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Posts Tagged ‘Cameron Stauth’

EMOTIONAL BURDENS ARE A MAJOR CAUSE OF BACK PROBLEMS

“The object of anxiety is within ourselves. When we fail to consciously recognize our Natural and Sacred Anxiety they reappear wearing bizarre disguises and we fight these phantoms, monsters of our own creation. Yet we usually have no idea that we have done this; our habits of suppression have become so automatic that we are no longer aware of them. Thus we have the strange sensation that we are fighting ourselves, and when we are feeling from our self, there is no-where to run and nowhere to hide” Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety ~ Robert Gerzon

Your  body is a graphic expression of everything it has ever experienced; every event, every emotion and every stress and pain is locked within its bodily system.  Alternative healers and therapists have learned through years of experience to interpret the body’s visual clues that reveal a person’s pattern of feeling, thinking and acting; using this knowledge helps to  release tensions embedded as ‘residue of symptoms’ in our cells.

Most people don’t realize that within our bodies is a freely circulating giant plumbing system (lymphatic system) that continuously flows up to 10-15 litres of essential fluids at any one time. In healthy undamaged tissue, food is brought into muscles and waste is taken out through this process. In damaged tightened tissue however, contracted areas literally can’t release their waste, almost like a constipation effect, which blocks the exit of waste products.  As these waste products accumulate, nerves that are located in the muscle become irritated. These nerves then send pain signals to the brain, causing both physical and emotional discomfort. Overtime, the tightening of muscle fibres and accumulation of wastes form little ‘balls’ which you can actually feel when you press on tight muscles.

A build up of waste products is not all that happens when muscles tighten. Your body’s main information highway, the Center Nervous System (CNS – which is comprised of your brain and spinal chord), is also negatively affected. When muscles tighten, irritated nerve fibres feed back into the CNS continuously, signaling to it that something is wrong—causing a ‘white noise type of effect.

If you’ve ever tried to listen to a song on the radio through bad static you know how frustrating background noise can be. Your nervous system goes through the same thing as it tries to transmit information over a background of irritated nerve signals that distort its messages.

“It seems that the muscles and organs also have the capacity to trigger memories of our emotional reactions to specific events. Consequently, if we find ourselves experiencing something that’s similar and has a familiar emotional charge to it, we’ll sense it in specific parts of the body. For example, we might experience right shoulder tension every time we find ourselves feeling responsible for carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders, or we might have jaw discomfort every time we’re in a verbally contentious situation.

The body and knows and tells us through the muscles. They’ll freeze up, contract, and spasm as if altering the brain that something is up. And while anatomists can’t prove these sensory impulses to the brain via the nerves are actually emotions, they can show that what they evoke is the source of how experience emotions. To support their findings, they use the examples of how strong negative emotions are gut-wrenching, how they can freeze us in our tracks if we’re about to put ourselves in harm’s way, how anger changes the functioning of the heart, and how love makes the knees weak and the palms sweaty. “ Healing Happens With Your Help ~ Carol Ritberger

Muscles enable us to move, and contribute to our shape, as well as helping us to breathe, digest food, circulate blood, and perform many other bodily functions. There are two main types: the skeletal muscles that you can move voluntarily, and the involuntary muscles, like those of the heart, which move automatically.  Each end of a skeletal muscle is attached to a bone on either side of joint.

Complexes, traumas and unresolved issues from our early childhood often  seethe below the level of our consciousness. Almost all unresolved negative patterns and attitudes have a tendency to be pushed to the ‘back’ of the body; it’s the dumping ground, the place where all feelings and experiences that have caused us pain or confusion are buried.  For some of us, our whole life is built around suppressing what is back there—the longer issues of our past aren’t acknowledged—the more damage and wear-and tear they have on the skeletal and muscular part of the body.

In the upcoming articles on this bog, we’re going to explore the many metaphysical causes of back pain and muscle tension and several healing tools and techniques of healing them.  It is only a beginning point to give you your own direction. It has to be up to you to understand and become aware of gathering your own data, understanding it and applying it to your life.

PART ONE OF THIS SERIES

In Part One of Metaphysically Understanding Back Pain, we’re going to begin this series with the neck, ‘the point of connection’ between the head and trunk.

Tight muscles creating an armor in the upper back are often loaded with rage that was initially aimed at ourselves but then get projected outwards toward others. This can be seen in what is known as the ‘dowager’s hump’, a formation of soft tissue that builds in the upper back, most often in older women. It would appear to represent a collection of angry, and resentful thoughts that grow without the means for expression as the years pass; it manifests as we get older and as our reason or purpose for living loses impetus.” The BodyMind Workbook ~ Debbie Shapiro

Following Part One, we’ll discuss the fascia, which your muscles and organs are enfolded in—combined the fascia and muscle tissue (myofascia) define the contour of the body—together they form the structure and movement in the body. When your stressed or ‘uptight’, gastric juices increase, blood vessels go into spasm, particularly the coronary vessels of the heart. Muscles clench and contract, especially the back muscles, your fascia twists, turns, tightens and thickens causing muscular pain.  The muscles in fact appear to be held in a grip of fear.

