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Posts Tagged ‘Dharma SIngh Khalsa’

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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“Monsanto is the world’s leading producer of ‘genetically modified’ (GM) seed and one of the most important firms involved in chemical agriculture. The company focuses its business on four key crops, soybeans, corn, wheat and cotton….. 

North American farmers were asked about their experience of GM Corn, soy and canola. The report states that “widespread GM contamination has severely disrupted GM-free production [including organic farming], destroyed trade and undermined the competitiveness of North American agriculture overall”…. 

Farmers indicate that market problems have made them question the future of GM crops. Most farming organizations in Britain, the U.S. and Canada have joined forces to lobby against the release of GM wheat, the next proposed GM crop. ~ Elizabeth Abergel, PhD, 

With the rapid changes in our technological world, food has been dramatically altered with the development of chemical farming and food processing and of course these changes affect our bodies. We have more illnesses afflicting us today than ever before. While we may be living longer than our grandparents, we certainly aren’t healthier.

There are nearly 2,000 different additives that are used by the food industry today and it has been estimated that the average person consumes approximately three to five pounds of these chemical substances each year. The foods we eat today are affecting the way we metabolize food and burn calories…chemically altered foods are affecting our weight, energy levels, and causing disorders such as candida, diabetes and hypoglycemia. They also affect our brains, our feelings, ideas, worries and decisions. Processed foods are also responsible for our food cravings, our yo-yo dieting, obsessive eating, anxiety, foggy thinking, mood swings, premenstrual syndrome PMS, allergies, most autoimmune diseases, chemical sensitivities and recurring infections.

“Eating is a complex behavior. It’s driven not only by hunger but also by the interplay of numerous biological, psychological, emotional, nutritional, social and economic factors. The craving for a cookie, for example, doesn’t just come from the urge to eat something sweet but is meaningful, in that it reflects not just the person’s desire for the treat but also their yearning for love, comfort, belonging, emotional numbing, even social status. ~ Emotional Overeating: Know the Triggers, Heal your Mind, and Never Diet Again ~ Marcia Sirota

Too many of us, young and old are overweight. We are spending billions of dollars in medical care to ease the symptoms of eating too much of the types of food that overstress our bodies. Medicine can only go so far in curing ills. If we are to improve our individual and worldwide physical conditions, we must be aware of how various facets of our lifestyles can contribute to ill health.

There is a huge gap between what we are currently eating to what our bodies were designed to require. With the onslaught of fast-food chains, processed foods, and sugar-glazed doughnuts, obesity has become a world-wide problem. It’s no longer contained in the United States and Canada, but stretches from continent to continent, gripping every major city in the world. More and more, Europe and Asia are munching on Western world appetites of fast foods shifting away from agriculture to watching TV and surfing the internet.

“More than nine million children are obese in the U.S., more than four times the number forty years ago. This is a huge concern, as the more fat cells produced when you are a child, the more likely you will become a fat adult, and the more dangerous it is to your overall health, leading to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Fat is not the only cause of obesity, as a low metabolic rate can create unnecessary weight gain, but in most cases it is our relationship with food and love that is the originating issue.” ~ Deb Shapiro ~ Your Body Speaks Your Mind

The world is becoming over-stimulated with processed food and this is causing major problems of overeating and poor digestion. Even television and Internet are reflecting this with commercials and ads of delicious-looking foods which are almost immediately followed by commercials for antacids and digestive-aids, or the latest fad diet guaranteed to work!

We have over-stimulated our appetites to the point where we can no longer hear the real inner physical needs of our bodies. Every cell in your body is a little individual. It eats, processes what it takes in, eliminates waste and works at what it does best. In order to survive and to function at its highest optimal level, a cell needs to be fed and your body contains approximately 100 trillion of them! These 100 trillion cells are in constant communication with each other—they even communicate with each other at and through the various joints—this is usually where energy flow and information are most often constricted.

“These cellular communications are part of an immense and sophisticated communications network that no human-made telecommunications network can rival. Interestingly, telecommunications experts are closely studying cell communication in efforts to improve service provided by wireless phone networks.

 In a healthy cellular environment, signals easily cross cell membranes, getting to their source. In an unhealthy environment, signals either don’t reach their source or become distorted. Think of it as static on a phone line or dropped calls on your cell phone. Important messages do not reach their destination, preventing important bodily reactions from taking place.”STOP AGING, START LVING ~ Jeannette Graf

When the body’s weak the mind is affected too. We can lapse into negative emotions such as: anger, blame, anxiety, fear, grief and/or worry; these emotions create chemical altering changes in every cell of the body. They create a buildup of toxins and acid that dams up the flow of energy moving through your system. Stressful thoughts also weaken your natural resistance to disease and aging by clogging up your cells, slowing down your metabolism and wearing out your heart.

We are all part of a subtle field of the entire Universe and with a healthy body/mind/spirit, we are able to tune into the earth’s vibrations, sense the life force of other people as well as other living things such as animals, plants and trees.

PROCESSED AND HIGHLY REFINED FOODS

Most of our foods today are factory-produced and for what purpose? Profit! Apart from that these foods have been produced for our own convenience—no need to prepare—just open a can, bottle or carton and voila, instant food. And what’s even better—just swallow and have another if you like—there are plenty where those came from, their on special this week—six for the price of two, what a deal! So hurry hurry, the bargain only lasts till the stock the cleared. We’ve all been subjected to these advertisements that excite us into a buying-spree.

 “High-frequency stress foods are the process foods—such as white sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, excessive read meat, fried foods, refined processed foods, excessive alcohol and caffeine—that cause excessive alarm reactions in your body day after day after day. They accumulate damage and can disturb the functioning of susceptible young brains….” ~The Path to Phenomenal Health ~ Sam Graci

Processed carbohydrate-rich foods are loaded with calories have been labeled Low-Fat or No-Fat but don’t be fooled, they are loaded with calories—rapidly absorbed calories that are having a devastating effect on our insulin levels—raising them through the roof. These foods cause artificial signals and artificial stimulation not only to your genetic makeup but also to your 100 trillion cells. Unfortunately, the only thing really speeding up is the “wear-and-tear” on our bodies, causing extreme stress, excessive fatigue, a foggy mind and cells that are mangled and confused. All this stress is affecting our adrenal function and our sugar levels to rise causing our heart rate and blood pressure to rise.

Have you noticed certain foods like bread, pasta, chips and Chinese food seem to trigger more hunger. And what about hamburgers and fries? We can eat amazingly large amounts and find ourselves nibbling more and more until our systems crash into a sleeping stupor.

“Whole” wheat grain is an excellent source of vitamin E and helpful in blood circulation, healthy heart muscles and protects against the effects of stress, worry, anxiety, cigarette smoking and city pollution. But the vitamin E content is destroyed or extracted during the ‘refinement’ process as wheat germ oil tends to clog-up the machinery. Eating too much refined grains can cause chronic pain and illnesses such as: candida, diabetes, diarrhea, sinus problems, respiratory disorders, loss of hair, poor teeth and skin, obesity, and poor muscular development. When we eat too many of these foods we don’t usually have much appetite for fruits, vegetables, nuts seeds and legumes that are so important to our diet. (Daily use of fresh fruits and vegetables will help to cleanse the body of toxins and protect it from getting ill.)

Your body and the hormones in your body react to how and what you eat. Overeating and poor nutrition has suppressed the immune system, weakening the body’s ability to attack and destroy viruses, bacteria and parasites. Cancer, candida, colitis, Crohns disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and leaky gut syndrome are impacting the world at a dangerous rate. Our body’s are in chaos and that means we are not in control of our lives. How can we express our full potential while we’re struggling to cope with out-of-control digestive-tracts and metabolisms. We each have to tune in to what’s going on inside and learn what we need to do, individually, to live healthy lives.

 “Without a doubt the biggest change in our diets has been our sugar consumption—in the forms of refined white sugar known as sucrose, brown sugar, corn sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, lactose and maltose. Over the past two centuries, we have literally shocked our bodily systems with outrageous and ever-growing amounts of nutrient-robbing sugar.” Anne Louise Gittleman

IS INSULIN THE CULPRIT

In combination with glucose, there is another special ingredient that’s required to convert glucose into energy—that ingredient is called INSULIN. Insulin is produced by the cells from the pancreas, known as the Islets of Langerhans. As the body requires energy, both glucose and insulin are released into the blood stream and they travel to various muscles, nerves and tissues, to provide the body with a continuous supply of energy.

“We now understand that an addiction to carbohydrates is often a result of an *excess of the hormone insulin. Dr. Judith Rodin of Yale University nicknamed insulin the “hunger hormone” because of its power ability to stimulate appetite. In the past, insulin was most often associated with diabetes, which is how it was first identified, but more current research shows that insulin may indeed be the key hormone in regulating a great deal of what we refer to as “the metabolism”. CARBOHYDRATES ADDICT”S LIFESPAN PROGRAM ~ Dr. Richard F. Heller and Dr. Rachel F. Heller

The first sign of being overweight is carrying around extra body mass. Carrying around extra body weight puts more stress on joints that were not meant to hold extra weight. Being fat causes your heart to have to work harder to pump blood through more fat tissue. The extra mass creates more pressure on the blood vessels and lymphatic system and does not allow them to flow freely. This causes blood pressure to rise and the lymphatic system to stagnate and become toxic.

 In addition to causing physical health problems, being overweight can cause mental problems as well. Mentally, being fat can make people insecure about themselves. Overweight people tend to be full of excuses about their weight. They may jump from diet to diet, pill to pill or one exercise to another, but often lack the will power to stick with anything long enough to see results; therefore they quit trying. I think being overweight can also keep someone from doing the very things that will help them lose weight in the first place. I once had a friend that was overweight. She constantly talked about what she was going to do to lose weight, but she never followed through. It is a shame that talking doesn’t burn a lot of calories because she would have been slim – fast! I bought her a gym membership for her birthday, but she never used it – because, get this – she said she was too overweight and embarrassed to go the gym! Health And Happiness An owner’s manual for the mind and body ~ Sean Donovan

If you tend to put weight on easily, especially around the abdomen, you might be insulin resistance and eating a high carbohydrate diet may be your worst enemy. That’s because our blood sugar level governs the functioning of our entire metabolic system. Years ago, medical researchers discovered a link between obesity and changes to the secretion of the “hunger hormone” called insulin. Insulin ‘calls’ your body to eat. It signals you to roam your cupboards and fridge for starches, snack foods and/or sweets. If you follow these cravings, insulin makes you feel as if these foods give you a happy/content feeling.

To understand insulin’s effect on weight, we need to also see insulin’s role as a storage hormone. The higher your insulin levels are, the more fat you store in your tissues, the more weight you gain because insulin determines how much fat you burn as fuel. Our bodies usually can’t burn all the calories we’ve eaten, especially from processed foods. The excess blood sugar cannot be burned but instead must be converted to triglycerides (fatty acids), and stored in the tissues as fat.

*An excess of insulin in your body is called “hyperinsulinemia” and evidence has shown it may be a major risk factor in Alzheimer’s, heart attacks, diabetes, stroke and cancer.

For thousands of years our ancestors ate foods that slowly released calories in a process we call digestion. Their diet consisted of mainly fish, plant food, grains, fruit, nuts, seed and legumes. These types of foods are slowly absorbed into the bloodstream and easily handled by a tiny spurt of insulin. Unfortunately in this modern age we are eating huge amounts of refined carbohydrates that are creating a rush of easily absorbed sugars in the blood stream. High-glycemic foods like bagels cause an excess of insulin in the bloodstream…although this provides us with a burst of energy, it’s always followed by drastic drop in sugar levels causing fatigue, shakyness, severe mood swings, depleted energy and more cravings and bingeing on starches and sweet things

“When the sugar overload increases the amount of insulin the body, all the organs in the body, including the heart, liver, lungs, and muscles, begin to take in sugar from the blood, leaving less of it available to the brain. Although it seems that sugar will provide the quick energy fix we’re looking for, the opposite is true. Sugar triggers excessive insulin release, and it reduces the amount of fuel the brain needs to function most efficiently….

 (Hypoglycemia causes, low blood sugar, depression, muscle aches, chronic headaches, feeling hopeless or helpless and crying more than usual…

Sugar leads to chromium deficiency. Chromium is a very important trace mineral needed for glucose metabolism and its deficiency can affect behavior.

Sugar also causes copper deficiency, which can lead to abnormal behavior.

Sugar causes high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are less tolerant than people with normal blood pressure.)

 When the brain is undernourished, it’s not just our physical health that suffers. Our state of mind is affected as well. Although we may not always be aware of it, we frequently use food as a mood-altering drug. Those ups and downs of energy caused by too much sugar and refined carbohydrates also cause us to alternate between depression and euphoria. When we get that sugar high, we’re ready for anything. Then as blood sugar levels dissipate, we begin to feel worse and worse. To varying degrees, we get irritable, shaky, nervous, depressed. So we begin to eat like crazy again, gobbling down more sugar and carbs. In extremes of anxiety and depression, we may resort to binge eating in an overzealous attempt to modulate our moods.” THE BALANCE ~ Oz Garcia

When your bloodstream is too high in sugar, the pancreas is alerted to send a “surge” of insulin directly into your bloodstream causing a dramatic decrease in your blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels drop too low, the body has to stop the fall, otherwise you could plunge into deep shock and if not corrected, you could die. Hypoglycemia or sugar-shock alerts the adrenals to immediately squirt excessive amounts of adrenaline and cortisol to prevent your blood sugar from going too low—these hormones raise your blood pressure and your heartbeat and tell your liver to turn glycogen in glucose. But the sudden release of adrenaline can cause you to feel shaky, sweaty and weak—you may have had the same effect after drinking caffeine, which produces the same kind of symptoms.

Insulin’s main job is to escort glucose from the bloodstream into the cells where it’s “burned” or used as fuel for energy. Usually only a small amount of it is needed to do the job. We know our bodies turn all foods into glucose, but with refined sugars and flours, too much sugar floods the bloodstream too fast. If you’re a diabetic, it means that your pancreas either secretes little or no insulin, causing sugar to accumulate in the bloodstream. Too much sugar in the blood can cause a host of problems, such as diabetes, stroke, heart problems and kidney disease.

OUR MAIN ENERGY SOURCES – THE THYROID, PANCREAS AND ADRENALS

It is the sensitive nerve fibers of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) that ends in the adrenal glands. The adrenals aren’t the only energy producing system in the body; the thyroid, parathyroid and pancreas are too. Actually, both the adrenal system and the thyroid gland are dominated by the sympathetic nervous system, which is part of the autonomic nervous system, (ANS). The ANS controls your heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, hormonal balance and metabolism. The sympathetic nervous is associated with two hormone stimulants, adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol. Adrenaline and cortisol are released to bring you to a heightened state of awareness….when they think there is a threat to the body, they sound the alarm! When this happens the sympathetic nervous system stimulates the release of sugar/glucose from the liver, to get your blood pressure up. Your digestive system literally comes to a halt so that all your energy can diverted to the muscles and face, which become tense and prepared for action. With your nerves on edge, you’re ready to respond to the fight or flight reflex.

 “An EXCITED nervous system forces your body to produce an excess of the stimulating and stress producing hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which inevitably have an effect on the metabolism. A PASSIVE nervous system, on the other hand, causes the production of calming substances like serotonin, but it also produces lesser amounts of the thyroid hormones that control energy production and metabolism. This is why people with a PASSIVE nervous system have a greater possibility of having hypothyroidism and a slower metabolism.

