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Posts Tagged ‘hypothalamus’

“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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“We must recognize manic depression is a medical illness, not a character weakness. …  Also, we need to make people realize it is a potentially fatal illness. In fact, if left untreated or mistreated, more than 15 percent of those afflicted will take their lives.” Lydia Lewis, Executive Director at National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association

WHAT IS BIPOLAR DISORDER/MANIC DEPRESSIVE

Research studies have indicated that there is a predisposition to bipolar disorder, especially, genetically, when it recurs in families over many years.  Manic Depressive has been linked to the improper functioning of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.  Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transmit electrical signals from one nerve cell to another and ultimately controls behaviors, thoughts and feelings.  Three neurotransmitters, serotonin and norepineprhine and dopamine have been associated with bipolar and depression.

Bipolar may also manifest following pregnancy/birth, acute stress – sustaining states of hyper-vigilance leading to exhaustion, injury (eg. neck, spinal cord) and/or illness… essentially major life events or internal developments that cause stress for an long periods of time, throwing the hormones into disarray.

“Statistics show that up to 3.2 percent of the population has bipolar disorder. In reality, there are more than 3.2 percent, because 20 to 40 percent of people who have the genetics to develop bipolar disorder never have it exacerbated and so never show symptoms. In twin studies, an identical twin has a 60 to 80 percent chance of having symptoms of bipolar disorder if the twin sibling has developed bipolar symptoms. To extrapolate from this, that must mean that 20 to 40 percent of people with bipolar genetics never have symptoms.

 The latest finding in bipolar genetics is that a single gene accounts for 10 percent of people with bipolar disorder (GRK-3) Three other chromosomal regions are suspected. This means that there may be four different genes for bipolar disorder. We don’t yet know for sure exactly which genes contribute to bipolar disorder, but we know other genes are involved. If there are four genes, then there are at least 16 different possible combinations of bipolar disorder. Some of these genes may be more dominant than others. In the United States, a child only has an 8 percent chance of having bipolar disorder if one parent has it. However, this author has seen families with five children where four have bipolar disorder, and seen families of five kids where none of them do.

 GRK-3 has been found to cause hypersensitivity to dopamine, the major brain chemical involved in bipolar disorder. This affects the dopamine centers in the brain. The use of certain drugs, such as amphetamines, seems to affect the same dopamine centers that are affected by mania, so it’s not surprising that manic behavior is often similar to the behavior of someone who has taken amphetamines. Psychostimulants like amphetamines, meth, and cocaine are thought to increase dopamine release, which can cause mania as well as mimic mania. .” The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder ~ Jay Carter, Bobbi Dempsey

BIPOLAR TYPE I

Bipolar Type 1 is what most people think of when they hear the terms “bipolar” or “manic depressive.” Moods alternate between normal, depressed, and manic. The key word here is mania, which can simplistically be thought of as the opposite of depression. According to the DSM-IV, mania is “a distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting at least 1 week,” during which time at least three of the following symptoms have persisted: inflated self-esteem or grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, more talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking, flight of ideas or racing thoughts, distractibility, increase in goal-directed activity (but usually without complete follow-through), unrestrained spending sprees, sexual promiscuity.

Frequently, untreated mania segues into psychosis marked by paranoia or extreme grandiosity (e.g. the person may believe that s/he is Jesus Christ) and results in hospitalization. If left untreated, depressive and manic episodes will come closer and closer together over time, and there will be fewer periods of normal functioning.

BIPOLAR II

Bipolar Type II is characterized by severe depressions alternating with hypomanic episodes. Hypomania is not as severe as mania, and the mood must be irritable or elevated for at least 4 days to qualify for a diagnosis of hypomania. During this time, the person sleeps less, eats less, and feels very creative (though, as with mania, there is usually not much follow-through). The person experiences a lot of chaos in his personal and professional relationships. People often see him as being very unpredictable, though very intelligent. A hypomanic episode is usually followed by a severe depression, and this is usually when the person needs or seeks help.