The bones of your back speak metaphorically too, and there is a very close relationship between back pain and the nerves in and around your spine.  The brain’s electrical system is all about nerves and a cable system that conveys messages around the body.  The spine’s electrical system includes  the myelin sheaths.  These insulated nerve fibres protect messages as they pass to and from the brain without getting jumbled, weakened or lost. It also helps maintain healthy connections between different parts of the brain, which is vital to process information in a multi-faceted way.

We’ll journey through the 33 vertebrae in the five sections or regions of the spine. You have seven vertebrae in your neck or cervical region; twelve in the mid-back, known as the thoracic or dorsal region; (these are the vertebrae attached to your ribs) and five vertebrae (largest of all) in the low back or lumbar region—two other ‘immobile’ sections are the sacrum and the coccyx. The entire package amounts to a mechanism that can bend and twist, turn and squirm, shake and wiggle and do just about anything else within the range of human motion. But just as easily it can stiffen up, resist, hold itself rigid, causing  nerve irritation, muscle tightness, fatigue, muddled thinking, anxiety disorders, chronic stress, insomnia, etc..

The mind/body connection is about turning inward and preparing yourself for reflecting or mirroring on the story of your life. Hopefully this metaphysical series on understanding back pain will act as catalyst to move you into deeper levels of inner awareness. The metaphysical explanations and various techniques and imageries may help you to see real connections between the physical and spiritual world and discover deeper meanings of our emotions and their connection to illness and pain.

Be patient with your healing and respect the fact that true healing takes time. If you’ve been in pain for a while, it will probably take you 25% of that time, to work on all aspects of your problem to generate significant lasting healing change.

“Much of what creates a great athlete, as well as a great meditator, is the ability to become acutely conscious of the simple actions that most people perform unconsciously. In Medical Meditation, these actions include not just breathing, but also postures and movement. Advanced meditators are just as conscious of their movements and postures as they are of their breathing and their state of mind.” The Healing Elements of Medical Meditation ~ Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. and Cameron Stauth

to be continued…..

ravenstarshealingroom@gmail.com

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“Compared to bipolar’s magic, reality seems a raw deal. It’s not just the boredom that makes recovery so difficult, it’s the slow dawning pain that comes with sanity – the realization of illness, the humiliating scenes, the blown money and friendships and confidence. Depression seems almost inevitable. The pendulum swings back from transcendence in shards, a bloody, dangerous mess. Crazy high is better than crazy low. So we gamble, dump the pills, and stick it to the control freaks and doctors. They don’t understand, we say. They just don’t get it. They’ll never be artists.” ~ David Lovelace

Creativity does seem to feed off emotional turmoil and often in the works of great poets we can feel the soul’s pain and turmoil. In fact, heightened imaginative powers, depression, insomnia, fatigue, rapid thoughts, inflated self-esteem, panic attacks, rage and intense emotions all swim about in an ocean of ever changing moods of heightened creativity and suicidal tendencies.  It is within this ocean that brilliance is born and fed by the storms raging in many artists’ minds.

“I was diagnosed bipolar 6 years ago. I recently decided to come off my meds. I’ll admit it took me a while to cope with certain situations and learn to focus and concentrate on just taking one day at a time. I’ve learned to cope through eating healthy, exercising and trying to get at least 8 hrs sleep a night. It’s no walk in the park, I’ll tell ya. I have to be very strict with myself and stick to my routines. If I’m feeling low and unmotivated I make myself exercise, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. I’ve learned this removes a buildup of toxins and gets my happy chemicals moving. I take 6000 units of vitamin D daily and a 100 mgs of a B multi-vitamin twice a day. The doctor gives me injections of vitamin B12 once a month to keep my energies up. It’s very common for individuals with mood disorders to have low vitamin B levels. I also keep close contact with my doctor. I don’t think there is a cure for Bi Polar. I do however think it can be managed. For me it always comes back to quality of life or quantity of life. Everyone is different. Medication helped me when I was very unwell. I’ve learned what works for me.” (Matthew B.)

I do believe we need to find a better way of treating manic depression, rather than through high dosages of lithium and antipsychotic drugs. Even uses of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs) and/or stimulants can be linked to the onset of some manic symptoms.  As well, many people on medication for bipolar disorder have complained this kind of treatment has stifled their creative abilities.  Some famous authors suffering from manic depression have said that their suffering is a part of who they are and that without it they couldn’t create. Many turned to drugs and alcohol to counter the effects of their medication or to get relief from their symptoms. In fact people suffering from bipolar disorder are 10 times more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol than most other people because they turned to these substances to help counter the effects of their medication or to get other relief from their symptoms.

We are all born with genetically programmed instincts, which are located in the primitive brain (limbic system).  The limbic system focuses inward on our survival, our emotions and our nurturing needs. When you feel depressed or anxious, these feelings originate from the limbic system but involve the cortex as well, since depression diminishes our insights and judgments as well as our lack of motivation and attention.