 The “slower metabolism: and conditions like hypothyroidism are much more common in people with PASSIVE nervous systems. First of all, let be clear that both the EXCITED and PASSIVE nervous systems can cause obesity because they are extreme conditions in which there isn’t a BALANCE. The result of both of these conditions is a hormonal imbalance.” The Power Of Your Metabolism ~ Frank Suarez

THE THYROID CONTROLS BODY TEMPERATURE AND METABOLISM

The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system located at the base of the throat. It sends hormonal messages to every cell in your body, maintaining body temperature, heart rate, muscle contraction and metabolic rate (the rate at which food is converted into energy).

If the bacteria in your gut have been imbalanced for some time, then you may have a bacterial infection in your gastrointestinal lining also known as ‘leaky gut syndrome’. Leaky gut syndrome happens when undigested foods seep into the intestinal walls, allowing minute particles to escape into the bloodstream. The immune system perceives these minute particles as ‘invaders’ and attacks to get rid of them. Sometimes these particles can look similar to the molecules of one’s own body causing the immune system to start attacking them and in so doing turns on itself, destroying healthy cells and tissues. Such is the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – an autoimmune problem and one of the most common causes of thyroid problems. This is where the immune system attacks the thyroid with antibodies causing the thyroid to swing high and causing hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism but ultimately make you hypothyroid. This results in slowing down your metabolism causing muscle-aches, mood swings, weight gain and even depression.

Overweight people have slower metabolisms and for some reason have shown reduced levels of enzymes and hormones in the body; this results in a decreased breakdown of fat. Without proper enzymes, food cannot be converted into energy; this may cause a person to eat more and more in an effort for the body to obtain the essential active nutrients that are lacking in refined, processed and cooks foods.

 “Many overweight people have a lower-than-average amount of a liver enzyme that produces crotonyl coenzyme A. Without this enzyme, fat is accumulated in the body instead of used. These people may have exhausted their ability to make the enzyme.” Dr. Neil Solomon

 “[Dr. Solomon] found that the overweight paitents were not metabolizing glucose properly, that they had low levels of growth hormones, which helps regulate carbohydrate and fat metabolism, and that some obese people even produce antibodies against their own thyroid hormone, which causes the body to not use it properly.” The Straight Scoop About Dieting: Learn the Truths About Weight-loss Diets ~ Sharon Greene Patton

If you have a thyroid problem than most likely your adrenals may not be working properly either.

STRESS WEIGHT-GAIN AND THE ADRENALS

We have two adrenal glands that sit on top of each of our kidneys and are part of a wider network known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). The HPA governs different bodily functions such as heart rate, mood, body temperature, thirst and hunger. The adrenal glands are an important part of this system because they produce certain hormones related to metabolism and stress. Adrenaline, (epinephrine) cortisol and DHEA (dhydroepiandrosterone) all help the body’s immediate response to challenges and dangers, by channeling the body’s energy toward the fight/flight response. These three hormones improve oxygen and glucose to the muscles generating mental and physical alertness. Blood and the violent intake of air courses through our bodies similar to the life-threatening situations our ancestors experienced thousands of years ago.

“The human body is well set up for high primal stresses. However, it isn’t very good at coping with small insidious ones such as forgetting where you put your keys, a single mosquito in your room at night, the dripping of a faucet, or the constant whining of a child. It seems that your body has no sense of humor at all.” THE JOY OF STRESS ~ Peter G. Hanson, M.D.

In this day and age many of us become overly stressed from traffic jams, unexpected bills, an angry phone call, a confrontation with someone at work or at home, the kids fighting, etc., All this moves us into a high state of alarm and we stay there for long periods of time. This prolonged adrenaline rush dramatically slows down your metabolism, causing weight gain, affecting your mood, a negative person of the Self. Adrenaline is a stress-related hormone causing the body to have high glucose levels (blood sugar) because it tells the liver to turn a large amount of glycogen (a type of glucose stored in the liver) into glucose.

Cortisol stays longer in the body than adrenaline, interfering with digestion and suppressing the immune system allowing tumors if present to grow faster. High levels of cortisol stimulate an excess of insulin released into the body, leading to swings in energy and blood sugar, causing anxiety, fatigue, hyper/hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and mood swings. It can cause food cravings, especially for high-fat, high sugar, high carbohydrate foods such as a ice-cream, chips and cookies.

Anxiety and depression also prompt the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol. Cortisol prepares the body for an emergency, including telling it to store more fat, especially in the belly where cells have more receptors for cortisol than do superficial fat cells under the skin. Cortisol is like a key in a lock, opening fat cells, allowing fat to be stored. Cortisol also eats away lean muscle mass, which the body needs to burn fat. In addition, high cortisol levels significantly reduce grow hormone output. Prolonged stress has been associated with the aging process and a number of hormonal and digestive diseases.

By living off stimulants such as coffee and cigarettes, a high-sugar diet or stress itself, you increase your risk of upsetting your thyroid balance (which means your metabolism will slow down and you will gain weight) or calcium balance (resulting in arthritis) or of getting problems associated with sex-hormone imbalances and excessive cortisol. These are long-term side effects of prolonged stress, because any body system that is overstimulated will eventually under function.

The outer part of the adrenal gland, the cortex, makes steroid hormones, similar to the ones prescribed by your doctor to stop an inflammation in your body. Cortisol in minute amounts helps the body to metabolize fats, carbohydrates and proteins in the body; cortisol encourages energy production and reduces inflammation. But cortisol is also known as the stress hormone and prolonged stress can have a dramatic impact on the body and the mind. Excess cortisol can undermine our health and set-off a host of different illnesses such as asthma, colitis, high blood pressure, insomnia, ulcers and cancer. High cortisol levels also have a negative impact on the muscles and joints, causing them to break down and weaken. Prolonged cortisol levels can also cause a redistribution of fats….causing weight-gain, particularly in abdominal area (in men we call it the pot-belly). Trauma, strong emotions (rage, fear) and prolonged stress can force your adrenal glands to work overtime.

 “Excess cortisol leads to weight gain in the abdomen and face, increased blood pressure, erratic blood sugar levels, strange hair growth, acne, depression and irritability, bone thinning, muscle weakness, and irregular menstruation.” All is Well: Heal Your Body with Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition ~ By Louise L. Hay and Mona Lisa Shulz

Cortisol can create a fearful, threatened feeling that over-stimulates 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 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

 

http://authoritynutrition.com/9-ways-that-processed-foods-are-killing-people/

http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/nutrition-101-how-processed-foods-make-us-fat-malnourished-and-sick-06222013

Genetically altered food http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-we-trust-monsanto-with-our-food/

Monsanto pulls out of Europe http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/10186932/Major-GM-food-company-Monsanto-pulls-out-of-Europe.html

High Insulin Levels Stop Weight Loss http://fitnessblackbook.com/dieting_for_fat_loss/high-insulin-levels-stop-fat-loss-and-cause-weight-gain/

http://www.leanitup.com/how-insulin-carbs-and-hfcs-impact-weightloss/

Is stress causing your weight gain http://www.leanitup.com/how-insulin-carbs-and-hfcs-impact-weightloss/

Cortisol http://thyroid.about.com/od/loseweightsuccessfully/a/cortisol.htm

Stay tuned for Part III… DE-STRESS EAT SMART AND BOOST YOUR METABOLISM

Food, like any other addiction, is a form of self-medicating. So you have to get to the source of what you are trying to numb. Otherwise, you can go from diet to diet and it won’t matter. You may lose weight, but you will gain it back. You have to face what you’re hiding from, why your self-esteem is affected and replace your meals with essential nutrients that naturally balance and boost your metabolism.

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“Overweight – Guilt, shame, suppressed emotions, Carrying others’ problems and burdens. Trying to cover your vulnerability, hurt, or abuse from the past. Not feeling good enough. Feeling stuck. Punishing yourself with food. Trying to push people away or keep them at a distance. Not allowing your true beauty and essence to shine through. Keeping the weight as protection. Constant procrastination.” ~ Inna Segel The Secret Language of Your Body: The Essential Guide to Health and Wellness

”I diet and I diet and I’m not losing weight”

“I know I have an addiction to food. I’m what you call an emotional eater and struggle with added on weight. I find myself eating, even when I’m not even hungry,”

“For me, food is an attempt to ease my stress or anxiety. It’s also become a source of comfort as it doesn’t fight back or disagree with me, thus it gives me a temporary gain of feeling empowered…but unfortunately in the long run, I gain increased weight only.”

“As a child, I was put on a diet, dieting meant something was different about me, I wasn’t good enough. When I was told I needed to lose weight (another not good enough), every meal I ate was different from the rest of the family. I felt I was being singled-out , punished, a misfit…..”

“Why do I wolf down sticky pastries and chocolate cake when I’m not even hungry?”

Like most of you, I’ve had my weight problems and I’ve had to watch what I eat. A lot of the time I just couldn’t say no to dessert. Why is it, we simply can’t resist eating candy, cake, cookies, or anything that’s sweet? Why do we have such an insatiable craving for carbohydrates?

Hunger begins in the limbic part of the brain which operates through the endocrine system and the autonomic nervous system.  This is the area that plays a key role in regulating food intake and body weight.  When the body is low in blood sugar or glucose, the liver sends signals to the hypothalamus, a small but important gland at the base of your brain.  It’s also the hypothalamus that triggers those hunger cravings that can drive you crazy and make you feel light-headed and irritable.

“Compulsive and addictive behaviors such as overeating, compulsive exercise, gambling, spending, workaholism, relationship addiction, and drug and alcohol abuse are born of intense craving for nurturing, affection, connection and personal power. Under the surface of compulsive behaviors lies an insecure, frightened and angry individual crying out in loneliness, isolation, helplessness, fear and anger. Compulsive behaviors represent an attempt at survival, security, satisfaction identity and safety. The compulsions become replacement for nurturing; the means to diminish anxiety and insecurity, and experience brief pleasure and gratification; the means to repress anger and hostility; and an avenue to find temporary security. Compulsive behaviors represent the paradox of both an overwhelming desire for connectedness and a fear of intimacy and conflict. The spending, hoarding, sex, compulsive work, etc., reflect an effort to protect oneself against overwhelming feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and fear of abandonment should emotions held in check be released. Good and Mad: Transform Anger Using Mind, Body, Soul and Humor ~ By Jane Middelton-Moz, Lisa Tener, Peaco Todd

How many times have you eaten to…..

1) to stuff your anger, rage, despair

2) to numb and comfort yourself

3) to run away or escape from feelings of perceived restrictions

4) to reward yourself after feelings of powerlessness

5) to run away from feelings of loss and deprivation.

 “Overeating has always meant a need for protection. When you feel insecure or frightened, you pad yourself with a layer of safety. Weight has nothing to do with food. Most of you spend a lifetime being angry at yourselves for being fat. What a waste of energy. Instead, realize there is something going on in your life that is making you feel unsafe and insecure. It could be your work, your spouse, your sexuality, or your life in general. If you are overweight, put the food/weight issue aside and work on the pattern that says, “I need protection because I’m insecure. 

It’s amazing how our cells respond to our mental patterns. When the need for protection is gone, or when we start feeling secure, the fat will melt off. I have noticed in my own life that when I am not feeling safe, I will gain some weight. When my life is going so fast, and I’m doing so much, and I’m spreading myself all over the place, I feel a need for protection, a need for security. So I say, “Okay, Louise, it’s time to work on safety. I want you to really know that you are safe, and it’s okay, and you can do all this stuff, and you can be at all these places, and you can have all that is happening right now, and you are safe, and I love you.” The Power Is Within You ~ Louise L. Hay

The physical body is a reflection of your thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and emotions, so what you think on, you gradually grow to become. Deep within your muscles, organs and tissues are your memories of past experiences, unexpressed traumas, shocks and despair. The heaviness of these burdens coupled with your own beliefs and judgments, often show up as protective layers of fat carried around in certain tissues of your physical body. Any hurts or misunderstandings that aren’t addressed suppress our energy, causing our bodies to become overweight or ill.

Some of the major causes of overeating is depression, stress, holding back hurts and the fear of not being loved. Whenever we experience these unpleasant emotions our body’s start losing energy….this is when we unconsciously feel the need to replace that lost energy with food. Unfortunately, under stress, we don’t eat wisely, (grabbing for something sweet and starchy) and end up losing more energy processing the food, which creates an even lower energy cycle.

“Food represents mother, love, affection, security, survival and reward. We replace our need or desire for any one of these with food as a way of filling the emptiness within. We use food instead of affection and love, especially at times of loss, separation or death. We also get it to ease financial or material tensions. Eating sweet food is a way of feeding ourselves the sweetness we crave, of temporarily giving to ourselves the sweetness or reward that we may feel nobody else is giving us. Conversely, in expressing our need for nourishment we may also stop eating thereby reducing or shrinking our need for affection to a level that makes no demands at all In this way obesity and anorexia are actually expressing a similar state; that of not loving self and therefore needing outside reinforcement and affirmation, but not receiving that affirmation enough to satisfy the demand. The reaction that state is simply expressing in opposing ways: obesity indicates a loss of personal control, while anorexia implies a highly exaggerated attempt at control.

 All this is dealt with in the stomach. Hence the longings, unfulfilled desires, worldly pressures and external conflicts are first assimilated. Little wonder that they can cause so much upset such as indigestion, ulcers or acidity. How often do we hear someone say that something is ‘eating away’ at him, and then we also find that he has a stomach ulcer. The stomach modifies and breaks down the food and renders it capable of being absorbed, before sending it further down. Food can spend many hours passing through the stomach, so it is not surprising to find that thoughts and feelings can also sit in here for a long time, creating nausea and tension. A rigidly tense stomach area can indicate a resistance to allowing issues to pass through, a holding on to reality in an attempt to prevent inevitable moves and changes. DEB SHAPIRO body/mind workbook

CASE STUDY

 “Our earliest experience of food and safety, and our first encounter with the lunar principle after birth, is mother’s breast. Although the Moon is really inside us, we first meet it exteriorized in the person who has given birth to us, feeds us and protects us. If mother goes away, then the dark of the Moon has come, and we are overcome with terror of the abyss of extinction. “ Liz Greene The Illuminaries

When Sandy came to see me she was a single mother, thirty-nine years old, just over five feet tall and weighing approximately 150 pounds. She knew there were strong psychological forces from her childhood that were playing a part in her overeating. Although she had gone for psychotherapy, it had not succeeded in resolving her problem. The diets she’d tried and groups she joined had helped her to lose some weight but in the end, all her weight returned and then some.

Sandy said she frequently used food or sweets as a source of comfort; during the nights she would toss and turn, questioning why and how she let herself go…going over it again and again until she felt her head would explode. As her anxiety grew, she not only gained weight in her hips and mid-section, she also started experiencing pain in the right side of her stomach…Sandy later discovered the pain was an inflammation of her duodenum (the beginning of an ulcer). Her brain that had been carrying the stress of overeating had discharged part of it into duodenum. In return the duodenum bombarded her brain will painful information, disturbing her sleep.

Every person has a ‘weak link’ an organ or body part that is more vulnerable than the others and this particular body part becomes the main target when the brain or mind becomes overwhelmed or burdened and needs to rid of its excess stress. In Sandy’s case, her ‘weak link’ was her stomach and attached duodenum. The stomach and duodenum represent the Self in relation to others—the stomach reacts to our social life—the duodenum more emotionally intense reactions, which is actually closer to our inner self.

During our first Reiki session, I slowly scanned Sandy’s energy, which felt as if it was tangled in knots and very sticky. Her energy was withdrawn and it really felt as if Sandy was afraid of being touched. It is our senses that give us information we need to function in the world…every move we make, every bite we eat, everything we touch creates a sensation in us. The main task of the body’s central nervous system is to integrate the senses. No one part of the central nervous system works alone. messages are constantly going back and forth from one place to another so that touch can aid vision, vision can aid balance, balance can aid body awareness, body awareness can aid movement, movement can aid learning and so on. But when we are sense-deprived we aren’t getting enough stimulation from the outside.

