them to adjust their life causes stress. Negative and positive events may cause stress. For example positive stressors are marriage, moving house, a new baby or getting a promotion. Negative stress may be caused from seemingly insignificant stressors such as leaving a social group or a change in working conditions to extremely high stressors such as a death of a close relative, illness or divorce.
Many health problems are exacerbated by stress, for example autoimmune diseases, skin conditions, such as eczema, insomnia, heart disease, depression and obesity. It is often difficult for someone to realize they suffer from stress. Some typical symptoms may include: irritability or short temper, depression, poor judgment, often feeling close to tears, having a reduced sex drive, frequent colds, procrastinating, feeling overwhelmed, drinking or smoking more, often feeling tired and sleeping badly.
Stress is a normal element of life and is mostly unavoidable. The way in which we cope with stress determines our response to stress.
Why is it that someone who has a good diet, exercises and is able to put time aside for relaxation is better equipped to cope in a stressful situation than someone who has poor lifestyle choices?
Perhaps it can be explained by referencing the Eastern meridian system. The meridians are energy pathways or channels that connect acupuncture points in the body. Our vital energy or chi is thought to flow along these meridians and anything that congests or disrupts the flow of chi causes stress along the meridians resulting in illness.
The stomach meridian relates to the acid / alkaline balance in the body. Our bodies require an alkaline environment for it to maintain good health. If however our diet includes mostly acid forming foods such as animal protein, alcohol, coffee and processed food, then our body’s pH will become acidic, adding stress to the stomach and causing congestions along the stomach meridian. These congestions may lead to disorders such as mouth ulcers, laryngitis, hiatus hernia, flatulence, digestive enzyme dysfunctions or lowered immunity.
Similarly if we eat sugar forming foods such as pasta, bread, pastries and too many fruits, the pancreas which controls the blood sugar level, is put under stress. This might result in congestions along the spleen/pancreas meridian, causing symptoms of thirst and digestive problems such as a spastic colon, inflammatory bowel disease, also knee pains or lateral breast sensitivity.
When someone is stressed they usually “need stimulants” such as caffeine so that they are able to “cope” with stress. Caffeine causes stress to the liver and problems along the liver meridian such as insomnia, mood swings, irritability, thyroid disorders leading to weight gain and low libido. Incidentally, all “symptoms” of stress.
Stress to the urinary system (bladder and kidneys) from drinking excessive amounts of water or fluid that does not contain the correct pH level will cause toxic congestion along the kidney and bladder meridians and lead to stress conditions such as hypertension. Approximately 1.5 litres is expelled daily from the body and an additional .5 litres via perspiration from the skin. If we drink two litres of fluid in a day and gain more via our foodstuff our body would need to expel more than its usual amount and would result in additional work and therefore stress on the urinary system. The body is not able to dispel this extra fluid, and waste products destined to be excreted, now risk being deposited in blood vessels, joints, tissues and organs.
An intake of alkaline forming nutrients such as herbal teas, lemon juice and fluids from organic vegetables are good for maintaining the correct ph and fluid levels in the body.
Modern day living makes it difficult to obtain natural, pure or organic foods and avoid exposure to environmental pollutants. Even concerted efforts to live as healthily as possible will not fully prevent some level of toxic build up and harmful exposure.
Toxins and waste block the energy pathways or meridians in the body. Organs, glands, body parts and acupuncture or meridian points are represented as reflex areas on the feet. By working specific reflex and meridian points with Reflexology, circulation is stimulated, toxins are broken down & vital energy is allowed to flow freely along the organ meridians. The body is then able to naturally restore balance and bring about good health. Reflexology assists the elimination of toxins thereby allowing the body to cope more efficiently with stress and most health conditions.
Natalie Holme, Therapeutic Reflexologist