What we think, how we feel, what we assimilate into our beings at every stage of life and at every level has a cumulative affect that directly impacts our states of being, influencing our physical hormones, genetic make-up, neural processing etc. And the condition of our states of physical being also affects our states of mind.

Environmental factors also play a significant role. For example, many people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) later develop bipolar disorder. Repetitive traumas suffered throw the body into a constant state of stress and research shows that stress can induce the hippocampus to remodel itself and shrink. Hormones are also involved. Additional considerations involve head and/or neck injuries.

“World champion boxer Frank Bruno was sectioned for 28 days in a psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003 following his marriage break-up. He describes his behavior in the run up to his breakdown: ‘I got confused and snappy and impatient. I couldn’t, couldn’t, couldn’t function. Losing my wife, seeing my kids less regularly, not eating properly, staying up late, living by myself, getting uptight, wound up, over stupid little things [ … ] It’s like a kettle. I wish I could put a hole in my head and let the steam out.’ “Bipolar Disorder: The Ultimate Guide ~ by Sarah Owen, Amanda Saunders

Although the brain, especially the limbic system is quite complex let’s look at specific areas that are related to our most primitive and potent emotional signals.  It has been proven that the limbic system (emotional reactions and emotional memories) can actually hijack other parts of the brain, especially when so overcome with anger, fear or passion, excitement.  You see the limbic brain jumps in when it proclaims an emergency, even before the neocortex, the thinking brain, has had a chance to reason out what is happening.

“Lithium tweaks many mood-altering chemicals in the brain, and its effects are complicated. Most interesting, lithium seems to reset the body’s circadian rhythm, its inner clock. In normal people, ambient conditions, especially the sun, dictate their humors and determine when they are tuckered out for the day. They’re on a twenty-four-hour cycle. Bipolar people run on cycles independent of the sun. And run and run.” ~ Sam Kean, ~ The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

The brain responds to chemical changes, by adjusting the feelings and thoughts within the physical body. Psychologists have shown us that we can react a whole variety of ways to one single hormone—this mostly depends upon our expectations.  The parts of the brain that are involved in thought, memory and sensations are connected by direct neural pathways with emotional centers—and  with the pituitary gland that controls hormone output.  The pituitary actually suspends from the hypothalamus, which controls emotion, appetite and desire.

There does seem to be a stress loop that connects the adrenal glands, brain, hypothalamus, and pituitary together, which then flows back to the adrenals again, pushing them way out of kilter.  This stress loop also affects the other endocrine glands creating a continual cycle of stress in the body, causing bizarre mood swings, muscle tension, stiffness, eating disorders, depression, heart palpitations, excessive sweating and migraines. Too much cortisol in the blood damages our memories, our learning capabilities and our creativity.  This stress cycle will, if not corrected, eventually affect the immune system.

“If you are suddenly anxious, under threat, or furious about something, your brain via your pituitary gland tells your adrenal glands to pump up production of epinephrine, cortisol and other hormones to put your body into high alert. Once the threat goes away and you “cool off,” the adrenal glands stop their escalation of hormones. However, if your mind ruminates about the anxiety and threatening events, with such thought patterns as “It’s hopeless”; “My life is a disaster”; “things should be different!”, and “This is unfair!” your adrenal glands continue to overproduce cortisol and estrogen. This leads to your pancreas secreting more insulin, and you get symptoms of what is commonly known as “adrenal gland exhaustion.” All is Well ~ Louise L. Hay and Mona Lisa Schulz

Continual high adrenaline (epinephrine) levels cause the repetitive release of insulin increasing carbohydrates to convert to fat in the liver.  Weight gain and obesity add to ill effects to the endocrine system, muscle joints, and digestion, with loss energy and self esteem.  In bipolar people, this is all that is necessary to produce insulin insensitivity and, ultimately diabetes.  These are genuine threats to their health.

“A balance of thyroid hormone in the brain is crucial for maintaining mood stability. If you suffer from a deficit or an excess of thyroid hormone resulting from a dysfunctioning gland, you may even experience clear-cut mood swing disorder. Severe hypothyroidism has even been blamed for causing manic-depression, with poor judgment and hallucinations. Doctors always wonder, however, whether such patients might not have preexisting minor forms of manic-depression, which have become more severe as a result of the thyroid imbalance.

 Hyperthyroidism can also cause mood swings in a person who does not have a preexisting mood disorder. In some people, an overactive thyroid can result in an elated mood called “hypomania” or “mania” depending on whether the elation is moderate (hypomania involves no major behavioral disturbances) or severe (mania is associated with irrational behavior). In some patients, the thyroid condition may not be diagnosed until several years after the onset of the mood swing disorder that it caused  ~ The Thyroid Solution: A Revolutionary Mind-Body Program for Regaining Your Emotional and Physical Health ~ Ridha Arem

LITHIUM AND THE BRAIN

 “Lithium tweaks many mood-altering chemicals in the brain, and its effects are complicated. Most interesting, lithium seems to reset the body’s circadian rhythm, its inner clock. In normal people, ambient conditions, especially the sun, dictate their humors and determine when they are tuckered out for the day. They’re on a twenty-four-hour cycle. Bipolar people run on cycles independent of the sun. And run and run.” ~ Sam Kean, The Disappearing Spoon

The brain is what helps you to make sense of the world, taking in information from your environment and sending messages throughout your body. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch are not only an essential part of our memories, they help to understand the changes happening around us.  But any change in the brain, even the subtlest change, can have a major impact on our feelings, thoughts and action.