THE HYPOMANIC SIDE OF BIPOLAR DISORDER

“For 15 years I have suffered from treatment-resistant rapid-cycling Bipolar I Disorder (two weeks normal/hypomanic, two weeks depressed, with manic episodes every few years). I have through my life experiences discovered I am most prolific and intensely creative when I’m in the hypomanic phase of this disorder. I cannot tell how much I absolutely LOVE and live for this part of my mood cycle. But when it comes, I cannot rest, eat or sleep and must be extremely focused/viligant to its powers as it can quickly spiral downward from hypomania to mania then depression. When I hit the mania side of this illness, my creativity becomes incredibly disorganized and what’s created disgusts my intelligence and I fall into a depressive slump. (Michael)

CYCLOTHYMES

“Actor, comedian and writer Stephen Fry was diagnosed with cyclothymia, a form of bipolar disorder, at the age of 37. In a two part documentary for the BBC – The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, first broadcast in 2006 – he talks of the downside of the condition: “I may have looked happy. Inside I was hopelessly depressed. I’m actually kind of sobbing and kind of tear at the walls inside my own brain while my mouth is, you know, wittering away in some amusing fashion’, as well as the upside: ‘I love my condition too. It’s infuriating, I know, but I do get a huge buzz out of the manic side. I rely on it to give my life a sense of adventure, and I think most of the good about me has developed as a result of my mood swings. It’s tormented me all my life with the deepest of depressions while giving me the energy and creativity that perhaps has made my career.’  “Bipolar Disorder: The Ultimate Guide ~ by Sarah Owen, Amanda Saunders

Stephen Fry The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive Part 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGDl6-lyfMY

“The most extreme cyclothymes are called “rapid cyclers,” with mood changes colliding with each other, from month to month, from day to day, or sometimes even within the same day.  These men and women zigzag between highs and lows so rapidly they often feel as though they are about to die.  They might bounce from euphoria to despair and back again within hours. They are in exquisite pain, out of control, like a race car gone berserk, and sometimes they say that they are afraid of being alone with their episodes because they don’t know what they will be doing next. … Rapid cyclers don’t make plans because they can’t predict their mood even a day head. They are like yo-yos and feel as though they are being helplessly manipulated by some force outside themselves.  Most rapid cyclers have manias or depressions that last about two weeks, they have them from twelve to twenty-four times a year (sometimes with mini-cycles in between) in contrast to other manic-depressives who cycle perhaps four times in twelve months.  Approximately 10 to 15 percent of manic-depressives are rapid cyclers.  And 85 percent of them are women. In fact, the more rapidly the cycle come, the more likely it is that the sufferer will be female.” A Brilliant Madness – Living with Manic Depressive Illness ~ Patty Duke and Gloria Hochman

THE METAPHYSICAL CAUSE OF BIPOLAR

What we know so far is that bipolar disorder or manic-depressive, is a complicated and multifaceted illness that plays heavily on the extreme poles of euphoria and depression.  On the manic side, these individuals are bizarre, eccentric, shocking to others and very entertaining.  They’re wild, outgoing, outspoken and very creative, though they have no idea where these spontaneous inspirations come from. At this level, they embrace life profoundly and really give ‘the rest of us’ the sense they are truly connected with their authentic selves and the world.  They love attention and most definitely love amusing people.

“What’s it like to have bipolar? In the manic phase, you’re supercharged! You get enthused about an idea and you want to do it – now!  Then what do you know another idea jumps into the works before you’ve finished the first one and so you fly to that one, but of course another idea intercepts the second and you just have to follow that one and pretty soon you’re in the grips of a full-blown psychotic mania! At times it does seem as if I’m losing touch with reality. Wild and outspoken I talk too fast for others to understand; I run around in a frenzy, hardly sleep and spend money lavishly; drive recklessly and in my younger days sexually promiscuous.  I also get irritable during these episodes and quickly intolerant of slow-moving people.  Criticized and put down for this blast of manic madness, alarms sound and suddenly brakes slam on my mind; filled with a mixture of negative emotions and attitudes I plummet the depths of a dark void where, even though a man, have been known to cry for hours on end.  (My name is Richard and I have bipolar).

