The Total Stress Load Concept - Why Your Body May Not Be Healing Itself
We talk a lot about root causes in the alternative health community, as though by locating and pointing "it" out to the patient, we can help them eliminate their symptoms. Indeed, when chiropractic was founded in 1895, spinal misalignments were theorized to be a primary cause of disease, and a spinal correction could perform miracles for a patient's nervous system.1 Adjustments continue to play an important role in ensuring the flow of our amazing life force energy, but in this toxic millenium, it is important to take into account our total stress/toxin load when considering root causes of chronic health issues and our body's inability to fully and properly heal.2
Any stress or toxin exposure sets off the same sympathetic fight/flight response of the autonomic nervous system. In addition, toxins require anti-oxidants to neutralize the free radicals produced. We were born with different detoxification capacities, which is why some people notice the effects of toxicity much earlier in life than others. Simultaneous stress/toxin exposures lower this threshold for triggering the fight/flight response, and the accumulated free radical damage triggers inflammation and accelerated aging.
What stressors contribute to the total stress/toxin load?:
- structural/fascial - ie. atlas misalignment, scar tissue, adhesions
- emotional - current and past experiences, toxic relationships
- digestive dysfunction - mineral/vitamin absorption deficiencies, endotoxins from leaky gut
- immune - auto-immune reactions, inflammation, food sensitivities
- environmental - pesticides, fragrances, heavy metals, molds, food preservatives, BPA, flame retardants, etc.3
- infections - dysbiosis (viruses, fungi, parasites and bacterial imbalance)
- endocrine - cortisol/thyroid hormone imbalances, high insulin levels, estrogen/progesterone or testosterone imbalance
- neurotransmitter imbalance
- oxidative/mitochondrial - poor circulation, poor detoxification
- spiritual - lack of purpose/connection/trust in life
- or electromagnetic - interference from wifi, cellphones, computers, etc.4
The sympathetic fight/flight response causes the body to increase its heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate. Muscle tension increases, blood vessels constrict and prioritize blood away from the skin and digestive system to the muscles and brain. Digestion slows, the immune system is on high alert and blood platelets become "sticky" to help blood coagulation. The liver releases sugar in to the blood for energy. "The mind scans for danger, even magnifying threats that may not be serious...Emotions become magnified - irritability turns to anger, concern turns to anxiety, fatigue turns to depressed mood."5
On a short term basis, the body uses up its limited resources to prioritize its own survival. On a long term basis, these functions are destructive, decrease our ever dwindling reserves, and can result in subclinical conditions that eventually manifest into named diseases. Doctors who use the Functional Medicine Matrix of which total stress/toxin load is an underlying concept, recognize the complex interplay between all these factors in supporting and/or blocking the healing process.
Today, when a patient comes into the office with chronic health issues, we ask: If the body is so intelligent, why is it not healing itself? What are the factors that are blocking healing from occurring?
To find out, we conduct a thorough history, chiropractic exam, nutrition response testing and applied kinesiology to identify possible stressors specific to your situation. Using a myriad of techniques, including low force chiropractic approaches, myofascial deep tissue percussion, neuroemotional technique, nutritional/detox/lifestyle counseling, reiki/energy work, herbs and nutrient supplementation, we partner with you to help you decrease your total stress/toxin load so that you can rebuild your resilience and reclaim your vibrant health.
Here are some suggestions on how you can increase your total health load:
- minimize your toxic stressors (see above)
- eat organic/local nutrient-dense foods and drink clean water
- avoid food irritants/sensitivities/intolerances, processed food chemicals and sugar
- listen to your body and respect its limitations
- soak in a sensible amount of sunshine regularly
- prioritize a good night's sleep (by 10pm is ideal)
- engage in regular movement/exercise and sweat often
- touch the ground with your bare feet
- nourish yourself with regular laughter, hugs, reading, singing, dancing, planting, creating...
- lead a purposeful, loving, gratitude-filled life
- and find spiritual sustenance.
Those who work to increase their total health load, decrease their nervous system stress, and better maintain their structural alignment. They are able to activate and spend more time in parasympathetic rest/digest mode - this is when repair and rejuvenation occurs. They maximize their own body's healing abilities and save on future healthcare dollars.