Your aura is a live communication system, sensing and receiving information around you; it registers the intentions of your thoughts, moods and actions. When we energetically, physically withdraw or avoid being touched, our brains are affected too and can’t tell us how things ‘feel’. We can have trouble analyzing, interpreting and storing sensory memory; we become confused and less confident. Unconsciously, we keep our energy to the back of our body, blocking our own perceptions and our awareness.

At the base of your brain stem is what’s called the Medulla Oblongata. This area at the back of the neck feeds nerve energy to our five senses. When our nerve energy becomes depleted, it’s unable to reach our ears, eyes, throat or mouth. Our five senses are literally starved and react by creating sensory complications (coughing, difficulty swallowing, post nasal drip, acid reflux, eye problems, etc.). Also, when our body system is drained of energy and power, to compensate the loss, it will steal it from our eyes, ear, nose, throat and mouth.

I asked Sandy if she suffered more than most from respiratory illnesses, which she answered with a definite yes. I also wondered if she suffered from allergies and indeed she did. Allergic reactions can affect our heart, stomach, bowels, skin, and nervous system….in fact they can disrupt every bodily system. When we suffer from allergies, lung infections or even the common cold, affect our nutrition, thereby reducing oxygen to our tissues. Low oxygen equals low energy and low energy equals low metabolism and low metabolism can affect our weight.

Alternative healers are not allowed to diagnosis, so I suggested Sandy go to her doctor and ask for a full blood test. I ‘suspected’ she may have low thyroid and/or possibly suffered from hypoglycemia or low sugar. Sandy had mentioned she loved eating sweets of all kinds throughout the day. When we eat high levels of sugar, our blood sugar spikes, then within a half-an-hour, plunges steeply to an all time low. To understand how hypoglycemia develops we need to know how our glucose metabolism works. Our bodies convert all foods to glucose but when too much sugar floods the bloodstream, the pancreas is alerted to send extra insulin to counteract the overload. If you frequently eat a lot of snacks and starches, your overzealous pancreas may start pouring insulin too much too fast. When this happens the sudden drop in sugar can cause a variety of symptoms such as: headaches, anxiety, irritability, tiredness, dizziness, confusion, and even lack of coordination. Of course what we usually do, is reach out for more sugar….a vicious cycle of high/low energy. This certainly seemed what Sandy was going through.

(The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system located at the base of the throat. It sends hormonal messages to every cell in your body, maintaining body temperature, heart rate, muscle contraction and metabolic rate (the rate at which food is converted into energy).

“The incidence of poor thyroid function in modern society appears to be quite high. Some researchers have estimated that up to 40 percent of the population suffers from at least mild dysfunction of the thyroid, and they believe this problem is part of the reason so many people are over-weight. This estimate is considered too high by most orthodox physicians, but many doctors of integrative medicine agree that low-grade thyroid dysfunction is relatively common. One reason for poor thyroid function is insufficient intake of the minerals zinc and selenium. Another is reduced blood flow to the thyroid.” Meditation As Medicine: Activate the Power of Your Natural Healing Force ~ Dharma Singh Khalsa, Cameron Stauth

See more on the thyroid here….

When the Reiki session was over, my sense was that from a very young age, Sandra had been left on her own with little support or emotional nurturing…deep inside was unexpressed pain, anger, and feelings of abandonment. Sandy’s body was definitely under stress. I told her that the body responds to stress by secreting epinephrine and slowing down digestion. Fats, sugars and hormones are released in the body, cholesterol rises, blood pressure rises, heartbeat accelerates, muscle tension increases and more.

“Where you store your fat says a lot of your hormonal state.  Take a look at the following Hormone Body-Fat Map to see a clearer picture of the relationship between your hormonal imbalances and fat stores.” Quote and Picture from “THE HORMONE DIET” ~ by Natasha Turner, N.D.

Fat Storage sites

Too much epinephrine can cause nutritional deficiencies because it depletes potassium, phosphorus, amino acids, magnesium and calcium. And when the body’s under stress it doesn’t absorb nutrients as well, especially B vitamins and electrolytes which are essential to the body.

People who have been deprived of security and love, especially during their childhood, often have a blockage in their 1st chakra, this can manifest later in life as diabetes, hypoglycemia or overweight.

“A deficient first chakra is contracted, vacant, weak, sloppy or unformed. This is usually recognizable by simply looking at the body. Contraction pulls inward, as if the person were trying to make himself as small as possible…If the contraction pulls away from the ground, the first chakra becomes empty, vacant and the person may be totally out of touch with feeling in this area. If a person’s energy is very disorganized the first chakra will be weak and disappear at the slightest challenge….There is also a kind of deficiency that may appear in either a thin body or with a large, overweight one (which would seem like excess) where the body is very loose and unformed. Since the first chakra is about solidity, the unformed body has a hard time solidifying itself or holding its shape, ground or basic structure. There is poor muscle tone, circulation, color and boundary formation. This is a state that is undernourished and undercharged.” EASTERN BODY WESTERN MIND ~ by Anodea Judith

The next time I saw Sandy, she told me her blood test did show a low thyroid. Although she didn’t mention hypoglycemia, I suspected it too was a possibility. Just a week on Synthyroid had helped to change her disposition and she looked more relaxed, refreshed and her energy patterns were healthier and less tense.

Wanting to know more about her metabolic state, Sandy and I talked about metabolism, which refers to the way your body processes and utilizes the food you eat.

 WHAT IS THE METABOLIC SYSTEM

Most of the food you eat is digested then converted into energy through the process of metabolism. This process involves a complex network of hormones and enzymes that not only convert food to fuel but also affect how efficiently we burn that fuel.

“Your liver is responsible for burning most of the fat in your body. If it is healthy, it pumps out excess fat through bile and helps you keep a healthy weight. However, if your liver is not healthy, it can cause your body to hold on to fat and cause other health problems. You can damage your liver by drinking too much alcohol, taking antibiotics or painkillers for long periods, taking oral synthetic hormone replacement drugs, being exposed to chemicals including pesticides, having a viral infection of liver (such as hepatitis C and B, autoimmune hepatitis, hemochromatosis, or primary biliary cirrhosis), or eating an unhealthful diet high in fat. 

If you suspect liver problems, or if you are obsess, ask your doctor to perform blood tests that will measure liver enzymes. Elevated enzymes may indicate inflammation and damage to the liver cells and their membranes. Luckily, liver cells are very resilient, and you can restore their health by following your doctor’s recommendations, which may include changing your eating habits so you’re on a proper diet.” 365 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR Metabolism ~ by Racel Laferriere, MS, RD

If your metabolism is a fast burner, it’s most likely dominated by the adrenal system and the thyroid gland. Both the adrenals and thyroid are dominated by the sympathetic nervous system, which is part of the autonomic system that controls your basic bodily functions such as heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, hormonal balance and of course your metabolism.

If your metabolism is slow, it’s dominated by the parathyroid gland and the pancreas, which are in turn dominated by the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic system is involved in slowing heart rate, decreasing oxygen supply, metabolism and energy. Both the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems work together to keep your energy at an even keel and balanced.

WHAT”S YOUR METABOLIC TYPE

“Slow Burners release energy too slowly to maintain adequate health. This is analogous to a woodstove whose fire is too small to heat the room. In a stove, when combustion is incomplete, there is a buildup of creosote in the stovepipe. This metaphor is appropriate for the slow burner’s body. Sodium and potassium act as solvents in the body by holding minerals in solution in the bloodstream. When sodium and potassium levels are low, calcium and magnesium fall out of solution and begin to build up in the tissues, eventually leading to arteriosclerosis and/or arthritic conditions. To improve the health status and energy levels of a slow oxidizer, the metabolic furnace (i.e., oxidation rate) must be increased. The extremely slow oxidizer is continually exhausted because of a diminished ability to use glucose (blood sugar) for energy production at a cellular level. 

Fast Burners release energy too quickly. To go back to the woodstove analogy, the fast burner is a stove that is burning too hot, overheating the room (the body) and quickly running out of fuel (glucose). While it feels better to be in fast oxidation because of the high energy released, the expense is to the tissues of the fast burner’s body: The mineral reserves are being exhausted. 

Mixed Burners have an erratic energy pattern sometimes too slow, sometimes too fast. This is due to a loss of balance between the thyroid and adrenal glands. It is an interim state, generally moving toward fast or slow oxidation.” BALANCE, Your Personal Prescription for Supermetabolism, Renewed Vitality, Maximum Health, Instant Rejuvenation ~ Oz Garcia

To become aware of how foods affect you, learn more about what happens to the foods you take into your body. Some food is digested and turned into fuel for the body or new tissue. Some is excreted while some have no nutritional affects and remain in the body. These useless foods usually become fatty deposits and may linger as toxic material lodged in or around the cells of your body. These toxins exhaust/sap your vitality, fog your mind and emotions and cause disease and premature aging.

A simple metabolic questionnaire http://www.doctoroz.com/quiz/quiz-what-your-metabolism-type

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS

Artificial sweeteners are on the rise but they play havoc with the body’s metabolism and frustrate it to no end.  When the body tastes something sweet, it begins the natural preparation of digesting carbohydrates, but with artificial sweeteners it can’t find them!  When this happens, the body has to compensate somehow and look for carbs elsewhere….it may excessively absorb carbohydrates found in the intestines which forces the body to produce extra insulin which then causes our blood sugar to go too low, resulting in hypoglycemia.  This insulin and blood sugar roller coaster causes the hypothalamus to panic which leads to more carb cravings and more sweets.  It’s an endless cycle that if not managed, can lead to weight gain and progressive obesity.

DIETS DON”T WORK

“To have a renewed body, you must be willing to have new perceptions that give rise to new solutions. “ ~ Deepak Chopra

Have you ever walked into a bookstore or library and noticed the amazing amount of books on health and fitness? There are hundreds of diet and nutrition books available on the market but there are non-superior than the rhythm and wisdom of your own body. When it comes to finding our own personal, optimum diet, we need to take into consideration that each of our nutritional requirements are unique because of our history, metabolism and energy needs. So there is some truth in saying your metabolism is programmed through your genetic information and other various external and internal forces.

Genetically our bodies are engineered for gaining weight and not for weight loss. Many of us blame our lack of willpower for not staying on a diet plan but historians and scientists have proven that for most of the time us humans have been around, there was no steady source of food. Sometimes there was plenty to eat and other times there was none. In order to survive, people’s bodies had to adjust to these conditions of feast or famine. When food was scarce, metabolism would slow down to preserve energy, and when there was plenty, it would speed up.

Dieting places the body in the famine or starvation mode, which is why metabolism slows down when people go on strict diets. When they begin to give into cravings, metabolism speeds up—at least while they’re young. Up until the age of 30, the body can adapt to metabolic changes brought on by dieting and then quitting, but after that it becomes less flexible. With added age, metabolism slows down and stays down. To make matters worse, the weight lost is usually muscle, but the weight gained tends to be more fat then lean body mass. Fat burns fewer calories than lean tissue, with the results that the next time you diet, the pounds will be more difficult to shed.

EXERCISE

If you are planning to add exercise to your program it should be designed for ‘you’ rather than what’s trending right now. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve never been one for conventional exercises…remembering at school, I did everything I could to avoid them!

Exercise should have a lot of variety to it…look around and see what appeals to you; look for an exercise that will leave you feeling good and not sore or exhausted. You don’t have to go to the gym to work out, you could find and combine two or three fun things to do, such as dancing, swimming or even jogging. The important thing is to pick a program and stay with it. The important thing is that you listen to and observe ‘who you are’ and what ‘you need’ at this time in your life and development. Getting in shape is not about the pursuit of perfection…it means making your best effort in whatever you do. Stressing and worrying will only deplete your happy-mood chemicals and deplete glucose levels in your brain. Think long term and don’t go for the quick fix. Just take it day by day. The key word is ‘gradual’.

LEARNING FROM YOUR EATING PATTERNS

I encouraged Sandy to buy a journal and over the next two or three weeks, watch what she ate and how and when she ate to see what more she could learn from that information. I told her not to judge or grudge herself…”all you’re doing is observing and noticing, nothing more. Most of all, drop any feelings of guilt you have about eating “wrongly”: It’s better to eat the “wrong” thing and enjoy it then feel guilty and self-rejecting about it. In fact, it’s probably better than eating the “right” thing with feelings of resentment, longing, or tension. No matter what, feel good about yourself. Food is not your enemy. So many people feel guilty about eating it, or they fear that one bite will lead to a binge. Don’t ever feel deprived, you can enjoy food, as long as you put your eating habits in order and you’ll feel more energetic.

Learning to develop a sensitivity to your own body’s needs is a very gradual process. The body is a creature of habit and preferences, urging/prompting you to buy and eat its most favorite foods. For example it may make you crave for something sweet, when what your body really needs is protein. Often too, we misinterpret the body’s need for water as a hunger sign and eat unnecessary calories when all we really need is a glass of water.

See yourself going through a typical day and visualize all the times that you stopped to take any form of food or drink, whether it was a meal or snack. Consciously recall each time, how you were feeling, what you were thinking and doing before, during and after the meal, snack or drink. Notice particularly whether you were calm and relaxed, tense, tired, emotional, hungry, bored, or whatever. Write down or draw each of those food events as you recall them. (For example: “At 11 a.m., ate a doughnut and drank coffee—needed a break from work.

Try this little exercise….

Sit quietly and close your eyes. Then without directing or judging your thoughts allow them to flow through your mind in relation to your connection with food and eating. Simply let the thoughts happen and write them down in brief words or phrases or even draw them. Close your eyes again and allow more to come. Do this for about five minutes.

Begin to look for habit patterns that are possibly governing your eating. Be honest, but accepting, do not judge what you see as good or bad—simply acknowledge the patterns for what they are.

How often do you eat when you’re really hungry and how often do you eat from habit, a desire or the pleasure of taste. How often do you eat to combat boredom, to console yourself or take away or dissipate negative emotions such as fear, anger or depression.

How often do you eat slowly, peacefully and in a quietly relaxed surrounding? How often do you eat on the run, hurriedly, with tension or anger, while discussing or arguing, while reading, listening to the radio, or watching TV, or involved in some other activity?

How often do you really taste and enjoy what you eat, how often do you find you’ve eaten a whole meal almost without noticing?

How often do you stop when you know you’ve had enough, and how often do you go on eating because it tastes so good, because you don’t want to go back to what you need to do after eating, or because you have nothing else to do?

How often do you feel alert and pleasantly satisfied after a meal and how often do you feel uncomfortably full, have indigestion or feel sleepy and dull?

How often do you eat healthy, nutritious live foods and how often do you junk out on artificial, processed, sweet, carbohydrate or nutritionless foods.

Go over all that you’ve written and try to see a pattern in your eating. Are there specific times of day, days of the week, or situations where you see yourself eating less than at other times?

EATING WITH AWARENESS

Eating with awareness means slowing down and devoting your full attention during a meal, to the actual process of eating, so you can achieve maximum health benefits and enjoyment.

Eat only when you’re hungry. Even if you eat more than someone else, it will benefit you as long as you are hungry. If you don’t seem to getting much enjoyment out of it or not satisfied with the food available, either you aren’t really hungry or you’re eating more than your body requires. When you are hungry, the simplest food tastes most delicious.

After eating you should feel relaxed and alert. If you feel tired or sluggish you know you’ve eaten too much. When you eat less, you’re body will protest and may experience hunger at first…this initial discomfort is caused from getting to know true hunger,…when you’re body knows true hunger, then eating will become an exquisite pleasure and natural fulfillment of the body.

Eat regularly at specific times. Plan each meal and eat enough that will leave you hungry for your next meal. In that way, you will eat only when you’re hungry and will eat regularly as well.