Most manic depressives admit they’ve exhibited some of these exaggerated behaviors..

A grandiose sense of self-importance

Preoccupations with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love

Beliefs that they are special
An insatiable need to be admired.
Have been interpersonally exploitative
Been envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
An arrogant, haughty behavior or attitude

Their artistic form is unique and outlandish. Because of this grandiose and outrageous behavior, bipolar people have the preference of living in large cities where they don’t stand out and aren’t pressured to conform.  They love change—to go beyond the traditional and the familiar. They love to shock people, to shake them from their ordinary, humdrum existence. Laughter and the absurd appeal to them…their strange sense of humor can be interpreted by others as being twisted and eccentric.  When they are in a manic episode they are very outspoken and love being the center of attention.  They love entertaining people, acting, performing and creating outrageous trends.

In the manic phase of bipolar disorder, a woman described the manic phase as a lightning bolt exploding all around her.  “My head seemed to open up, my eyes filled with a golden light, brilliant and dazzling.  I was transfixed, rooted in one spot then suddenly vaulted into an empty space of incredible imaginative powers”.

As an observer, a manic person may appear cheerful or infectious, however it’s important to realize that manic can be dangerous. When people are manic they don’t see the painful or harmful ways of their behavior.  They can run up huge credit card bills, empty savings accounts, make poor decisions and as Richard stated sexually promiscuous. Some people in a manic state become psychotic, delusional, and hear voices they were specially born with special powers to change the world. Wanting to do the right thing and hating to disappoint others (since they are often disappointed themselves) they may turn to self-medication—all types of addiction, whether it be alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and medicines.  The spiritual basis for addiction is said to be the loss of one’s inner center and of conscious relationship to the power of the soul.

“Addiction is a behavior you participate in either consciously or unconsciously that controls the flow of creative life force through your system. And addiction allows you to be irresponsible for a percentage of the energy that runs through you and therefore you are not responsible for its consequences….

 Many addicts come from dysfunctional homes, abusive situations, etc. Self esteem is an issue, but the underlying root issue is usually deeper than that. The addict is attempting to numb themselves against some sort of pain in their psyche that they believe is too much for them to bear. Addiction is a physical, spiritual, and emotional dis-ease….a learned coping mechanism which becomes compulsive over time, which may or may not be complicated by chemical imbalances in their systems.” Caroline Myss

The more the spiritual energies are neglected or denied, the more difficult it will be to find one’s way out again without suffering a major breakdown or fatal crisis.  For the effects of alcohol, tobacco, drugs and medicines can never be entirely removed, they’ve altered the finely tuned system of the pituitary (master gland) and the endocrine glands.

The Pituitary known as the Master Gland of the body has also been called 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 monitors all  the other glands in our body and along with the hypothalamus helps to regulate our sexual development.

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 the 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 and creates an opening what mystics have called the third eye.

“When you feel bad and pretend to feel good, your are in denial. This is a form of resistance and it causes internal conflict. A person who is conflicted usually internalizes feelings which results in physical problems or addictions. Any time you are not true to your feelings, your energy level drops. Any time you deny a feeling, you give it more power. Unresolved feelings continue to recycle and resurface until they are resolved.” Joe Nunziata ~ Spiritual Selling

Addictions affect the levels of testosterone, produced in small amounts by the ovaries and adrenal glands.  A loss of testosterone in men can cause muscle atrophy, fatigue, prostate problems, sexual impotence, breast enlargement, and loss of body hair. Though men produce 50% more testosterone than women, women too need it to provide energy, build muscle, regulate sex drive, strengthen bones and maintain vaginal elasticity and lubrication.   Other hormone deficiencies from addiction can cause headaches, migraines, autoimmune disorders, weight-gain, gallstones, ulcers, heart arthymia, as well as thyroid problems.