Suppose you were given a chemical that blocked the absorption of the vitamin niacin in your central nervous system. The result would be “instant mental illness,” most likely violence, during which you might smash all the furniture, throw it out the window, then run out into the street and attack a total stranger passing by who had stopped to watch the ruckus.

“For some people, use of antidepressant drugs and/or stimulants can be linked to the onset of some manic symptoms. Research has shown that B complex deficiencies commonly occur in 80 percent of bipolar people. Also, many bipolars are anemic, with low levels of B12 and folic acid, and shown a lower uptake of inositol when compared to a control group. So orthomolecular physicians have now paired the use of lithium with the intake of daily B complex vitamins, which work synergistically with lithium. In this way, high lithium doses can be substantially reduced, thus eliminating many devastating side effects.”  ~ Depression-Free Naturally: 7 Weeks to Eliminating Anxiety, Despair, Fatigue And Anger From Your Life ~ Joan Matthews Larson, Ph.D.

Our blood circulates the love of life from the heart throughout our whole body.  When we are anemic, we are deficient in red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues and removes carbon dioxide.  One of the causes of anemia in manic depressives, is excessive blood cell destruction which can be metaphysically explained as ‘losing one’s will to live. When we feel discouraged, hopeless or helpless we lose touch with our needs and desires—we feel as if we’re withering away.

“The messages we unconsciously give our bodies are thus a determining factor in our state of wellness. Messages based on failure, despair and anxiety are ones that present a negative, dying feeling and will cause the body to react by breaking down the defence mechanisms (that is, the immune system) and preparing for death. Even if our worries and fears are imaginary, the message will still translate into physical illness as our bodies feel endangered and threatened”. ~ Debbie Shapiro ~ The BodyMind Workbook 

Research at the National Institute of Mental Health suggests that bipolar people are hypersensitive to acetylcholine, a chemical that carries memory messages in the brain. They found that cholinergic receptors (the chemical hitching posts on cells that receive acetylcholine) are far more numerous in the brains of manic depressives.

(Acetycholine controls the brain’s speed, creativity, self-esteem, criticism, short-term memory, language, sensory impressions and interpretations, speech, reading and thought. It also controls all muscle contractions.)

One substance that blocks acetycholine is lithium, which we all have in low levels. It is one of the best drugs, at the moment, for treating bipolar depression.  But is it the best treatment?

Psychiatric News outlined the widespread difficulties that lithium causes in an article called “Lithium and Memory Loss.” Besides causing memory loss, the high does of lithium needed to stop manic moods are often toxic to the nervous system, causing tremors in many users. And at high levels lithium suppresses thyroid function and can cause hypothyroidism and mental confusion.

“Scientists have gained insight into why lithium salts are effective at treating bipolar disorder in what could lead to more targeted therapies with fewer side-effects.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120313103922.htm

“I have often asked myself whether, given the choice, I would choose to have manic-depressive illness. If lithium were not available to me, or didn’t work for me, the answer would be a simple no… and it would be an answer laced with terror.

 But lithium does work for me, and therefore I can afford to pose the question. Strangely enough, I think I would choose to have it. It’s complicated…” ~  Kay Redfield Jamison

“Lithium, don’t want to lock me up inside.

Lithium, don’t want to forget how it feels without…

Lithium, I want to stay in love with my sorrow.

Oh, but God, I want to let it go.” ~ – Lyrics from “Lithium” by band EVANESCENCE

NEUROTRANSMITTERS

A neurotransmitter is a brain chemical specifically for communication that happens between brain cells.  It’s incredible that these neurotransmitters can zigzag and flash through the mass of brain neurons at speeds of up to 150 mph carrying your every thought and feelings.  Of the 100 identified, the one’s best known are: acetylcholine, dopamine, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin.

Everyday our neuropeptides try to work hard to keep us functioning at a peak performance but chemicals, food colorings, sugar, trans-fats, food preservatives, traffic fumes, second hand smoke, stress, anxiety and lack of sleep slows them down.  One of the best ways to boost your dopamine is exercise, swimming, biking walking and running. Playing board games and computer games help to replenish dopamine too. Walking in nature enhances GABA, and creative writing (poems, songs) help to restore acetylcholine.  Violent movies and loud ‘hard’ music or angry words decrease the production of acetylcholine.