Focus all your attention on what is happening in your mouth as you chew. A significant part of the digestive process begins with enzymes secreted in the mouth. If you do not chew properly, you are bypassing an important stage of the digestive process and forcing your stomach to worker harder than intended…chronic indigestion, gas, and constipation could result.

Avoid eating when you’re angry, excited, tense, depressed, sick, hurried or tired. Wait until your mind becomes calm and your natural hunger returns. The hunger you experience when tense is not true hunger; it’s mentally induced hunger, designed to provide an outlet for your nerves and anxieties.

Always eat in a pleasant soothing atmosphere. Make your meals colorful and attractive from many food forces. Begin your meal with the gift of gratitude that comes to you from food. A prayerful attitude relaxes you, prepares your digestive system to assimilate the food you eat and to draw more energy from your food.

When eating, simply eat! Avoid distractions such as the computer, talking, reading, listening to the radio or watching tv. All these will divert your attention from the awareness of chewing and tasting your food. When you talk or wondering what to say/write, you’re body must work harder to get the maximum benefit from the food.

Make eating an act of meditation, of reverence for your body and your inner self. Be fully aware of what is occurring in your body. Visualize your digestive system and feel that the food is being converted into vital energy for the sustenance of your body, mind and spirit.

If you overeat, accept yourself. You probably will overeat at times and that’s natural. Learning to be aware of your eating habits will happen gradually.  Don’t get discouraged, you’ll eventually become the best adviser for your own energy and bodily systems

“Weight is only the outer effect of a fear that is inside you. When you look in the mirror and see the fat person staring back, remember that you are looking at the result of your old thinking. When you start to change your thinking, you are planting a seed for what will become true for you. What you choose to think today will create your new figure tomorrow. One of the best books on releasing excess weight is The Only Diet There Is by Sondra Ray. It’s all about dieting from negative thinking. She shows you step by step how to do it.”  ~ Louise L. Hay

Link between intestinal flora (bacteria) and obesity  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130828131932.htm

http://chriskresser.com/thyroid-blood-sugar-metabolic-syndrome

http://www.endocrineweb.com/endocrinology/overview-adrenal-glands

More links to come…..

Stay tuned for Part II…..

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If you are on pharmaceutical anti-depressants it is really important not to stop taking them without the support of your doctor—these should only be stopped or cut down under medical supervision.  For some people anti-depressants can help to put them in a state of mind where they can take positive action to their unique personal needs.

“Chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, kidney disease, and multiple sclerosis result in dramatic lifestyle changes, such as limited mobility and increased dependence on others. These illnesses can create limitations so that people like my mother can no longer engage in enjoyable activities or have hope about the future. With so many devastating changes, it’s easy to see why depression is one of the most common complications of chronic illness. 

Occasionally, depression is actually a medication side effect. Also, depression can aggravate the symptoms of the illness itself, which spurs a negative cycle.

Early diagnosis and treatment of depression can reduce symptoms and decrease the risk of suicide. Therapy and medication are effective tools for battling depression. There is hope of significant improvement for your loved one. Here are a few tips for boosting mood and helping to reclaim your loved one’s lively spirit.” How to Avoid Depression Due to Chronic Illness http://www.homecareinphoenix.com/how-to-avoid-depression-due-to-chronic-illness/

Depression means literally a lowering of spirits—of feeling down, unhappy.  In the minds of those suffering, their stories don’t only portray someone who’s in pain, but whose soul is crying out ‘set me free’.  From our childhood years we were taught not to speak out emotionally, it was considered weak, feared as failure, of humiliation.  Depression disconnects and disturbs the whole mind/body internal communication network.  I do believe that our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies are all very tightly interwoven together…if there is an imbalance in one area, it will throw other areas off balance too.  Scientific studies have proven that powerful negative emotions can offset hormonal imbalances, immune dysfunction and inflammation.  Inflammation can be caused by a poor diet, stress and worry, artificial chemicals in the air and in the food and water we drink as well as cosmetics, drugs, bacteria, viruses and fungi. One of the major jobs of the immune system is to recognize our own cells from foreign cells (viruses, bacteria, parasites) which immunologists have deemed the ‘self’ and ‘nonself.  If the immune system is a highly sophisticated network of ‘fighter cells’ it has to know when not to fight back.  In other words it has to recognize our own body tissues so that it doesn’t ‘wage war’ against our own organs. But what happens when it becomes ‘forgetful’ or no longer remembers who we are and makes a mistake?

In Depression Part III we discussed neuropeptides called cytokines that signal the immune system when there is an injury or infection. Cytokines act as cellular messengers providing different messages to cells and also how they should act.  Cytokines are produced by the cells of the nervous system and also by the cells of the immune system to combat local and wide-spread inflammation in the body.  Usually when inflammation in our bodies is in the process of healing, then the inflammatory response has done its job and everything goes back to its normal state.  But sometimes the inflammation process doesn’t stop causing the body to defend itself against itself!

“This chronic inflammation is not beneficial; it can actually cause more damage and can eventually contribute to the development of various diseases.  The same process that the body uses to defend itself during short-term inflammation backfires when it becomes chronic and ends up harming the body.  It is much like an army that turns on the citizens and the country it was meant to defend.  In fact many diseases have now been linked to inflammation, for example, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, liver disease, and even obesity, [and depression] among others!” Advances IN ORTHOMOLECULAR RESEARCH ~ Volume 4

Cytokines are too large to pass through the blood brain barrier but they can signal the brain via the nervous system and especially through the longest nerve in the body called the vagus. This nerve runs from the lower part of the brain, down the base of the spine, branching out to the heart, respiratory, stomach and intestinal tract.   This proves there is a massive interactive of nerves moving through our body’s gastrointestinal tract which can easily get irritated causing a host of digestive problems.  The gut is one of the primary filtration systems of the body, when its plumbing, electrical and drainage system aren’t working quite right, the body starts absorbing toxins, clogging the system.  When the gut can no longer protect us, autoimmune problems can be triggered by a network of cellular communications and through our lymph nodes.  Constipation, diarrhea, bloating, poor motility, and trapped gas can all lead to obesity, high cholesterol, diverticulitis, pancreatic problems and more.  Toxic buildups are stored in the fat cells of the body…if these toxins leak into the fluids of the body, which includes the blood, they can cause fatigue, body aches, thyroid, heart and brain problems, as well as depression.

(It is thought that about 80% of your immune function is in your gut and a lot of that is governed by how the bacteria are able to function—there are 10 times more bacteria there than cells in our bodies so we are, like the earth, a symbiotic organism)

CHRONIC ILLNESS, STRESS AND DEPRESSION

When we don’t know what’s wrong with us and have had tests upon tests constantly coming back negative we become trapped in a cycle of fear, panic and mental/emotional deprivation. We look to the support of our families, they turn the other way and say ‘pull yourself together’ causing us to withdraw creating a thicker wall between us to protect our sanity. To add to the problem our doctors surmise our problems are anxiety-related and we’re shrugged off with a box of anti-depressants and dizzying tranquilizers.  And even though we’ve been on these drugs for longer than we can remember, we still find ourselves searching for answers to the symptoms we’re experiencing.  We’ve tried affirmations and talking our depressive moods away…but the feelings of melancholy are still there.

Stress, pain and pharmaceutical drugs can make us susceptible to hormonal fluctuations; our hormones go up and down like a yo-yo causing our bodies, moods and feelings to change constantly.  When our bodies are under stress we become extra-sensitive to developing allergies and food sensitivities and a host of other problems. A lot of these problems are not ‘all’ psychological…some may be the result of unbalanced chemistry in the gut and the physical brain.

 “I’m sharing my story because I know there are others like me, who for no reason dipped into a depression caused or triggered by a hormonal malfunction. I was misdiagnosed for years—doctors kept telling me that I was depressed, and kept giving a variety of antidepressants—six in all! These actually made me sicker, more complacent (and fat!) and only slightly better in other ways.  Every single thing in my life came undone; my friends couldn’t understand what I was going through, my family expressed their disappointment in me. The doctors I saw could not find any obvious problem. I did have a thyroid test which came back in the range of a ‘healthy thyroid’—their prognosis—stress!  I had to find out what was wrong with me.  I saw a therapist who thought I was just in a vulnerable place in life, making me more depressed than ever.  It was after this whole ordeal was over that I discovered the healthy range for thyroid hormones can be disputable.  

 I was finally diagnosed with a hypothyroid problem last May when my thyroid test finally reached the high-end of the range. Starting on Synthyroid .075 I felt immediate relief!  I was referred to an endocrinologist who ruled out any other problems (Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Sjogrens, etc) and much to my relief a hypothyroid was the main and only problem.” (Barbara M.)

Often our bodies swing back and forth between hyper-hypothyroid as the body feverishly tries to balance itself out. Mental/emotional stress can have an affect on the body’s digestive system causing an imbalance in our gut bacteria – if these bacterias become imbalanced they can cause thyroid changes. Bacteria are living organisms and are very sensitive to stress, (increasing inflammatory cytokines), antibiotics, poor food choices and even energy changes. Did you know there are over 400 species of bacteria in your intestines and if you could put them on a scale they’d weigh over 4 lbs all together?

“Depression and anxiety are widespread and can, in part, be related to chronic yeast overgrowth in the tissues. The reason, as described by J.P. Nolan in an article in the journal Hepatology, is the link between the gut and the brain.  “An individual’s ability to protect against brain-active substances depends upon the status of his or her intestinal flora, GI mucosal function and hepatic (liver detoxification ability).” This means that when leaky gut is present and the liver is over stressed, the door is open for toxins to reach the brain via the bloodstream.”  The Candida Cure: The 90-Day Program to Beat Candida and Restore Vibrant Health ~ by Ann Boroch

If your gut bacteria have been imbalanced for some time, then you may develop a ‘leaky gut’, which allows minute particles into the bloodstream that normally wouldn’t get through—the body sees these particles as invaders and attacks them. If these particles resemble molecules of your own body, then the immune system can start attacking them—as in the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  This form of the body attacking the body is quite possibly the most common cause of thyroid problems. The pattern begins with an overproduction of thryoxine and as the ‘attacks’ become more frequent, then the thyroxine levels drop, leaving you hypothyroid.

(When your thyroid hormone is low, your metabolism can slow too, leading to symptoms that can mimic clinical depression.)

“Clinical depression is a biological phenomenon, characterized by changes in neurotransmitters and hormones.  It is much different from simple sadness, which is caused by an unhappy experience or situation.  Sadness usually decreases as time passes; clinical depression generally does not improver over time, unless it is properly treated….

 Memory loss is also a common symptom of clinical depression.  As a rule, short-term memory suffers the most.  Frequently this short-term memory impairment occurs because depressed people are inattentive to new information, as a result of which they fail to adequately lay down new memories.  Their ability to lay down new memories is also impaired by their shortage of norepinephrine.” [Norepinephrine is a stimulating chemical in the brain that not only lays down new memories but also moves memories to either long or short-term storage.”  BRAIN LONGEVITY ~ Dharma Singh Khalsa with Cameron Stauth

Arthritis too is a chronic accumulation of toxicity within our body fluids and tissues…our joints are particularly sensitive to toxic accumulations because of the significant amount of physical stress they endure daily and because they are mostly composed of tissue that have poor blood and lymphatic circulation.  This makes it even more difficult for the tissues to access nutrients as well as the ability to eliminate waste products—especially if we don’t get adequate exercise.  When high levels of toxicity accumulate they irritate the tissues in our joints and interfere with the health and proper functioning of cells.  This leads to higher than normal cytokines in the blood, causing painful and restricted movement.  With joint aches and pains comes loss of coordination, an inability to concentrate with bouts of no energy.  Depression can easily set when we feel run down and can’t think straight anymore.

“The brain and the digestive system work together.  Scientists have long known the brain stimulates the digestive organs through parasympathetic activities such as sight, smell, and taste, which stimulates hunger.  Psychological factors also impact hunger and digestion, influencing the movements of the intestine, secretion of digestive enzymes, and other digestive functions.  Intense sadness or anger, for example, will set off a chain reaction that stimulates or reduces hunger, perhaps causing weight and digestive problems, and sometimes intestinal illnesses….

 Experts such as Michael Gershon, MD, propose that the stomach actually contains a second brain, rich with neurotransmitters of its own, which triggers IBS.  Gershon says IBS is an example of the gut working in isolation, though he recognizes the brain-gut axis such as when “butterflies in the stomach” occurs as a result of the brain sending a message of anxiety to the gut, which sends messages back to the brain that it’s unhappy.” Cyndi Dale ~  THE SUBTLE BODY: An Encyclopedia of your Energetic Anatomy

Almost every system in the body can be damaged by stress. An increase in corticosteroids (produced by the adrenals) can suppress the reproduction system causing irregular menstruation and problems with ovulation in women; impotency in men and loss of libido in both.  Loss of insulin during a stressful time can be one of the triggers for the onset of Type II diabetes. Chronic stress can be unrelenting making us more susceptible to colds and flu, which could worsen to specific diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, respiratory disorders like asthma and bronchitis.

LOW STOMACH ACID

Low stomach acid is common in older people and with those suffering from hypothyroidism, food allergies, candidiasis, hepatitis, lupus, hives, eczema, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, osteoporosis, psoriasis  and  many more.

The most common signs and symptoms of low acidity in the stomach are: feeling bloated after eating, indigestion, constipation, heartburn, food allergies, nauseous, fingernails weak or peeling, hair loss, undigested food in stools, chronic yeast infections.

If you are taking antacids for stomach pain, please be careful because antacids can seriously interfere with the absorption of minerals from your foods.  Also antacids can block enzymes from your pancreas and possibly interfere with nutritional absorption.

If you’re one of those people who wake up with a flat stomach but bloated by the end of day, try taking a probiotic (acidophilus/yogurt) a 1/2 an hour before your morning breakfast; they help to protect and cleanse your digestive system and helps in the absorption of nutrients. There are also many different plant-based enzymes on the market to help with digestion, because we all have different enzyme systems, you may need to explore these options.

DO WOMEN SUFFER DEPRESSION MORE THAN MEN?

Are women twice as likely to suffer an episode of clinical depression then men?  Possibly, but repeated bouts of depression have been proven to be equal for men and women…

“But if repeat episodes of depression are equal for men and women, doesn’t it stand to reason that they may be having first bouts at the same rate?  Maybe the discrepancy lies not in the number of men and women who are depressed, but rather, in how depression is expressed…the diagnostic tallies…ignore the fact that women are much more likely to report depression and seek help.  Men are more likely to try to fight through their depression, using strategies ranging from hard work to extreme exercise to drinking to violence.  Nearly four times more men than women kill themselves.”~  Laurence Gonzales

It’s understandable to think women would suffer from depression three times more than men …but we also have to realize our society has put a feminine face on this disease giving women permission to feel it and seek help for it. Men on the other hand were taught as children to be tough to be strong, silent, independent and hold their emotions in.

Our feelings are constantly being triggered inside us, we just haven’t been fully aware of them at least not until recently. In the past we suppressed our emotions and relied on our minds to steer us through life—emotions have been largely unexplored in our existence—emotional freedom is the next step in our evolution as we begin our journey through the Aquarian Age.

It’s wonderful that more and more men are coming forward, admitting to or believing they may suffer from depression.  Perhaps they realize they have been driving themselves to the ground, trying desperately to compensate for their suffering.

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

Before we move on to the next section, postpartum depression needs to be addressed too.  This is another illness many women young and old are ashamed of having and shouldn’t.  We all have our own individual personalities and characters and should treat ourselves as individually as possible.

After the many hours of being in labor and the euphoria of giving birth to a beautiful baby, the mother starts to rapidly go through a steep decline in the levels of hormones in her body.  Once the placenta is removed, the hormones progesterone, estrogen and androgens take a drastic drop, sometimes way below pre-pregnancy levels. At the same time another hormone, prolactin, a pituitary hormone is increased to stimulate milk production.  Along with all this, cortisol level drops and the thyroid is signaled to return high hormonal levels to normal.  All this commotion causes chaos in the new mother’s body who understandably is teary-eyed and extremely rundown from lack of sleep.