Throughout my own journey, I have benefited from the monthly sessions with my own chiropractor which helps me to better understand my body. My healing process is dynamic, and my nutritional needs are evaluated regularly. I benefit from learning about and resetting any accumulated stress built up since the last visit. I walk my talk, and I look forward to serving you!
Click here for a sample of the free Niu Patient Workbook which discusses the role of chiropractic in promoting health and outlines more specific suggestions for lifestyle changes that can improve the body's ability to heal itself.
- Vertebral Subluxation on wikipedia.
- Dr. Charles Gant (Total Stress Load) and Dr. Sherry Rogers (Total Toxic Load)
- "Scientists estimate that everyone alive today carries within her or his body at least 700 contaminants, most of which have not been well studied." Chemical Body Burden website. "A study conducted on newborns by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from 10 babies born in August and September of 2004 in U.S. hospitals. Tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in the group. The umbilical cord blood of these 10 children, collected by Red Cross after the cord was cut, contained pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage." Green Mental Health Care: How to Get Off and Stay Off Psychiatric Drugs.
- Cynthia Perkins, How Toxins Make you Sick
- Stress Directions Inc.
Educated patients get the best results and save on future healthcare dollars! Below are valuable health articles posted on Niu Health Chiropractic's Facebook page.
Like us and select "Get Notifications" and "Show in Newsfeed" for the latest posts:
- Yet more compelling reasons to avoid sugar!: White Sugar's Burden
- How chronic stress/chronic toxins and their total load impacts the nervous system and wreaks havoc on the body's healing and repair systems: How Toxins Make You Sick
- ...when chiropractors clear your nerve system with an adjustment, not only does your physical body improve, but so does your mental focus and ability to express your true self :) The Part We Love the Most
- "These studies show links between fluoride exposure and kidney disease; pineal, thyroid, and reproductive gland problems; arthritis; and bone, tooth, and nervous system disorders. Reviews of the science also show that water fluoridation may not even prevent tooth decay....drinking fluoride in water is as dumb as eating sunscreen to prevent sunburn or swallowing condoms for safe sex!": Water Fluoridation: Folly or Fraud
- "Asthma, food allergies, chronic sinusitis, eczema, urticaria, migraine, irritable bowel, fungal disorders, fibromyalgia, and inflammatory joint disorders including rheumatoid arthritis are just a few of the diseases that can originate with leaky gut. It also contributes to PMS, uterine fibroids, and breast fibroids. Leaky Gut Syndrome is often the real basis for chronic fatigue syndrome and pediatric immune deficiencies.": Leaky Gut: Can This Be Destroying Your Health?
- Avoiding grains and flours for optimal health reasons? Whoa. Then what's left to eat? Lots! Here's a shopping list from Practical Paleo: Guide to Paleo Foods
- "Emerging evidence shows that contact with the Earth—whether being outside barefoot or indoors connected to grounded conductive systems—may be a simple, natural, and yet profoundly effective environmental strategy against chronic stress, ANS dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed HRV, hypercoagulable blood, and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease. The research done to date supports the concept that grounding or earthing the human body may be an essential element in the health equation along with sunshine, clean air and water, nutritious food, and physical activity." Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth's Surface Electrons
- "The health of the upper cervical spine is thus critically important to both blood and CSF flow and that makes it important to overall health. It is especially important to the health of the brain and cord. In addition to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis this site discusses many common and important health conditions related to upright posture."Brain Cooling and the Cranial Veins
- Food for thought! Why Are Americans Less Healthy?
- "What if your purpose is to take impeccable care of yourself so that you have the energy and joy to serve others?" The Myth of Finding Your Purpose
- "We are not slaves to our DNA. Our environment controls the activity of our genes. Our interpretation of the environment determines how our genes express themselves, and we can direct our interpretation of life's events. In short, we are not slaves to biochemical caprice. As sentient beings, we sculpt our biology..." Legacy and Lifestyle: Epigenetics and the Potential for Chiropractic
One of the core dietary recommendations we make, aside from avoiding your food sensitivities, is to avoid sugar, grains, dairy, and nightshades. See our Pinterest page for recipe ideas in line with our healing foods philosophy.
Spread the health - share this newsletter with your friends and family. Your referral could dramatically improve a loved one's quality of life!
Yours in health,
Dr. Christine T. Lipat, DC, CFMP, White Light and Karuna Reiki Master
Niu Health Chiropractic, Your Honolulu Chiropractor