“[An] exciting safe substance that has a lithium-like effect on the brain is the amino acid taurine, which is a calming inhibitory neruotransmitter that naturally blocks the effect of excitatory transmitters like acetycholine. Manic depressives have very low taurine levels when measured in the lab. A taurine deficiency cuases far greater symptoms in women than mean (hypothyroid, lethargy, and depression), and bipolar disorder is twice as common in women. Science also documents hereditary depression in taurine-deficient persons. Taurine has been successfully substituted for lithium (500 mg. three times daily) and, unlike lithium has no side effects.” Depression-Free Naturally: 7 Weeks to Eliminating Anxiety, Despair, Fatigue And Anger From Your Life ~ Joan Matthews Larson, Ph.D.

And from another source…..

“Taurine is an amino acid made in the liver from cysteine that is known to play a role in the brain by eliciting a calming effect. A deficiency of this amino acid may increase a bipolar patient’s manic episodes. In addition, eighty percent of bipolar sufferers have some vitamin B deficiencies (often accompanied by anemia [46]. The combination of essential vitamin supplements with the body’s natural supply of lithium reduces depressive and manic symptoms of patients suffering from bipolar disorder [47]. ~ Functional Foods: The Connection Between Nutrition, Health and Food Science ~ edited by Leah Coles

THE LIMBIC BRAIN

LIMBIC SYSTEM

The main transportation of the nervous system is the brain.  It is the best organized 3 lbs of matter in the known universe.  Tens of billions of tiny nerve cells transmit electrical signals from the nerves to the brain.  And each nerve cell in the brain is connected to many other cells in the brain and is affected by them.  The whole brain hums actively firing in circuits or loops, round and round like a pinwheel, throwing off sparks of energy on each cycle.  Great masses of nerve cells unite together to create a marvelous orchestra which plays thoughts of truth and beauty, which creates creative imagination.

“How do billions of nerve cells within the brain communicate with each other? One way is through the amazing molecules called chemical messengers or neurotransmitters. These substances are made within each nerve cell and are secreted through the synapse, the space between one cell and the next. The “mood pathways” in the brain that we have been referring to consist of the chemical messenger systems that travel through and innervate the prefrontal-limbic complex”. Women’s Moods ~ Deborah Sichel, M.D., and Jeanne Watson Driscoll, M.s., R.N., C.S.

Carl Sagan on the Brain http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SHc67Hep48

When symptoms of depression and anxiety occur, they originate from the limbic brain, but they involve the cortex as well, since severe depression is associated with diminished eyesight, poor judgment, lack of motivation and attention—all functions of the higher levels of brain. As the brain evolved over time, the cortex grew larger and we developed the capacity to control our emotions, hold back our anger and modify the impulses coming from the more primitive part of the brain called the limbic.

The cortex is divided into two halves or hemispheres and each holds a different function—though separate, these two halves are joined by a boomerang-shaped band of fibers’ or bridge call the corpus callosum which allows the left-brain and right-brain to talk to each other.

The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and enables us to figure out problems logically, to speak and write, to understand science and numbers.  The right side of the brain controls your left side of the body and is your creative side—this is where your vivid imagination and artistic ability comes from and your love for music.

“Rich connections also exist between the amygdala in the temporal lob of the brain and the stomach. These connections allow our intense emotions—fear, anxiety, anger and rage, threat, intimidation—to be felt in the stomach and abdomen.  Since the amygdala plays an important role in memory, it can also moderate the degree to which adverse or traumatic experiences can produce changes in the GI system.  In animals the amygdala controls whether the animals feel resilient (powerful) or vulnerable in stress situations.  The more helpless the feeling in the face of threat, restraint, and aggression, the greater the individual’s likelihood of developing ulcers”.   AWAKENING INTUITION Mona Lisa Schulz

We are all born with genetically programmed instincts which are located in what’s called the primitive brain or amygdala which in the fight/flight response showers the body and brain with chemicals, quickly turning the stress button ON.  When we sense danger, the autonomic (instinctual) nervous system signals the body to release the hormone adrenaline into the blood stream, providing instant energy to the hearts, lungs, and muscles.  We are pumped up and ready to fight or run.

“A fundamental assumption in this work is that the brain has multiple memory systems, each devoted to different kinds of memory functions. For traumatic memory, two systems are particularly important. For example, if you return to the scene of an accident, you will be reminded of the accident and will remember where you were going, who you were with, and other details about the experience. These are explicit (conscious) memories mediated by the hippocampus and other aspects of the temporal lobe memory system. In addition, your blood pressure and heart rate may rise, you may begin to sweat, and your muscles may tighten up. These are implicit (unconscious) memories mediated by the amygdala and its neural connections”. Joseph LeDoux

HYPOTHALAMUS AND PITUITARY

The hypothalamus controls the autonomic nervous system, regulating temperature, water metabolism, reproduction, hunger and thirst, and our state of alertness. It’s responsible for turning the stress switch on in the body—stimulating the fight or flight reaction, raising the blood pressure, the heart rate, and breathing rate—it also has centers for emotions: anger, fear, pain, and pleasure.

Connected to the hypothalamus, and continually influencing it are the ‘higher’ centers of the brain which give us our senses, memory, creativity and thought.  So theoretically, our hormone cycles could be controlled by the power of pure thought.