“Postpartum depression is also under diagnosed.  Fully 80 percent of women experience the baby blues for up to two weeks after delivery.  Approximately 10 to 15 percent of women will go on to experience some form of mood disorder postpartum, ranging from major depression to anxiety disorders such as panic attack. If a woman has a history of depression, she is at significant risk of postpartum. Many women who suffer one postpartum depression will experience the same thing at each birth.  True psychosis occurs in about 1 in 1,000 births and is characterized as being out of touch with reality, hallucinating, and hearing voices.” Christian Northrup, M.D. WOMEN”S BODIES, WOMEN”S WISDOM

HEALING DEPRESSION NATURALLY

The first responsibility you have to take care of is you!  Your main focus is creating a healthy body, not constantly fighting some illness or disease.  How can we possibly do the best for ourselves, our families, and communities/society if we are constantly waging a no-win war against ourselves.  The mind/body connection is a powerful circuit of energy—you cannot be happy or sad, awake or asleep, sick or well without any of these messages being sent along circuits and networks of energy.  We are only beginning to understand the enormous capacities of the human brain and its connection/reaction to the 60,000 miles+ nervous system.  The body is a subtle and delicate instrument that must be handled with the greatest care and respect and tuned with deep sensitivity.

 “When you’re in solitary confinement you’re six feet under without light, sound or running water, there is no place to go but inside. And when you go inside, you discover that everything that exists in the Universe is also within you. Within you is great power.” ~ Rubin Carter

The key to healing isn’t to rush your way through or try to deny the pain isn’t there.  The first stage of healing is to get into its rhythm rather than try to rush out of it.  Being aware is simply stopping and listening to yourself; it’s about feeling and sensing your body’s inner language. Our spirit speaks to us through our intuition, our inner sense of knowing what is right or wrong for our bodies at any given time.  But many of us have ignored it for so long that it’s become lost in the shuffle and bustle of life and we’ve forgotten how to read it.

We have to know where we are before we can decide how to get where we want to go. In Depression Part II, we looked at the three stages of creating change in our lives.  They are called Awareness, Acceptance and Adjustment; each of these stages build upon another and each stage moves you closer to making the desired change you want in your life. You can see it here

Take responsibility to explore and educate yourself about your own health.  Doctors and therapists can assist in the process but you must do the work.  All of us, whether man, woman or child, must learn to nurture ourselves, respect the body and its processes and allow them to function at their best.  Holistic healing employs natural remedies and treatments along with wholesome foods, exercise, sunshine, fresh air, positive thinking, fulfilling work, and a balanced lifestyle.

“regardless of what you eat, don’t go more than four hours without eating or you’re going to feel drained” Dr. Joey Shulman, Winning the Food Fight”

Our mental and emotional states are vital in healing the body.  The health of the spirit and mind is not independent of the health of the body; emotional illness or imbalances don’t just happen, something underlying these has to be a trigger. Emotional changes are key characteristics of physical disorders…the physical body can easily become disturbed from anxiety, pain, sleeplessness, disturbing dreams, isolation, aimlessness etc., there is a connection between the mind and body that causes the origins of depression in the physical body.

Sometimes, even though we have a knowing of these things ourselves, we can get caught in cycles of negative energies and forget about the positives.  Our high tech society is one of the primary causes of where we get caught on these downward spirals.  We are constantly busy and pushing, pushing to get ahead; as much as we try to adapt to our changing circumstances, it taxes the body/mind and exhausts its energies. We need to counteract all this busyness with balances of rest, relaxation and appreciation or risk burnout of being out of control.  Why even a small change, like, to our eating habits can send signals this food is going to make us feel more energetic and boost our mood, our enthusiasm and immune system.

YOUR FOOD IS YOUR MEDICINE

“During World War II, scientists in the United States…pondered the effects of starvation on captured Gis living in Japanese POW Camps. To provide answers, a six month study was launched at the University of Minnesota using healthy young male conscientious objectors.  This study produced incredible results (although, of course, this kind of study would not be conducted today).

 The young men were deprived of more than half their normal food intake. Over the course of six months, many suffered severe physical and psychiatric changes, most of these disturbances lingered long after the experiment had ended.

 In the beginning, the men showed a high degree of tolerance and sociability with each other.  But gradually they began to avoid group activities. There were frequent outbursts of anger and irritability, and many grew deeply depressed. Some finally required hospitalization in a psychiatric ward.  One chopped off three of his fingers in response to stress’ another became uncontrollably violent.  Many expressed the fear that they were going crazy’ others talked of suicide. They all cried a lot and displayed wild emotional disturbances…

 After the study ended, the emotional symptoms continued. In fact, researchers noted that some of the men grew even more negative, depressed and argumentative, directly after the conclusion of the project….

 The growing awareness that natural substances are needed to create optimum brain functioning should have aroused tremendous interest in the scientific community.  Unfortunately, the concurrent worldwide development of the drug industry, with its promise of far more lucrative rewards, lead researchers in another direction.” Joan Mathews Larson PH.D. ~ 7 Weeks to Emotional Healing

This is not the only study that has proven that an improper diet can cause some form of depression.  We have discovered through testing that hormones are created from the food we eat and in order to create all the hormones we need, we have to get enough nutrients that create the enzymes and other substances to keep our hormones functioning normally.  Magnesium is probably the most important mineral our bodies need for good hormone balance and it is the most deficient mineral in the world because of modern farming methods.  Magnesium is also essential for your metabolism.  It activates enzymes, especially those related to energy production; if you’ve been feeling tired, try increasing your magnesium intake—sources of magnesium are nuts, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews and hazelnuts.  Whole grain products, wheatgerm, tofu and seaweed are also rich in magnesium.

Scientists and researchers know that our hormone system evolved in a world where food was very different from the food we eat today.  Our ancestors collected fresh foods from their immediate environment, such as nuts, seeds, fruits, roots, and even insects—these foods contained a totally different balance of nutrients than the foods in our diet today. Our modern diet is very different than the one our bodies were designed to function on.  Rich, heavy foods (such as pasta, steaks, rich sauces, breads, pastries and cakes) will leave you feeling heavy and lethargic, as will alcohol after the first rush has faded.

“Our liver, kidneys and small intestines are the body’s natural cleaning team, working together to package toxic compounds for removal. Over time, the function of these organs especially the liver can be compromised by illness, poor nutrition, stress, pollution or toxic lifestyle habits. (e.g., drugs, alcohol or tobacco)

When the clean-up process is not being carried out as it should, toxic byproducts cannot be properly neutralized.  As a result, toxic compounds from the liver are reabsorbed and stored in the fatty tissues of the body rather then excreted.” THE HORMONE DIET ~ Natasha Turner, N.D.

FOODS YOU SHOULD EAT

Fresh fruit and dried fruit

Fresh vegetables

Fruit or vegetable juices

Sprouted seeds and legumes (alfalfa, lentil, chickpea, sesame, sunflower, and possibly peanuts)

Nuts and seeds

Beans and legumes

Whole grains and cereals

Whole grain bread

Honey, blackstrap molasses, maple syrup, rice syrup, barley malt

Herbal teas and coffee substitutes

Tofu and other soy products

Milk and dairy products in moderation

To eat a healthy diet we need to listen more to the actual needs of our bodies.  We have to observe how we feel after eating a meal and notice signals such as a rapid pulse, difficulty in concentrating, tiredness, irritability, unexplained emotions and over-reactions to simple daily things.

We all have different bodies, different enzymes, different muscles and nervous and hormone systems.  Each of us has to get to know ourselves and tune into our own body with the way it works best.

PHYTOCHEMICALS/PHYTONUTRIENTS AND ANTIOXIDANTS

Nature provides the human body and its immune system with an incredible array of anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-disease supports called phytochemicals and antioxidants, which are found in many common foods.  Antioxidants and phytochemicals give your cells layer upon layer of protection and accelerated healing.

Phytochemicals are an active compound found in plants that are proven to help the body resist many diseases.  They give hot peppers their burning sensation and garlic and onions their pungent flavor; dark chocolate its bitterness and tomatoes their dark red color. In the body, phytochemicals act as antioxidants, mimic hormones and help to suppress the development of diseases.  Cancer and heart disease are linked to processes involving oxygen compounds in the body and antioxidants are said to oppose these actions.

What Colorful Foods Are You Eating

Foods with the greatest phytochemicals and antioxidants are colorful foods like red and yellow fruits and berries: for example, carrots, yellow and red peppers, cantaloupe, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, red currants, cranberries, peaches…all these are high in carotenoids and carotenoids decrease of the risk of many diseases…they feed the brain, your mental functioning and your memory.

Tomatoes and watermelon and grapefruit get their red color from a pigment called lycopene, an antixoidant.

Green vegetables such as broccoli, arugula, cabbage, bok choy, kale, collards rapini, all help to block tumor growth, suppress colon cancer and boost immunity.  For both men and women it helps to remove extra estrogen from the body, which helps to suppress breast cancer.

Herbs have powerful anticancer powers and potent antioxidants…some are turmeric, bilberry, hawthorn, cayenne, milk thistle, parsley, Echinacea, ginkgo biloba, green tea, grape-seed extract

Onions and Garlic are naturally antibiotics and help to fight bacteria, viruses and intestinal parasites.  They lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol and prevent blood clotting.

Citrus Fruits such as grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes help to release carcinogens from the body, prevent lung disease, reduce cholesterol and boost immunity.  Because of their alkaline content they protect against stomach and pancreatic cancers.

NATURAL ANTIDEPRESSANTS

*This has been repeated from DEPRESSION PART III

Vitamin B12 and folic acid have been effective in raising mood.

Patients on antidepressants supplemented with B complex vitamins have been known to improve more than those on antidepressants who did not supplement with them. Vitamin B6 is needed by the body to produce serotonin.

SAM-e – S-adenosyl-L-methionine, is an amino acid that is thought to increase levels of serotonin and dopamine. It’s a super antidepressant.

5-HTP, L-Tryptophan and Melatonin – 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) and L-Tryptophan are amino acids that are used by the body to make serotonin. They are helpful in the synthesis of melatonin, a hormone involved in healthy sleep. These supplements are super when having to wean off prescription antidepressants. As the dosage of the antidepressant is gradually reduced, one can slowly substitute 5-HTP or L-Tryptophan to help reduce the withdrawal reactions that are apparent with most antidepressants.

L-Tyrosine L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that the body uses to manufacture dopamine. It also uses L-Tyrosine to make thyroid hormone. It can be a very effective antidepressant for almost everyone. One of the ways to boost L-Tyrosine levels is to supplement with vitamin C, which helps the body manufacture it in greater amounts.

Omega-3 fatty acids – Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil, flax seed, evening primrose, borage, blackcurrant seed oil) help to reduce inflammation and the absorption of nutrients.  It’s also known as a great brain food.  All brains would benefit from optimal levels of DHA and EPA. Depression is one of many common conditions that could benefit from omega-3 fatty acids. They influence something called the cytokine system in the brain. These cytokines are known as interleukin-1 -2 and -6, interferon-gamma, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. They can directly and indirectly influence the severity of depression.

Rhodiola rosea – This is an excellent herbal remedy for both anxiety and depression – Athletes have used this remedy for better stamina and higher energy. Check with your health care provider or health store as to how much you should take and if it can be increased gradually.

Valerian helps to calm the nerves and anxieties – it is especially recommended for nervous problems caused from emotional stress or pain.

AROMATHERAPY (Aromatic Anti-Depressants)

Grapefruit – sweet citrus fragrance, very uplifting and antidepressant

Rose – antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, bactericidal, sedative, stomachic, tonic, uterine

Melissa – anti-depressant, antihistaminic, bactericidal, nervine, works well with stress related disorders

Grapefruit, Rose and Melissa are quite powerful antidepressants. You can use them on their own or in a blend. You can add them to your bath – just sprinkle 4 to 8 drops of one or all essential oils on the water’s surface after the bath has been drawn.  These essences can also be used in a vaporizer or burner, rubbed or cotton or small cloth.

Bergamot delightfully citrus with a hint of spice
Geranium – Sweet and rosy with a hint of mint
Lavender – sweet floral that’s uplifting, calming and refreshing

You can use the above oils in a burner, bath or as a massage blend.
I also think that drinking Chamomile tea may also be helpful.

GREAT LINKS

Depression affects cells causing chronic illness – cytokines http://news.softpedia.com/news/Depression-Affects-Cells-Causes-Chronic-Illness-193485.shtml

Chronic illness can cause depression – emotional pain as a weakness

http://theadventuresofarthritisnfibromyalgia.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/when-chronic-illness-causes-depression/

Chronic Illness Can Lead to Anxiety and Depression http://rawarrior.com/anxiety-and-depression-with-chronic-illness/

This is a really great site that discussing inflammation, phytochemicals, antioxidants and other energizing foods. http://vitalitymagazine.com/article/reversing-chronic-inflammation/

Great site on how to feed the brain and be more alert  http://www.discovergoodnutrition.com/2013/10/mental-energy/

Gastrointestinal Disease can cause depression

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/06/can-inflammation-in-this-organ-be-at-the-root-of-your-depression.aspx

How to Avoid Depression Due to Chronic Illness http://www.homecareinphoenix.com/how-to-avoid-depression-due-to-chronic-illness/

http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/shamesadrenal.htm There is a major connection between low thyroid function and low adrenal. Low adrenal can actually cause someone’s thyroid problems to be much worse than it would be otherwise.

http://www.marilynglenville.com/womens-health-issues/general-health/ nutrition and lifestyle can increase your health

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If you’re reading this and been diagnosed with depression and given medication, the important thing is to take it but don’t stop there.  The medication is going to make you feel better and with feeling better, you can continue studying and learning how you can heal yourself through different methods.  Yes, I’ve heard people say that medication can be a crutch but if you needed a crutch to help you walk better, you’d use it right?  Sometimes a crutch is what we need to get over the hump and which helps us persevere in learning to walk without it. 

 “Most of us grow up believing that we are not good enough to be loved for just being ourselves.  So we try desperately to live up to a self-created image of how we should be.  The constant struggle to uphold this idealized version of ourselves causes many of our difficulties.  It is, therefore, important to discover on what assumptions you have created your own idealized image and how it has caused distress and frustration in your life.  You will find it has achieved the exact opposite of what you had hoped it would.  This discovery may be painful, but will allow you to reevaluate the way you are presenting yourself to the world and help you to become your true, relaxed self.” Eva Pierrakos, The Pathwork of Self-Transformation

Depression is an affective disorder (dramatic changes and extreme mood swings) that affects us physically, mentally and emotionally.  Any one of us can be catapulted into depression by the death of a loved one, a change in residence; an unexpected financial crisis; bullying; news that suddenly shocks or upsets us; a job that we thought was a given; years working for a company that suddenly goes bankrupt; a relationship breakup; verbal or physical abuse.  Whatever the cause, we lose our sense of direction, our footing, strong irrational feelings and emotions take over and we either overreact to everything or find ourselves withdrawing deep inside.

 Symptoms of depression can include:  low energy, fatigue, feeling slowed down,  poor appetite or overeating, weight gain or loss, insomnia or increased sleep, inability to concentrate, agitation, loss of interest, irritability, indecisiveness, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness, guilt, fatigue, energy loss, headaches, backaches, digestive disorders, inability to perform sexually or decreased sexual drive, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.  (Not all these symptoms occur in a person who is depressed, but some or many are present).