Richard has bipolar disorder and suffers from the excruciating pain of kidney stones which are a buildup of negative or conflicting feelings that are too difficult to express.

“Harsh, bitter feelings toward oneself or others will create a hardening of saturated fat in the gallbladder, creating stones. Stones can lodge in a bile duct interacting with nerves, and can cause discomfort or pain in the right shoulder blade and neck area, specifically if the emotional feeling is about feeling burdened. Irritation from gallstones can also affect the pancreas, causing shingles, hypoglycemia, and insulin issues. A stone will interfere with the pituitary gland, thus creating pain in the base of the head, and neck.

 A weak gallbladder can also affect hearing. The kidneys play a role in hearing as well. What does one not want to hear? Sometimes this includes listening to one’s inner self. Shutting out the sounds of laughter, due to a misguided feeling of responsibility.” Symptoms: The Language of the Soul: A Gift of Transformation ~ By Susan Manion MacDonald

Deb Shapiro in her book Your Body Speaks Your Mind says “Issues here are especially connected with relationship, whether imbalances in your relationship with others—particularly with your primary partner—or imbalance of the masculine and feminine energies within yourself.”

THE MANIC LOWS OF BIPOLAR

“If you know someone who’s depressed please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation, depression just is, like the weather.

 Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one the kindest, noblest and best things you will ever do.” ~ Stephen Fry

On the depressive side, manic depressives feel a sudden emptiness and total withdrawal from life, draped from all they know into utter silence.  It’s as if they are imprisoned in a black pit that is too deep and unreachable to the outside. Life stops with a helpless feeling of no point, no purpose, no hope.

 “It feels as if I’m being sucked into a black hole, my lungs violently squeezed as I struggle to breathe”. (Ruth)

Most manic depressives are extremely emotionally sensitive to being hurt by cutting remarks and/or easily pick-up on the distress or hurt emotions felt by others.  This sensitivity borders on and is often accompanied by a psychic openness, the ability to see auras or visions or to know things that are beyond the ordinary—in other words they are incredibly empathic. Sometimes these energies overwhelm them, they become frightened, panicky and disoriented, causing them to sink even further into the confusion and despair.

An excellent, excellent site on empathy and bipolar http://mysilentecho.com/dreamtongue1.htm

“When I’m in the deep dark hole, I can’t see who I really am, I have a distorted image of myself physically and feel unworthy of being loved—even when love is right there, staring me in the face. I have suffered from eating disorders (anorexic) and addictive patterns.  I drink in order to feel powerful but in reality I struggle with inner feelings of shame.” (Bipolar teenager)

“Anorexia .. The cause is the sense of unfulfilled love and affection, the need for emotional nourishment and unconditional acceptance creating an emptiness inside that is demanding satisfaction .. anorexia is the result of starving the emptiness in the hope that it will shrink and therefore demand less, or even go away completely so there is no demand at all. THE BODYMIND Workbook ~ Debbie Shapiro

There are so many variants to this disorder, but a large percentage of manic depressives suffer from a deep and abiding sense of shame—perhaps their parents—poverty—or a series of circumstances beyond their control.  Their emotional wound is a deep sense of guilt and unworthiness which expressed their overgenerousity into adult and the belief nobody could love them.

” Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression – Extreme imbalance, stress, trauma. A possible shock that occurred in childhood, such as a death in the family, divorce, an accident, or seeing a close friend or member of the family endure an incurable illness. Feeling out of place. Wanting to be somewhere that you are not. Feeling controlled and dominated, and wanting to break free. Fear that something bad or dark is living inside you that you have no control over. A lot of internal aggression and frustration that you don’t know how to handle.” ~ The Secret Language of Your Body, The Essential Guide to Heal and Wellness ~ Inna Segal

To get through to someone with bipolar is almost impossible—it’s like trying to get through a double bolted door.  In the manic state they were open and receptive, but in a depressive state they’re like a huge fortress that is totally impenetrable. Manic depressives have to literally hit bottom before they’ll accept advice or help from others.  I think most bipolar people when in the flow of their energy, are free spirited and love to rescue others, but hitting bottom forces them to draw back, then inward, to take care of themselves.

“I have often asked myself whether, given the choice, I would choose to have manic depressive illness … Strangely enough I think I would choose to have it. It’s complicated. Depression is awful beyond words or sounds or images … So why would I want anything to do with this illness? Because I honestly believe that as a result of it I have felt more things, more deeply; had more experiences, more intensely; loved more, and been loved; laughed more often for having cried more often; appreciated more the springs, for all the winters; worn death ‘as close as dungarees’, appreciated it – and life – more; seen the finest and the most terrible in people, and slowly learned the values of caring, loyalty and seeing things through.”  Kay Redfield Jamison ~ An Unquiet Mind.

MELANCHOLY

“Melancholy” in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been called ‘black bile’, but could easily be translated as ‘bad liver’—so we know there is a toxic element to this—whether self-toxicity or environmental.  In TCM, liver imbalance is often indicated with depression.  The liver contains the ‘Ethereal Soul’ which is concerned with mental movement and gives the capacity for dreams, plans, ideas, projects and so forth.  So depression in one scenario is caused by the stagnation of the liver chi. Stagnation = lack of mental movement = stuck in a rut = lacking in vision.

The liver memorizes every element that goes into building our identity, emotions, pitfalls, death of a loved one, failures, illnesses and extremely happy events. When the liver lacks energy, our memories come back to haunt us, affecting our self-esteem and darkening the road we’re traveling on. So a liver imbalance could cause doubt and uncertainty about the future, causing us to lean more toward the past.  It can also cause us to feel tense and aggressive, reacting forcefully and intensely to have our way or get into power trips to compensate for our lack of self-esteem.

The liver and the brain like to exchange their energies. When one of them is lacking energy, it takes it from the other. A bad liver pretty much means feeling blue! Liver dysfunction gives a feeling of being drained, unhappy, unloved, inadequate and lacking drive.

“The stomach is located in close proximity to the spleen. Esoterically, the spleen is the organ connecting spiritual and etheric energy to the physical system. When emotional reactions are out of control, positive energetic links to spiritual vitality are broken. Depression, suicide, and emotionally compulsive behavior cannot exist in the serene and vibrant light of spiritual energy. Ideally, the emotional level must be as calm as a sparkling lake in order to reflect the beauty of life and nature. Anything that separates man from his fellow man is a true sin but it is the separation of man from his spiritual nature that causes the most pain. Compassion for ourselves ultimately leads to compassion for our fellow man. Once this is achieved we can operate on the higher level of soul consciousness. Astrology and Your Health ~ Jeanne Avery

We crave in our diets what we lack physiologically. Often people who crave high carbohydrate foods are seratonin-depleted.  Depression can often be diet related. A poor diet can upset the balance of neurotransmitters (dopamine, seratonin etc.) in the brain. So whatever therapy is used, the diet has to be considered too. There can be many dietary deficiencies, but the most common are selenium, (which can be rectified by Brazil nuts or eggs) and omega-3 essential fatty acids (cod-liver-oil). People, especially smokers or drinkers are often deficient in vitamin C and vitamin B complex, both of which are water soluble and need to be refreshed daily. B complex features in the synthesis of neurotransmitters. More whole foods and less junk foods helps a great deal.

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

SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

“The pain is too much

a thousand grim winters

grown in my head

in my ears

the sound of the

coming dead

All seasons, all same

all lliving

all pain

No opiate to lock still

my senses.