The pituitary gland hangs like a little round bag from the hypothalamus and controls the total balance of hormones in the body. We have come to call it the Master Gland of the body, also known as the ‘seat of the mind’. Its frontal lobe regulates emotional thoughts such as poetry, art and music, and the anterior lobe regulating concrete thought and the analytical mind.  You could say it is our mission control center that continually sends messages to all the other glands in our body and regulates our sexual development.

Hormones, like the rest of our bodies are created from the food we eat. In order to create all the hormones we need in sufficient quantities, we have to get enough of the nutrients they’re composed of and to make enzymes and other substances that affect the production, metabolism and functioning of our hormones.

When we are reacting to either food, or a situation, or a person, or to the weather, we are actually responding to a signal that started from the hypothalamus to the pituitary gland.  The signal may be in the form of comfort or discomfort, but if we could learn how to listen to these signals that are being sent to us, all the time from within us, then, we’d realize that these signals affect our moods, our behavior, our perceptions, our tastes, our habits, our attraction to other people, our appetites, our urges and so on.  Knowing your body/mind, allows you to ‘tune’ into yourself and of course to others. This allows the pituitary to analyze situations before taking action.

When we’re under stress the brain immediately responds by triggering the release of specific hormones from the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenal gland areas (HPA axis).  Acute and chronic stress triggers the fight/flight response causing our heart and breathing to increase, and the blood vessels to constrict—adrenaline starts to flow through the body, digestion shuts down as blood is shunted away from the digestive tract and sent to the muscles. Most people after a particularly frightful or angry encounter,feel exhausted. They suddenly feel the need to sleep or pull away from the problem.

During traumatic stress, stress neuropeptides norepinephrine and cortisol disconnect the left-brain “talk” memory systems, but simultaneously turn up the process. The neurotransmitter norepinephrine turns on the domino effect of depression to disease in the body, and acetylcholine turns off the inflammatory cascade.

Elevated levels of adrenaline can also cause an elevation in triglycerides, which are fats in the blood, and elevation of blood sugar…also not good. Elevated levels of adrenaline over time can also cause blood to clot faster (which contributes to plaquing), the thyroid too becomes overly stimulated, and the body produces more cholesterol.

“In the last decade, neurobiologists have reported structural differences in at least two regions of the human brain.  One is the corpus callosum, the mind’s big “telephone” cable, connecting as it does hundreds of millions of neurons between the two hemispheres.  The other is the hypothalamus, the master controller for the integration of many basic behavioral patterns from temperature regulation and appetite to sex drives—involving brain and endocrine functions, Neuroendocrine research also strongly indicates that nervous system differences begin as sex hormones bathe the developing fetus in the womb.  Hormonal differences continuing through childhood—and perhaps even through adult life—affect brain activity and guide performance.  Other studies suggest that men and women may process the same information differently and yet come to the same of similar conclusion.”  Kathryn Phillips

Cortisol stays in the body longer than adrenaline, interferes with digestion and suppresses the immune system allowing tumors if present, to grow faster. Cortisol can create a fearful, threatened feeling that overstimulates our whole system. Unexplained muscle aches, chronic headaches, feeling hopeless or helpless and crying more than usual are signs of chronic overarousal. Anxiety coupled with cortisol has been known to cause unexplained heart palpitations, a nervous stomach, road rage and short temperedness.)

The pituitary happens to sit quite comfortably just above the sphenoid bone, which looks very much like a throne made of wings. Side by side these wings have long been referred to as the ‘Swan’, (although to me they look more like the wings of a bat) and in Grail lore the Swan is symbolic of the fully enlightened being. This is the ultimate realm of consciousness achieved by the medieval Knights of the Swan, such as Perceval and Lohengrin. One of the functions of the sphenoid is to solidify and stabilize our digested memories and patterns with the imagination so that we are able to do what we call visualizing, or inner seeing.

For further information on the pituitary and endocrine glands go here

THE PINEAL GLAND

Resembling a pine cone, the pineal gland, located just above the pituitary gland, secretes the hormone melatonin, a light sensitive hormone known to affect sleep, mood and the reproductive cycle.  Usually levels of this hormone rise at night and subside at dawn. In Part I of this series we learnt that melatonin is associated with Season Affective Disorder (SAD) especially in the darker seasons like Autumn and Winter.

The pineal gland acts in two ways to inhibit the action of the pituitary gland. First, the pituitary gland is responsible for activating adolescence and the beginning of sexuality, and the pineal gland checks the pituitary gland to prevent premature sexual awakening. Second, human thought is regarded as a result of suspended action, and the pineal gland holds back your thoughts from charging recklessly into action. It says whoa slow down and think about the chain of reactions and repercussions caused by the thoughts you want to put into action.   It forces you to submerge (like a submarine whose captain yells dive, dive) deep into your own  subconscious waters, using the perascope to see into your thoughts regarding the surface of your outer reality.  When the external world disappears, we fall back into ourselves, kind of like a falling star or a deep sea diver.  Our whole energy pattern contracts because we’re tuned into our own station.  When we plug into our own broadcast, it magnetizes  “spiritual light” like a beacon stimulating the pineal gland to stand straight up attracting and releasing a tremendous amount of powerful energy!  In order for your desire, good or ill to manifest, the pineal gland must join together with the pituitary to create an eclipse, a conjunction, a merging of these two glands creates an opening  what mystics have called the third eye (a higher form of intelligence)

THE SEAT OF ALL PASSION – THE AMYGDALA

The amygdala’s main role is emotion, including what we call intuition. It plays a major role in dreaming, and religious and spiritual experience, Including telepathy and ESP.