 “Depression: This involves a deep inner sadness and longing for life to different, a conflict between the ideal and the real, between who we would like to be and who we are. There is no doubt that there is a chemical or hormonal imbalance that can cause this state, but the cause of the imbalance may be found in deep, underlying attitudes and emotional issues.  How much pressure to succeed did we experience when we were children?  Have we experienced life-changing events, such as war, that make ordinary life seem meaningless in comparison?  Have we lost our purpose and reason for living maybe because a loved one has been lost?  Depression clearly demonstrates the relationship between mind and body, for as the mind becomes depressed so the body loses its vitality and healthy functioning.  Deep relaxation and a reconnection with our purpose are essential.”  Deb Shapiro

 Depression can isolate and even alienate us from friends, family and people in general.  Even when not alone, people can experience extreme feelings of depression and loneliness.  How many of us have found ourselves lying around the house, or staring blankly out the window; then we putter around the house here and there, picking up this and that, pretending we’re doing something but in reality it’s a whole lot of nothing. 

 With depression it takes a lot of time and thought before it feels like much of a blessing. When in the throes of it we have this thought, this feeling, an illusion that things will stay this way forever and I find that that thought is what holds the depression. We forget that we’ve been here before, maybe even not that long ago and gotten through and not only did we get through it but came out the other end much clearer.  It’s as if we have to go through this kind of amnesia when we are in the thick of it to retrieve more of our deepest darkest, unknown parts.

 To free your spirit and learn to accept every part of your being, you have to learn to feel all your feelings.  No matter how dark or hidden….

 “Some feelings and thoughts seem to emerge only in a dark mood.  Suppress the mood, and you will suppress those ideas and reflections.  Depression may be as important a channel for valuable “negative” feelings, as expression of affection are for the emotions of love.  Feelings of love give birth naturally to gestures of attachment.  In the same way, the void and grayness of depression evoke an awareness and articulation of thoughts otherwise hidden behind the screen of lighter moods.  Sometimes a person will come to a therapy session in a dark mood. “I shouldn’t have come today,” he will say.  “I’ll feel better next week, and we can get on with it.” But I’m happy that he came, because together we will hear thoughts and feel his soul in a way not possible in his cheerful moods.  Melancholy gives the soul an opportunity to express a side of its nature that is as valid as any other, but is hidden out of our distaste for its darkness and bitterness.” Thomas Moore

 

DEPRESSION IS RAGE SPREAD THIN. ~George Santayana

“Depression is anger turned inward.  It is also anger that you feel you do not have a right to have. For instance you may not feel it’s okay to be angry at your parent or spouse or employer or best friend.  Yet you are angry. And you feel stuck. That anger becomes depression. Far too many people today suffer from depression, even chronic depression.  By the time we feel that depressed, it is very difficult to get out of it.  It feels so hopeless that it becomes an effort to do anything.  

I don’t care how spiritual you are, you have got to wash your dishes every now and then.  You can’t let the sink pile up with dirty dishes and say, “Oh, I’m metaphysical.” The same with your feelings, if you want to have a mind that flows freely then clean up your inner mental dirty dishes. Louis L. Hay THE POWER IS WITHIN YOU

 When we feel angry or upset about something or someone and don’t express them, that’s really unhealthy. Perhaps you want to do the right thing by everybody and really dislike hurting or disappointing others.  So with the feeling you have no other choices you continue to live in an abusive or controlling situation.  Because you won’t standup for yourself, you begin to feel lost or don’t feel you belong and to counteract that feeling, you numb or deny your feelings.  Sometimes when we deny or repress our anger, we go on eating binges to cover it up. The problem is, whatever we do to get another’s approval and love, all we end up doing is getting disappointed over and over again.  

“Depression afflicts millions of people in the industrialized world today. It impairs the digestive, nervous and circulatory systems in the body and depletes any remnant of joy and happiness. By itself, depression is not an independent emotion but is directly linked to repressed anger.” It’s Time To Come Alive ~ by Andreas Moritz

 When we suppress our anger the area in the body to react first is the gallbladder located in the solar plexus.  As our frustrations peek and we become more closed and frustrated, the liver (also in solar plexus) will become affected.  The liver is an important organ in terms of emotions because its main job is to regulate the flow of energy (chi/qi) around the body. The kidneys too need this chi energy in order to do its job, which is to support all the other organs. If the kidneys become affected, we experience poor concentration and memory, dizziness and the head can feel ‘empty’.  When we feel empty this affects the pancreas and spleen and we feel that desire to eat sweets or fatty foods which depletes us even further. Then we may suffer from headaches, stomachaches and backaches and yet when we go to the doctor he or she says there’s nothing wrong.

 All our organs are physically and emotionally connected to the brain via the central nervous system (CNS), which is connected to the rest of the body.  It is through this system that the brain and the entire body can be in constant communication…. just the slightest shift in our thinking and feeling stirs our nervous system into action.  Within the brain are chemicals called neurotransmitters that carry impulses between the nerve cells, which regulate behavior.  The way these neurotransmitters work is very intricate. The physical cause of depression is the depletion of these neurotransmitters (e.g. endorphin, norephinephrine, serotonin, dopamine) in specific brain areas.  Serotonin eases tension, while norepinephrine and dopamine cause alertness.  Without self-worth or believing that we’re worthy, the brain loses its ability to function emotionally, when that happens we’ll back down from expression our feelings or nod in agreement when we meant to say no…a form of self-sabotage. 

 “Social conditioning has taught many of us to repress anger right from the beginning of life. When small children don’t get what they want they have tantrums and are often told off by an angry parent. All the small instances of withheld anger or frustration buildup to a highly explosive inner conflict, creating a strong chemical distortion in the body. Every new instance that triggers an emotional explosion reveals an entire past of unresolved conflicts. Anger, if it is dealt with before depression, can be a means to learn about the very weaknesses that we tend to project onto others. Whenever you feel angry, you are never really angry with somebody else, but you are frustrated over your own inability to fulfill your desires, both past and present.” It’s Time to Come Alive ~ Andreas Moritz  

 THE MANY FACES OF DEPRESSION

 In psychological terms, there are many different types of depression:  reactive depression is triggered by a trauma and/or the loss of or separation from an object or a person.  Endogenous depressions are associated with delusions and hallucinations.  Unipolar depression consists of depressive episodes that recur several times or throughout a person’s life.  Bipolar depression or manic depression consists of alternate episodes of alternative episodes of depression and mania. 

 Types of depression http://www.irishhealth.com/clin/depression/types.html

Classification of different depressions http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/depression/classification_000001.htm

 “The signs and symptoms of the depressive phase of bipolar disorder include unrelenting sadness. It may seem like everything is lousy, always was lousy, and always will be lousy. It may seem that any happiness you enjoyed was phony and fleeting. The hopelessness pervades your body and thoughts like a virus. You may not be able to function at all, and if you are, you feel like a robot going through the motions. You may think that you don’t matter and that everyone would be better off without you—no matter what anyone tells you. You may take no pleasure in anything that gave you pleasure before. It may seem there is nothing you can do about this. You may feel powerless, insignificant, and just a shell of your former self. It seems like this will go on forever. 

The good news is that “forever,” in the case of a depression following a manic episode, may last only six to eight weeks. The bad news is that those weeks feel like forever, no matter what anyone says. You wouldn’t be surprised if someone said to you, “Due to the energy crisis, we have shut off the light at the end of the tunnel.” The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Bipolar Disorder ~ Bobbi Dempsey, Jay Carter

 Clinical depression (depression lasting more than two weeks) ‘is’ a serious illness, and currently the leading cause of disability in the United States, and the World Health Organization expects it to be the second leading cause of disability in the world, second only to heart disease, by the year 2020.

 “The symptoms of clinical depression often closely mimic the symptoms of early Alzheimer’s, because depression severely impairs both memory and cognitive function….Clinical depression is a biological phenomenon, characterized by changes in neurotransmitters and hormones. ….

 Depression mimics Alzheimer’s in several ways.  Clinical depression often slows down all thought processes, and all physical movements.  People with clinical depression often speak very slowly, with long pauses, and have a vacant look in their eyes.  Their movements are painfully slow and deliberate.  This symptom, which is partly caused bv a deficiency of the stimulating neurotransmitter norepinephrine, is often mistakenly considered to be a symptom of early Alzheimer’s.  BRAIN LONGETIVITY Dharma Singh Khalsa M.D. with Cameron Stauth)

 Depression can also be triggered by stress; traumatic events, brain imbalances, thyroid disease, poor diet, magnesium deficiency, allergies, and prescription drugs like birth control pills, antibiotics, antihistamines, arthritic medications, and tranquilizers. Surprisingly food allergies are one of the most common causes of depression as well as cancer.

 When we suppress anger, a chemical reaction in the body causes acids to be secreted and attack the body.  Not only could we develop ulcers, anger, tension and stress also affect the heart and circulation, which in turn affect every other part of the body.  A rigid frame of mind could be expressed as arthritis; a broken heart may manifest as a stroke or coronary; and a need for growth could show up as cancer.

 Other types of depression are:  seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which descends in the fall and reaches an all time low in the winter. People with this disorder tend to overeat, oversleep, and crave carbohydrates. Women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) become irritable and depressed at certain stages of the menstrual cycle due to hormonal changes. Some women experience clinical depression after the birth of a child. This disorder is called postpartum depression.

 *We will look deeper into all these in PART III – Healing Depression Naturally

 

EMPATHIC OVERLOAD

 As our consciousness continues to expand outward our nervous systems are becoming more receptive and highly sensitive to every living thing on this planet.  The more sensitive we become the more vulnerable we are to the subtleties of our environment and beyond.  When this happens we can be so out of ourselves, so much out there, we lose the most precious connection we have, our inner center, our soul/spirit. 

 For the first time in history, we have the capabilities of knowing, emotionally and simultaneously what’s happening anywhere in the world. The development of technology has cut us off from being aware of our own human needs. Many of us are tuned into so much content it’s causing us to become emotionally unstable. If we allow ourselves to be swept along with the many highs/lows of life, we will forever feel insecure with our own life. Empaths take on others emotions as their own, so much so, they find themselves exhausted and drained. In the depths of all the pain and suffering in the world they have no idea how they can help a world that seems to be getting worse and worse. But we’re not meant to burn out when these things happen. 

We need to recognize, to the depths of our souls, that we are all part of one whole, that what each of us does individually has a powerful impact on us all. Our global crises relate to and mirror our individual processes. Only through healing ourselves on all levels — physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual — can we heal our families, our communities, and our planet. Shakti Gawain, The Path of Transformation ~ this wonderful and inspiring book is on pdf  http://theawareshow.com/2011/shakti-gawain/tas-attract-shakti-gawain-path-of-transformation.pdf

 We have to train ourselves to focus on the present and it doesn’t come easy.  When we are doing something, we are, at the same time, planning what we’re going to do next or tomorrow.  Most of the time you’re probably deep in thought, pondering the future; going over things in your mind.  You notice what’s around you but you’re so consumed with old patterns of thought, you’re not living it.   

Because all things are constantly in a state of change, it is often difficult to get our bearings if we are constantly looking outside of ourselves.  But when we search within, the answers are always available to us. 

In the next article, we’ll continue to investigate what depression is and how you can make peace with where you are Now.

 An excerpt from the next article…

 THE THREE A’s

Awareness, Acceptance, Adjustment

 “The formula is simple.  Take your greatest victory as your ceiling and your worst defeat becomes the place where your foundation will be built.  Once that’s in place you’ve got a frame which you will fill with joy and sorrow.  From your center will come the creative force of your being, your truth and your instincts.  It is from this place that everything else evolves.” Linda Joyce 

AWARENESS – To make changes to our world, we first need to know where we are before we can decide how to get where we want to go.  If you got lost driving to my house, you’d call and ask for directions.  To help you get here, my first question to you would be “Where are you now.”  Awareness is about asking yourself….”Where am I now”; this always determines your next move. 

 ACCEPTANCE – Awareness and acceptance are intertwined.  By learning to accept freely and uncritically where we are at this moment, we begin to allow our unconscious to release more knowledge about ourselves.  The process of acceptance is one of acknowledging to ourselves that we are in fact perfect—it is where we are supposed to be right now….

 To be continued….

What is Depression “All of these famous individuals [listed] are believed to have suffered from a mood disorder in various forms.  Yet they are remembered, not for their illnesses but for their ACHIEVEMENTS. ~ Mood Disorders Society of Canada.” http://www.mooddisorderscanada.ca/documents/Consumer%20and%20Family%20Support/Depression.pdf

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“Physical healing takes place as we learn to tune into, feel, and listen to our bodies.  Our bodies usually know what they need.  They communicate to us clearly and specifically, if we are willing to listen to them. We need to cultivate the art of understanding and interpreting their signals. The body is constantly communicating its need for the right food at the right time, for rest when it’s weary, for movement, and for touch.

 In order to accurately receive the body’s messages, we first have to heal our own addictive processes—the false cravings we may have developed for certain substances or foods that block us from feeling what our bodies really need.  Our bodies naturally crave what is good for them. “ Shatki Gawain, The Four Levels Of Healing

 When problems occur physically, psychologically or emotionally, your spirit has already been trying to get your attention for a while but you’ve either ignored or didn’t understand the signals of your inner guidance.  We don’t hear it until it shouts when in extreme distress.  But even then our first response is trying to eliminate the pain by taking  antacids, painkillers and such—rather than seeing the pain as a messenger and learning to understand what its saying.  

 When Carol first emailed me (PMS PART 1 & 2) regarding her PMS, she was very clear of its emotional effects, especially her uncontrollable rages.  As we looked more at her physical causes, Carol noticed her body was actually shouting at her in an unmistakably painful way.  The more she learned to tune into her inner guidance the more she noticed her PMS wasn’t something that just hit her out of the blue; it had been sitting on the backburner for a while. 

 ENERGY READING

 Together Carol and I discussed her rages, tearful scenes and violent premenstrual outbursts.  She wanted to know why PMS brought out her worst side without the ‘will’ to stop it.  I asked her if I could tune into her energies, perhaps when she was PMSing or close to her period.  We agreed on a day and time as she lives in England and I in Canada.  What follow is an abbreviation of what I saw….which took in total about five or ten minutes.

 When I first tuned into Carol’s energies, she was very nervous and frightened.  Her etheric and nervous system seemed to have protectively cocooned around her body, especially around the solar plexus, clenching it tightly.  I felt the sensation of feeling trapped and a bit claustrophobic.  As I gently scanned and sweeped her energy field, the tightness in my belly subsided but I felt a low, persistent, dragging abdominal pain which I intuitively knew, was Carol’s energy.  Sometimes, a healer can take on another’s pain and this was what was happening to me.  As Carol’s energy flowed over to mine, my muscles felt tense with aches and pains in my joints.  My energy felt low, making me light-headed and irritable….I wanted to snack on something, anything….I had the munchies! 

 The scenes that came next were all jumbled and didn’t fall in sequence at all.  The uncomfortable feelings faded and I found myself looking deeper into Carol’s energy and virtually saw a younger woman (Carol) sitting sullenly nearby.  As I approached the woman, she started crying and immediately brought up both legs onto the chair, pressed them into her chest, wrapping her hands around her knees and hugged the sides of her legs.  In her mind I saw old pieces of memories, her ambitions and visions and views she saw of herself.    I saw her give up things what she needed and wanted for herself—I was told this was out of fear of being rejected, abandoned or worse, confronted.  When she looked in a mirror there was no self-reflection.  What I saw was her reflecting other people’s lives through the image of many mirrors.  Out of fear she learnt to do what others expected her to do.

 When that image slowly dissolved, I saw Carol going completely beserk and attacking someone (her husband?) with a carving knife….then I was suddenly in a fast-moving car driven by Carol, running through an intersection on a red light.  Her energy felt cross, headachey, and stressed almost to the breaking point.  Her emotions were dangerous and very angry. 