“Our world is only one in a cluster of consecutive worlds, arranged like the layers of an onion. Even though we have been energetically conditioned to perceive solely our world, we still have the capability of entering into those other realms, which are as real, unique, absolute, and engulfing as our own world is.” Carlos Castenadas ~ The Art of Dreaming

In the human brain, the amygdala normally filters out most of reality, yet, when its hyperactivated, you will suddenly be able to experience what is normally filtered out—you will suddenly be able to see and taste sound, you can feel colors, and you can experience realms of reality that are normally suppressed.

When bipolar individuals are manic, passion and enthusiasm for life is not without its dangers.  When the amygdala is in a hyperactive state, manics can be carried along in a reckless pace. When passion veers out of control they experience a highly unrelaxing force that when it overwhelms them, their sense of true passion is lost.

“Then, as time rolls on, my head really speeds up; ideas are moving so fast they’re stumbling over each other and I begin to get this sense of power–power over other people. I begin to feel that what I think and do is of significance to those around me, even to the universe at large. I think of myself as having special insight, as understanding things that others do not, and with a special capacity to lead. I recognize now that these are warning signs.”  ~ Stephan Szabo

The amygdala, an almond-shaped structure in the limbic brain is also the brain’s alerting system to stressful and emotional situations. When triggered by stress or anxiety, it alerts several bodily systems—the gut, skin, heart, muscles, eyes, face, ears, and adrenals to be on the lookout for incoming stimuli.  The amygdala notes threats in the environment and decides whether you should freeze, run or fight for your life.  Imprinted onto the amygdala’s memory are massive fears and traumatic incidents that affected you since your birth (even registering unbearable pain in others).  Many of your fears were instigated by your parents in the very early part of your life ‘before’ you developed your ability to think things through.

The amygdala controls the production of neurotransmitters, *serotonin and norepinephrine—low serotonin levels cause us to be impulsive, aggressive, anxious, restless, and depressed—exhibit compulsive habits including overeating and drug and alcohol abuse.

The more active the amygdala becomes, the more you’ll struggle to keep your emotions steady. You may get mad at people for no reason and replay memories and conversations in your head that happened years ago. It’s like every waking moment of your day is spent muttering about something you have no control over.  The amygdala is like a runaway horse, going where it wants, with you barely hanging on—the more you hold on—the more energized the amygdala becomes.  And the stronger the amygdala—the tighter your muscular system becomes and the more tense the mind.

The Amygdala and Hypersexuality

“When that pure, euphoric filling hits I become hypersexual—sex is a no-no word even to the doctors, but we have to talk about it!!!  When I’m manic, I can literally have sex with anything that moves—and the truth is I really couldn’t care less about the other person—it’s a conquest, a game, that’s thrilling and fun—a game that can last for hours or days!!  My biggest problem with this is—I’m married!!” (Bipolar woman) 

“I take antidepressants which is like a chemical neutering because it takes away all my sexual desires. (Peter T.)

“When hypersexual I keep myself locked up so i don’t do anything stupid or crazy—it’s like i become very promiscuous and then I feel shameful, dirty and filled with regret”(Susan W.)

“Though hypersexuality may present itself as just one aspect in a constellation of problems, it is often the most destructive and challenging part of bipolar disorder—troubling families of young children suffering from juvenile hypersexuality, ruining marriages, generating life-threatening health problems. “The one thing I regret is what I did to my husband,” says Bev, a middle-aged woman from rural Quebec who was diagnosed with bipolar a few years ago. “He was a good man and we would have had a good retirement together.”http://www.bphope.com/Item.aspx/522/opening-the-door-on-hypersexuality

THE HIPPOCAMPUS

“The stress response can also literally poison the brain—because it causes excessive secretion of the adrenal hormone cortisol.  Cortisol is released at about the same time adrenaline is.  However it stays in your system much longer than adrenaline does, and that creates a terrible problem.  Cortisol gives your hippocampus, as well as other parts of your brain, a highly destructive ‘toxic bath’.  It can be so destructive that your brain may never again recover absolutely all of its cognitive function.” Brain Longevity by Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. with Cameron Stauth

 The amygdala adjoins the hippocampus, known as the ‘library of short-term memories’ which converts short term experiences into long term memories and then stores them in other parts of the brain.  (Your hippocampus is active right now as your reading this.)