 Anger is often a manifestation of other emotions, like fear and shame.  Perhaps more than any other emotion, shame keeps us from connecting.  Shame is about hiding that part of ourselves we are so afraid to bring up, because we believe that if anyone found out about it, they’d never love us or want to be around us.  It’s so much more acceptable to bring up anger, or sadness, or even fear.  We’ve learned how to hide our shame, to keep it at bay, so we don’t bring it up in our relationships.” Carol Naber, Intuitive Healer

 Then things changed again and I saw Carol as an image of a child, whose household looked like a warzone.  It was a place of non-stop panic, frightening her to death as well as belittling her feelings.  In order to cope with the pain she learned at this young age to deny her emotions.  I saw her in a basement with no light to turn on. To make matters worse, she didn’t know where to find the key to unlock it.  Overwhelmed, all her feelings of loss remained stifled and suppressed in this basement until her hormones kicked in and her body started changing.  Although Carol experienced an explosion of emotions in her teenage years, she still tried to keep these bottled up, but they got lodged in her body in the form of hidden tensions, unhealthy habits and too much stress.  It was in her mid 20’s that she started experiencing an explosion of emotions that skyrocketed in a frenzy of emotional rages. 

 “Our rage child is at once a young and old emotion:  young because she is tied to our personal childhood traumas that have been suppressed; old because she is an accumulation of unresolved anger and shame, some of which has been passed on for many generations.  Few of us realize how much we have and how rage controls our lives.  We feel trapped in a revolving door of conflicting emotions—victims of our rage inward, against ourselves.  We fail to understand that the ongoing, often subconscious struggle to repress rage causes suffering and drains our life force.  Whether we are ignorant or aware does not change the fierce truth that most of us are enraged—with good reason—and the fires of rage continue to burn with our without our acknowledgement or permission.”  Ruth King. 

 Our bodies can tell a whole story about our lives.  When we learn to tap into our own energy, our deepest secrets and fears will reveal themselves to us.  Carol’s body was holding a lot of anger, resentment, fear, and woundedness.  Her PMS could very well be stemming from burying her feelings and emotions as a child.  She denied these even existed until her adolescent years when she experienced an emotional awakening from her hormones going wild.  But still she tried to shovel them deep inside until she was propelled against her will into a world of feelings that she couldn’t get a grip on. 

 HYPOGLYCEMIA – LOW BLOOD SUGAR

 I shared the following quote in this article on my blog – DIABETES – AND THE IMBALANCE OF SWEETNESS IN YOUR LIFE.  Although Carol is not a diabetic, she showed all signs of being hypoglycemic.  I had suggested she get tested for this, which she did and her  tests all came back positive.   Hypoglycemia can cause severe metabolic changes in your brain and nervous system, creating mood swings, unstable emotions and changes in behavior. 

 The sugar level in our blood obviously relates to the amount of sweetness and love in our lives and to the opposite, anger and sourness. Diabetes can indicate that the love we are receiving is uncontrollable and excessive, to the point where it is smothering or overwhelming. It is also unusable as it is constantly being eliminated in the urine, thus responding to a sense of loss and inner sadness. In this state there is a great desire for affection and love, yet an inability to know how to act if it is received. This give rise to anger and resentment, a blaming of others for our own inner fear and confusion in dealing with love. The word spleen also means moroseness and irritability. Hypoglycemia indicates the same conflicts with expressing and receiving sweetness, but the conflict leaves an inner depletion and emptiness. DEB Shapiro

 Louise Hay says “Individuals dealing with hypoglycemia often feel overburdened by life; they see life as something that is too much to handle. There is usually self-pity involved, too, with the general sentiment expressed being:  “What’s the use?!”  She recommends people need to eat small meals at a regular basis to elevate their blood sugar and keep it at an even keel.  

 I asked Carol to watch herself for the next 10 days or so, and keep track of all the times she stopped to take any form of food or drink, whether it was a meal or snack.  What was most important was for her ‘to consciously try and remember for each time, how you were feeling, what you were thinking and doing before, during and after the meal, snack or drink. Notice particularly whether you were calm and relaxed, tense, tired, emotional, hungry, bored or whatever.  Keep a *journal and write down or draw each of those ‘food events’ as you recall them.  (e.g., 10:00 am ate a doughnut and drank coffee—needed a break from work.)’

 (*Keeping a journal will give you daily feedback when you experience hormone fluctuations, what makes you feel better or what makes you feel worse.   Your experience is the best and truest guide to have to respond to the messages of your body.)

 I also suggested to Carol to keep an eye on the Moon and its different phases, since its cycle (29.5 days) has been connected to a woman’s menstrual period.  Sugar and starches are interestingly lunar in nature and one of the endocrine glands, the pancreas, is also moon related.  The pancreas is a vital part of our digestive system, it’s in charge of keeping watch of the amount of sugar in the body and blood…if stressed or not working quite as it should, our hypothalamus (also Moon related) and adrenal glands panic, calling out for a backup.  The hypothalamus and adrenals both know, low blood sugar is a ‘threat to your survival’ and together they send out hormones to find ways to boost it.  The problem is, these hormones create such a flux in the body, the thyroid has no choice but to slow down, losing its power.   

 “Low blood sugar and a poorly functioning thyroid gland reflect depression and depression affects the immune system, so we get a cold, which depresses us even more.  Sometimes we get up in the morning just feeling rotten, but how can we say that one causes the other?  Or might our bodies, being part of an interconnected world organism, simply move in harmony with climatic changes more than we realize.  What we eat has a profound effect on our moods, but our moods in turn affect what we eat.  If we are unhappy or stressed we grab for “comfort food” like chocolate, which in turn makes us feel unhappy and stressed because the blood sugar level crashes afterward, which makes us depressed…..it is the body, the domain of the Moon, which keeps us in touch with life in the moment, whether it is the dark or the life face of experience we are encountering.  Without sufficient expression of the Moon, it is not only the body which suffers.  It is our capacity to experience life in the present.”   (Liz Greene)

 

“For thousands of years—up to and including decades of the present century—very little, if anything was done to alleviate the unpleasant symptoms which the vast majority of women experience while they are menstruating, nor the whole complex (or syndrome) of problems, mental and physical, which affect far more women than is generally realized during the premenstrual phase of their cycle.  This is partly accounted for by the fact that sex and the reproductive system were taboo conversational topics.  Certainly the advent of sex education in schools and movements o establish equal rights for women, as well as a more liberal attitude towards sexual activity, have contributed to alerting the scientific and medical world to the subject of ‘women’s complaints’. To a certain extent, the earlier ignorance has been, or is being, rectified.  As women become more aware of their own identities, so they develop body-consciousness and thereby an awareness of how their bodies work, and what these feel life when they are not working properly.  Because women now talk openly to one another and to their doctors, the full range of menstrual problems has come to light.” Dr. Caroline Shreeve

We are helping each other out in regard to our monthly periods and our struggles with PMS.  There are lots of forums out there now that focus on this subject and groups are available too, right in your own community.  There’s so much more we can learn by listening to each other.  I’ve tried to put as much information as I can on problems and solutions with PMS.  At the end of this blog, there are links to some incredible sites that could offer you more.  The information gathered here isn’t just from Carol’s reading; it is a gathering of information that has grown over the years.  From the many women I’ve met with PMS, the one things we’ve all seemed to have in common, as discussed earlier, is symptoms of low blood sugar also known as hypoglycemic. 

 THE BRAIN NEEDS GLUCOSE

 Artificial sweeteners are on the rise but they play havoc with the body’s metabolism and frustrate it to no end.  When the body tastes something sweet, it begins the natural preparation of digesting carbohydrates, but with artificial sweeteners it can’t find them!  When this happens, the body has to compensate somehow and look for carbs elsewhere….it may excessively absorb carbohydrates found in the intestines which forces the body to produce extra insulin which then causes our blood sugar to go too low, resulting in hypoglycemia.  This insulin and blood sugar roller coaster causes the hypothalamus to panic which leads to more carb cravings and more sweets.  It’s an endless cycle that if not managed, can lead to weight gain and progressive obesity. 

 The brain needs a maximum of 1 tsp or 5 grams of glucose every 3 to 4 hours to give our bodies and brains constant little spurts of sugar as fuel in our bloodstreams.  We can get this from eating fruits in moderation, vegetables, salads, herbs, sea vegetables and ‘green drinks.’  But if you eat that tasty honey or cinnamon bun for breakfast your body becomes overloaded with at least 12 teaspoons of sugar, guaranteeing to cause hormonal havoc by flooding and hamming your little energy engines into ‘off’.  Within an hour of eating that tasty treat, surging blood glucose signals insulin levels to spike, causing your physical, emotional and mental performance to decline in an ever-increasing downard spiral.  Elevated insulin levels also cause further cravings. 

 “Cortisol robs your brain of its only source of fuel: glucose.  It also wreaks havoc on your brain’s chemical messengers—your neurotransmitters—which carry your thoughts from one brain cell to the next.  When your neurotransmitter function is disrupted, and when your brain’s fuel supply plummets, it’s difficult for you to concentrate and to remember.” Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. BRAIN LONGEVITY

 

“Sugar [not glucose] depletes the body of specific nutrients including B complex vitamins, magnesium, chromium and other minerals.  Ingested sugar destroys the germ killing capacities of the white blood cells for approximately four hours” Dr. Jacqueline Krohn

 Glucose which only comes from plant food, is the most essential fuel in the human body.  The brain, lens of the eye, lungs and kidneys must have glucose to operate properly.  The brain is so dependent on glucose that it does not even need insulin to get glucose into the cells, which is unusual, since nearly all other body cells require insulin which allow glucose to slip in through the cell membrane. 

 Glucose is a necessity for your body cells.  If just the right amount of glucose goes straight from the intestinal absorption to the body cells and is burned for fuel, then the person feels great, look great and energetic.  If not enough glucose is available, then the person feels cranky, depressed, forgetful and listless in a condition call hypoglycemia (low sugar levels in the blood). If an excess of glucose starts accumulating outside of the cell, then “glucotoxicity” begins.  Glucotoxicity is slow but lethal where too much glucose outside of the cells triggers a host of destructive pathways throughout the body.

 “During the low blood sugar period, you can feel mood swings, irritability, and lack of attention and even undergo a weight shift.  This roller-coaster ride of high and low blood sugar is caused by hormones reacting to the food you have eaten—primarily reactions between carbohydrates and the pancreatic hormone insulin, between proteins and the pancreatic hormone glucagons, and between fats and the hormones call eicosanoid….A fundamental solution to your symptoms, whether related to blood sugar or perimenopause, is an eating plan that consists of slow-acting or low glycemic carbohydrates, along with high-quality fats and proteins that keep insulin levels low and that help to stabilize blood sugar levels.” Anne Louise Gittleman

 SEROTONIN

 During the day, the pineal gland releases the hormone serotonin and at night the hormone melatonin. Serotonin keeps us awake during the day, it influences our appetite, boosts our energy levels and makes us feel relaxed and good about ourselves. If serotonin levels are low, you’ll find yourself craving for sweets or constantly wanting to binge on foods. We tend to eat to make ourselves feel better…and it works because the more carbohydrates we eat, our serotonin levels go up! The problem is, the more weight we put on, the more serotonin it takes to elevate our mood.

 Low levels of serotonin have been linked to such conditions as depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel, overeating, bulimia, obsessive-compulsive behavior, autism, PMS, migraine headaches, schizophrenia and even erratic behavior” ravenstar. (From my post Healing by way of the Endocrine Glands Part II)

 Serotonin also helps to control our sensitivity to pain, it is manufactured by an amino acid called tryptophan. 

 “Serotonin, the brain’s mood rejuvenator, influences appetite, cravings and obsessive behaviors.  Low serotonin levels cause us to be impulsive, aggressive, anxious, restless and depressed and to exhibit compulsive habits including overeating and drug and alcohol abuse.  Serotonin promotes equanimity, alert tranquility, confidence and a postive enthusiasm.  Low serotonin levels create depression, which is often treated with popular medications Prozac, Paxil, Aoloft and others known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).  These drugs inhibit the nerve cellls from reabsorbing serotonin once it is released, thus prolonging the action of serotonin and giving short-term biochemical assistance.  Low serotonin levels also cause PMS cravings and sleep disorders.” THE PATH TO PHENOMENAL HEALTH – Sam Graci

 When we become emotional we often turn to food for solace.  Food has a powerful effect on serotonin, a hormone in the brain that controls both emotion and eating.  Stress has been known to create a powerful psychological hunger that never finds satisfaction, no matter how full our stomachs feel.  Stress is the culprit that makes us ignore food that is good for us and turn to cookies and ice-cream instead.   

 “Eating sweet food is a way of feeding ourselves the sweetness we crave, of temporarily giving to ourselves the sweetness or reward that we may feel nobody else is giving us.  Conversely, in expressing our need for nourishment we may also stop eating thereby reducing or shrinking our need for affection to a level that makes no demands at all.  In this way obesity and anorexia are actually expressing a similar state; that of not loving self and therefore needing outside reinforcement and affirmation, but not receiving that affirmation enough to satisfy the demand.  The reaction that state is simply expressing in opposing ways:  obesity indicates a loss of personal control, while anorexia implies a highly exaggerated attempt at control.” Deb Shapiro BODY/MIND Workbook

 

High levels of Dopamine (another chemical in the brain) can  produce anxiety, stress, nervousness and aggression.  When the level of dopamine is elevated, a person may develop feelings of insecurity, paranoia and fear.  

Serotonin is another important chemical in the brain that can affect a person’s mental well-being.  Individuals with low serotonin levels are usually controlled personalities who display mood swings and some sort of compulsion, such as alcoholism, overating or being a workaholic, perfectionist, or procrastinator.  A serotonin imbalance can produce not only depression but internal anger. 

Depression can also be linked to other physical factors, such as hypothyroidism and food or environmental allergies. 

MINERALS AND ENZYMES 

We know that our diets can affect our energy, our ability to think, concentrate and also feelings of self-worth.   Hormones, like the rest of our bodies, are created from the food we eat.  In order to create all the hormones we need in just the right quantities, we have to take in enough of the nutrients they’re composed of to make enzymes, the catalysts that stimulate all your cells into action.  If the enzymes are not functioning, as they should then most of those vitamins and minerals you’re taking won’t be able to do their job.  Vitamins A, D, E and K need the enzyme lipase to break them down.  If this enzyme isn’t present, then most of the vitamins you took this morning have already been flushed out of the body.   

Enzymes are found in raw fruits and vegetables, especially juices.  But for enzymes to work at their optimal level, they need minerals, which are found in our tissues, blood and bones. Minerals transmit vital electric and magnetic impulses to the nerves and heart as well as helping in hormone production and balancing the body’s energy.  When just one mineral is lacking form you diet, it will be felt by the entire body which will do its utmost to convey this to you by either a lack of energy, feelings of irritability, nervousness, muscle soreness and even loss of focus or confusion.      

When the body is lacking in minerals, it searches for alternatives and has a tendency to pickup harmful minerals such as lead, aluminum and mercury in an attempt to maintain its balance.  The liver, one of the largest major organs in the human system has to work harder to filter out toxins the body has absorbed from polluted air, food and water.  When we are constantly exposed to industrial chemicals and pesticides the liver becomes overloaded and can’t do its job. 