The brain receives up to ten billion pieces of information per second.  Negative emotional shocks such as fear, tension, stress, frustration, anger and guilt are stored in the brain and sorted in order by a nervous structure called the reticulate ‘substance’ or ‘formation’. Metaphysical causes of the body happen when emotional residue pours into your organs causing pain and discomfort.

 “A fundamental assumption in this work is that the brain has multiple memory systems, each devoted to different kinds of memory functions. For traumatic memory, two systems are particularly important. For example, if you return to the scene of an accident, you will be reminded of the accident and will remember where you were going, who you were with, and other details about the experience. These are explicit (conscious) memories mediated by the hippocampus and other aspects of the temporal lobe memory system. In addition, your blood pressure and heart rate may rise, you may begin to sweat, and your muscles may tighten up. These are implicit (unconscious) memories mediated by the amygdala and its neural connections”. Joseph LeDoux

Repetitive traumas will throw the body into a constant state of anxiety and stress causing the hippocampus to remodel itself and shrink. There are studies out there saying that antidepressants help the hippocampus grow new cells in people with Bipolar, PTSD and other emotional traumas.

THALAMUS

The thalamus is the key relay station or distribution center, transporting incoming information from all parts of the nervous system.  It’s important for processing all sensory data (taste, pain and memory) except smell. “Thalamus” means “couch” in Greek: it is where the cerebral hemispheres sit.

When the thalamus isn’t working as it should, it’s most likely because we are feeling disconnected from our ‘true self’. When we lose touch with our authentic self we feel as if everything in life is piling on top of us.  Life is messy, chaotic and very confusing. This loss of self is an underlying problem with several types of addictive and compulsive disorders such as alcohol and mind alerting drugs.

There is no doubt the earth’s changing energies are intensifying our emotions and feelings. The news tells this to us daily with more and more violent crimes. More antidpressant pills are being taken more than ever. More people are in prison, and more people suffer from serious mental illness than ever before.  I think the root of our problems are literally from anything that upsets the safety of our world—a world that is continually changing.  The earth’s magnetic field has a mutual relationship with both the sun and moon and with all the life forms of the ‘biosphere’ (plants, bacteria, fish insects, mammals).  Although this field is subtle it influences the behavior of every living organism.  We are no exception as we contain an auric field generated by the beating of our hearts and by all our body processes…but our body rhythms respond to fluctuations in the earth’s magnetic field—and our bodies are polarized—the head end negative and the tail or feet positive—similar to a battery.

“Fleeing the raw, wounded places in ourselves because we don’t think we  can handle them is a form of self-abandonment”. John Welwood

If you grew up in a troubled family, more than likely you had to hide your true self to survive and what we call the ‘false self’ dominated most of your life. You soon learned that you could never win the full approval of your parents, no matter how much effort you put forward.  Nothing was ever good enough and you never felt quite accepted and you never learnt to accept yourself either—everything you did was a perfect performance for someone else.  This mask is who we pretended to be in an atmosphere of abuse or neglect from within or, later, outside the family.

I do believe, though, that the ‘child within’ still has needs, and from time to time will peep out or show itself through manic behaviors or violent explosive emotions—often hurting the child or someone else.  If these behaviors continue, they could result later in life as eating disorders, compulsive gambling, religious addiction, workaholism, mental illness and family violence.

INTRODUCING PART III ~ Bipolar

Inside each of us is a variety of subpersonalities (archetypes) (eg., the hero, the victim, the nurturer) that contribute to how we respond to life experiences.

In Part III on Manic Depression we’re going to look at astrological charts of three different people diagnosed with manic depression who’ve worked very hard on  themselves and continue to do so through the aid of self-help groups, books, divination, therapies and frequent visits to their doctors.

We’re going to look at several different aspects, including the association of the moon with one’s home, family life and mother, motherhood and long-term bonds and behaviors.  Anatomically the moon represents the stomach, thus it emphasizes a direct link between what we eat and how we feel. It also provides clues to what may be “eating” at us. Psychology rarely studies the role the moon and how it plays in respect to changing moods or the sensations these give rise to, especially with people with bipolar.  Each of us responds to the moon’s cycle in our own unique way and looking at the moon phases, we can learn from them.

Astrology and numerology are a form of divination containing an internal communication network providing us with clues to our mental, physical, and emotional framework; they help us understand our body’s present state including all its past history. Step by step they point us in the right direction, guiding us through the healing process.

To be continued….

ravenstarshealingroom@gmail.com

Great Links….

This blog takes you to into the heart of a bipolar  https//bruisedbybipolar.wordpress.com

Excellent Lecture on the Limbic System ~ Sex, Hallucinations, Emotions, Memory, PTSD, Amygdala    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7nXiXQb2iM   

What is Lithium   http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?  Section=About_Medications&Template=/TaggedPage/TaggedPageDisplay.cfm&TPLID=51&ContentID=20820

Bipolar Disorder and Highly Sensitive People    mentalhealthtalk.info/bipolar_hsp

Bipolar Disorder and Brain   http://www.brainexplorer.org/bipolar_disorder/Bipolar_Disorder_Aetiology.shtml

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