THE LIVER 

“In Chinese medicine the liver is known as a storehouse of anger, particularly repressed anger, which gathers here and may eventually explode outward.  Too much anger, especially if it is repressed, is like a toxin in the body, and is often the background to addiction.  Unacknowledged or unexpressed anger leads to depression (anger turned inward) shame, jealousy, or irritability, all of which further deplete your energy levels and can damage the immune system.  Connected to anger are bitterness and resentment, which are seen in the production of bile, or guilt, hopelessness, frustration and hatred.” Deb Shapiro YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND 

The liver is the largest gland/organ in the body with over 500 different functions and the only organ with a dual blood supply.  This allows it to have access to blood rich nutrients as well as being able to rapidly discharge bile and other toxic substances.   One of its many functions is to secrete bile, an alkaline liquid which passes via the gallbladder into the duodenum, where it acts on the fats in foods and prepares them for digestion.  The liver is also a store for glycogen, a starchy substance which can be converted into sugars when the body needs extra energy.  When the liver has a hard time converting glycogen to glucose, the brain is deprived of its main fuel, sugar.  And when the brain doesn’t get enough sugar we can develop hypoglycemic symptoms.   

A congested liver tires the body because it has a hard time converting glycogen to glucose. I aked Carol if she suffered from night or day sweats which she replied yes.  I told her these sweats could be caused from energy stagnating in the kidney area as well as the liver and the spleen.   The liver is one of the main factors in the formation of sexual hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone).  One of its tasks is to eliminate excess hormones, especially estrogens, which have a tendency to irritate the liver and make it overly sensitive.  

ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS And XENOESTROGENS 

Daily we are exposed to thousands of toxins—photocopy machines, dust, mold, pollens, plastics, chemicals, fuel, and pesticides on foods.  Our body’s are very susceptible to chemical hazards as there are some that can interfere with the absorption of nutrients in the digestive system.  When the body is unable to excrete poisonous chemicals from food or in the air, they start accumulating in our bodies, disrupting enzyme function and throwing the body’s hormonal system out of balance.   

 “If you live or work in an urban or suburban environment, as most of us do, your body is subject to a constant bombardment from petrol-chemical molecules.  These molecules are in the air you breathe, the food you eat, the liquids you drink.  They come from automobile exhaust, detergents, pesticides, herbicides, PCBs, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.  These molecular structures are somewhat similar to those of estrogen, and they have the potential to occupy oxygen receptors in your cells.  Breast cancer, enlarged ovaries and premature cessation of ovulation are possible consequences. 

…..the ones that women are most likely to come in contact with are PCBs and related compounds in household cleaners, detergents and personal care products, small appliances, plastics, canned food and contraceptive creams……..The xenoestrogens interfere with the body’s natural estrogen in various ways.  They may occupy or alter estrogen receptors sites in tissue cells.  They may interfere with the actual manufacture of estrogen by the ovaries or adrenal glands or decrease the rate of estrogen excretion from the body and cause a build up of the hormone with consequent symptoms…..Some xenoestrogens have widespread effects….inhibiting the production of all sex hormones, not just estrogen.” Anne Louise Gittleman 

 Xenoestrogens (xeno means foreign) can cause a variety of symptoms when they’ve accumulated in the body.  The liver is constantly working to eliminate toxic substances from the body but can easily become overwhelmed when there’s just too much to handle.  Toxic substances can cause an extreme outpouring of adrenaline raising high levels of sugar in the blood.  This outpouring of adrenaline, especially when the brain has no glucose for fuel can often trigger aggressive behavior.     

Lima beans, soy beans and other soy produces contain isoflavones, phytoestrogens or plant estrogens.  These substances actually curb the activity of the excess estrogen in the body’s tissues.  Psytoestrogens can also be found in other vegetables and in fruits along with nonsoluble fibers, beta-carotene and selenium.  Flaxseed and certain types of fish contain omega-3 fatty acids.

 This is a tremendous site and incredibly informative…

http://www.energeticnutrition.com/vitalzym/xeno_phyto_estrogens.html

 How to avoid xenoestrogens  

http://kerryg.hubpages.com/hub/Reducing-Exposure-to-Xenoestrogens

 HORMONAL BALANCING 

When we are treating our hormones with supplements that involve only one or two hormones, this could eventually lead to an imbalance to your whole endocrine system.  You can’t just increase one hormone artificially; if you do your body will start decreasing the natural production of other hormones your body needs to return to balance.  There is no quick fix for your PMS.  You need to learn about all the forces that can interfere with your hormone health and focus on the substances that your body needs to produce hormones in just the right quantities.  This means you must become in charge of your own life, not a victim to it.  It means learning about taking charge of your own hormone health. It means learning about yourself, your deep-seated needs and your individuality.  

Everything that affects the body also affects the mind; hormone changes are no exception to this rule.  Our thoughts and emotions have a profound influence on our hormone balance and their effects on our bodies.  We cannot separate mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and social aspects of ourselves; this is the central idea of the holistic approach to health. 

“The ovaries produce both testosterone and estrogen. Relatively small quantities of testosterone are released into your bloodstream by the ovaries and adrenal glands. In addition to being produced by the ovaries, estrogen is also produced by fat tissue in the body. These sex hormones are involved in the growth, maintenance, and repair of reproductive tissues. But that’s not all. They influence other body tissues and bone mass as well.” http://women.webmd.com/normal-testosterone-and-estrogen-levels-in-women

 (Your endocrine glands are also spiritual centers, each having a consciousness of its own, each with its own history and experience as well as emotions, ideas, attitudes and experiences.  Each one of the 7 glands are related to the other six through the nervous system and the hormones in the blood; to function properly they all have to work together and get along.  But if they disagree among themselves, this leads to a clash of ‘wills’ with one or more gland seeking to control or manipulate the others.  When this happens it can cause a person to feel emotionally explosive, manipulative or so totally lacking in energy they withdraw from the interaction of others. It is these seven areas of consciousness that make each of us unique, they are the product of how we have utilized and used our power.)  

 “When you get your hormone balance right, you will be protecting yourself not just from the regular aggravation of PMS or period pains, and the long haul of menopausal symptoms but also from the overspill problems of hormone imbalance such as depression, tiredness and weight gain.  You will be reducing your risk of cancer and heart disease; you will be strengthening your bones and your whole body.  And if you plan to have a baby, you will be enhancing the chances of producing a happy, healthy child who will be a delight to you and everyone else.” Arabella Melville 

Our sexual hormones are coordinated and orchestrated by the pituitary gland in the brain.  If there aren’t enough enzymes and minerals to help transport them through the blood then this will affect your hormones.  For the body to stay balanced we need to be sure that our needs are met ‘at all times’.  If they don’t our endocrine glands won’t be able to function as they should.  Understanding your needs comes from learning what different factors affect you as an individual.  Keeping a journal, as mentioned earlier will help give you feedback on the way your hormones are fluctuating and how they’re affecting you.  You might find you need plenty of rest before your period or maybe physical exercise.  You might need more food to fuel the body or ignore wheats or stay away from sugary or salty food.   

Your sexual tastes may change too….you may not like to have your breasts touched when their swollen or feeling sensitive.  You may like intense sex and then again something more gentler.  Whatever you’re feeling, communicating this to your partner is the key.   

PMS can be due to excessively high levels of estrogen in the blood which is capable of causing depressive and mental problems.  When estrogen is too high it interferes with the body’s ability to absorb B6 (pyridoxine), which is known as the anti-depression vitamin, because it controls the production of serotonin.

 Many of the remedies that are advertised did not work for me.  Energy testing, however, let me to progesterone, which is the best natural substance I have ever taken.  For many women who have sever PMS, progesterone (not the synthetic progestin works like magic because it potently strengthens the spleen and sedates the triple warmer.”  Donna Eden, ENERGY MEDICINE

 Energy testing can be done by everyone.   http://www.feelingfree.net/awareness/selftest.htm

 Energy testing with Donna Eden on youtube  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HErzYIN1Me8

 Most women can take progesterone but there are a select few that can’t.  Side affects to progesterone can include feeling depressed, listless, no emotional drive and very tired.   

Progesterone is one hormone that tends to go up rather than down with exercise:  half an hour of ‘good’ exercise can raise the level of progesterone in the circulation by 40%.  That means progesterone deficiencies can be improved within minutes of doing a physical workout.

 The glands of the endocrine system and their hormonal output is better when we are physically active.  The adrenal glands for example, are stimulated into higher levels of hormone production by exercise.  In addition physical activity changes the sensitivity of cells to the effects of hormones so that our hormone systems work more efficiently.

 Too much regular strenuous exercise can reduce estrogen levels drastically.  If stores of your body fat are diminished too much it can cause such a distortion in your hormonal ouput causing loss of periods and loss of bone leading to osteoporosis. 

 Great site describing too much and too little estrogen, progesterone and testosterone produced in the ovaries https://eaware.org/ovaries/

 http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-estrogen.htm

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-progesterone.htm

http://women.webmd.com/normal-testosterone-and-estrogen-levels-in-women

 SUPPLEMENTS AND HERBS

 *additions to be added….as well as any comments….

 Natural supplements are great and they can be very helpful but they are just as the word states “SUPPLEMENTS” they are not a “cure”.  Just like medications we get from the doctor, if we take the wrong dose or mix it with something else, they can do more harm than good.  I have seen people who have crossed the boundaries with supplements, taking more than they should because they believe more is better but in truth they can do great harm to their bodies. I’d also like to point out that just because the label says ‘all natural products’ doesn’t mean they are safe for everyone or that you can safely take them with other medications.  It’s very important that you read the label, take the suggested amount and make sure it won’t interfere with the meds you are already taking.  

AGNUS CASTUS is an amazing herb….I’ve heard this over and over by many women who wouldn’t even think of giving it up.  It works by regulating the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-access, the region of the brain and endocrine system that regulates and orchestrates hormonal release and their functions.  It allows the body to get itself back to where it needs to be, and doesn’t cause any other hormonal imbalances.

 VITAMINE B6 (Pyridoxine)

“B6 (pyridoxine) has often been called a “woman’s guardian angel” because of its power to relieve perimenopausal symptoms, particularly water retention and bloating, skin eruptions, mood swings, and even depression and anxiety. High concentrations of B6 increase the synthesis of neurotransmitter dopamine and inhibit secretion of the milk-stimulating hormone prolactin.  This alleviates anxiety, irritability, mood swings, and nervous tension.  Vitamin B6 reduces levels of estrogen and elevates progesterone levels.  Additionally B6 helps balance tissue levels of magnesium, a mineral noted for its ability to alleviate peri-menopause symptoms.

 Vitamin B6 is needed for normal secretion of serotonin, the brain neurotransmitter that regulates mood, pain, sleep and appetite.  This vitamin has been shown to improve memory, particularly long-term memory and increases the brain’s capacity to store information.” Anne Louise Gittleman

 B6 has also been beneficial in helping depression, fluid retention and swelling, especially the fingers, feet and ankles.

 A few years back, a client of mine mentioned brewers’ yeast, magnesium and vitamin B6 all seemed to really help with her PMS symptoms.  I tried it and loved it and mentioned it to others too….they really seems to relax, balance and revitalize the body, all at the same time. 

 For proper absorption vitamin B6 should be taken with B-complex vitamins and with Omega 3-6-9.   

 Foods high in B6 – brewer’s yeast, soybeans, kale, spinach, bananas, liver, nuts, whole grains, meat, fish, poultry, legumes, sunflower seeds, avocados and green peppers, peas, eggs, carrots,

http://www.livestrong.com/article/40744-foods-high-vitamin-b6/

 CHROMIUM helps in transporting and binding insulin into the cells, allowing them to take in glucose where it is consumed and converted into energy. It also helps to balance your sugars.

 HERBS that also help to balance blood sugars include black cohosh, panax and Siberian ginseng, dandelion, gentian, ginger, cinnamon, uva ursi, licorice root and astragalus. Astragalus helps to boost energy by supporting the adrenals and the immune system.

 

 MAGNESIUM is required for regulating normal body temperature and for the conversion of glucose into an energy source.  The adrenal glands regulate the amount of magnesium, with a hormone known as aldosterone.

 Magnesium deficiencies can create nervousness, anxiety, irritability muscle tremors, muscle cramps, memory loss, concentration problems, apathy, depression, perspiration increase, body odor increase, urination increase, constipation and more. 

 There are magnesium supplements of 100 mg or more.  Slowly increase in your diet because Magnesium can not be stored in the body and too much will cause diarrhea.  

 Almonds have a very high magnesium content and help to lay down calcium as bone.  Chinese and oriental foods are high in magnesium as well as kelp, wheat bran, cashews, pistachios, parsley, dandelion greens, garlic, raisins, bananas, carrots, blackberries and much more. 

 http://www.livestrong.com/article/40777-foods-high-magnesium-zinc/

 OMEGA-3-Fatty Oils

As you may know, fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, helps to develop healthy cells/skin/hair and makes it easier for your body to use stored fat and sugar for energy.  When we don’t have enough of this oils in our system we can get depressed, inattentive, irritable, confused and lack focus.  If you’re going to take omega-3’s as a supplement, I highly recommend a supplement with omega-3, 6, 9, all these together help to relieve physical and mental symptoms of PMS and balance your hormones.  Too much omega-3 by itself can cause inflammation.  1000mg to 3000 mg is recommended daily. 

NERVE SUPPLEMENTS

Supplements for the nerves, skullcap, valerian root, lavender, passion flower and chamomile.  Don’t take any one of these if you’re working with machinery or planning to drive.  Personally, skullcap is one of my favorite and lavender too—their very enjoyable as a tea.   

SAW PALMETTO acts as a anti-androgen, meaning it can lower the levels of testosterone in the body.   

SEROTONIN

The only substance to ‘manufacture serotonin is the essential amino acid tryptophan.  As we know serotonin helps to control our mood, sleep, appetite and pain threshold.  Eating Disorders and violent behavior has been traced to serotonin.  Tryptophan converts to niacin before becoming serotonin.  And it needs a little help with this from B6 and Vitamin C. 

5HTP http://www.livestrong.com/article/488320-the-5-htp-dosage-for-pms/

 ZINC

A zinc deficiency has also been known to cause anxiety and depression as well as depression and poor sexual development.  It plays a starring role in the function of the immune system and brain development and performance.  Zinc helps to remove toxic metals from the brain, particularly copper, lead, mercury and cadmium.  High copper levels can cause paranoia, violent behavior, mood swings and schizoid behavior.  High lead can cause learning disabilities and behavioral disorders.   

Foods high in zinc, wheat, olives, brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, garlic, onions, oats, lettuce, soya beans, asparagus, lettuce, rice, barley, sunflower seeds 

“Organic chocolate – 70% cocoa considered an energizing food if eaten in moderation about 3:00 pm.  By mid-afternoon you’re mood-balanced hormone serotonin ‘good mood’ hormone DHEA and neuropeptide beta endorphin levels take a natural dip.  If you consume up to to one and a half ounces or forty two grams of dark semi sweet cholcolate which contains only ninety calories, you quickly boost the serotonin, DHEA and neuropeptide beta endorphin levels so you feel happy, satisfied and content.  The cacao plant (which is a source of choclate) contains a potent antioxidant called pentamer that increases the activity of cancer suppressing genes.” THE PATH TO PHENOMENAL HEALTH Sam Graci

 http://www.livestrong.com/pms-supplements/

http://www.nowloss.com/Foods-high-in-zinc.htm

 Other sites to consider…..

 PMDD Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

http://www.healthyplace.com/depression/pmdd/pmdd-premenstrual-dysphoric-disorder-symptoms-treatment/

 There is no laboratory test that identifies PMS symptoms or PMDD. The diagnosis is made from the patient’s reporting of their symptoms on a daily basis for 2 or more menstrual cycles. These daily symptom records must demonstrate a cyclic symptom pattern, with the greatest severity in the week preceding menses and major reduction or elimination of the symptoms after the menstrual period.”

http://depression.about.com/cs/hormones/a/pmddsymptoms.htm 

Forums on PMS

http://www.steadyhealth.com/

http://www.healthypages.co.uk/forum/

Signs of PMS http://ezinearticles.com/?PMS—Signs,-Symptoms,-Causes&id=6855353

Great site on helping to reduce PMS symptoms http://www.marilynglenville.com/womens-health-issues/pre-menstrual-syndrome/

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