Only left, the body locked tenser”. Spike Milligan ~ Poet – St. Lukes Wing, Woodside Hospital (manic depressive)

“Manic Depressive illness, often seasonal, is recurrent by nature, left untreated, individuals with this disease can expect to experience many, and generally worsening episodes of depression and mania. It is important to note, however, that most individuals who have manic-depressive illness are normal most of the time; that is they maintain their reason and their ability to function personally and professionally. Prior to the availability and widespread use of lithium, at least one person in five with manic-depressive illness committed suicide. The overwhelming majority of all adolescents and adults who commit suicide have been determined through postmortem investigations, to have suffered from either bipolar manic-depressive or unipolar depressive illness.” Touched With Fire ~ by Kay Redfield Jamison

SAD is another name of seasonal affective disorder which is a form of mood disorder triggered by the change of seasons or shorter days of fall and winter. Beginning as early as September and lasting through all the winter till spring, SAD victims are unable to adjust their body rhythms to the decrease of daylight causing them to become physiologically and ultimately emotionally distressed and out of sync.

“When Seasonal Affective Disorder (often called S.A.D.) occurs, the Soul needs adjustment since the Body is not storing enough light (energy). Food represents trapped sunlight and nourishes the Body as oxygen is delivered. Removing both emotional and physical toxins, strengthening cells with Essential Fatty Acids as well as getting the proper nutrients can resolve this issue. Light supports vision, and without vision it supports old habits plus closed off beliefs. Positive affirmations are a great way to dispel habits and beliefs.”  Symptoms: the Language of the Soul: A Gift of Transformation ~ Susan Marion MacDonald

“When summer’s coming to an end, I hit an all time low because I know that autumn and winter are just around the corner. Why just thinking of those dark dreary days makes me gloomy and depressed. It was terribly dark the other day and I got so down and mournfully miserable I started crying, without realizing why. I truly fear the long dark days of winter, I don’t want to see anyone—just crawl under the covers and stay there.” (Angie)

Depressive symptoms associated with SAD could be due to a form of biological malfunctioning that occurs as the days get shorter and darker.  Tests have been ongoing with manic-depressives, concentrating on the critical interplay of light, melatonin and other fluctuating rhythms that regulate body chemicals.

“People who suffer from manic depression, or bipolar mood disorder, are troubled by mood swings that careen from euphoria to despondency. There is some evidence that their melatonin levels go along on the roller-coaster ride, peaking during periods of mania and plummeting during periods of depression. In 1979, for example, Alfred A. Lewy, a psychiatrist at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, and his colleagues observed that bipolar patients had elevated melatonin levels when they were manic and reduced levels when they were depressed. Canadian psychiatrists provided further insight by measuring the melatonin levels of one patient in all three phases of the illness. They drew blood samples from the twenty-nine-year-old woman at three separate occasions: when she was manic, when she was depressed and when she was feeling normal. They found she was producing more than twich as much melatonin when she was manic than when she was depressed. When she was symptom free, she had normal amounts of the hormone. In this instance, there was a clear correlation between melatonin levels and mood.” Melatonin ~ By Russel J. Reiter

We have within us a day/night cycle or circadian rhythm that regulates our most major life-sustaining activities, such as sleeping, waking and when we eat.  Imagine for a moment that your body is governed by dozens of ‘internal clocks’ (interrelated cycles), which work together to synchronize us to the world around us.  These Internal rhythms control and coordinate our production of enzymes and hormones, which in turn control hunger, mood, body temperature and energy levels.

The pineal gland is key to maintaining the normal functioning of our internal clocks. This gland actually contains a lens system and color sensing cells, like an eye that seems as if it is looking up toward Heaven with 20/20 vision! The Pineal produces the hormone melatonin, an anti-cancer agent which stimulates the thymus immune system.

“Our brain is designed to move information in space and time—from as far out in the starlit sky as our eyes can see to as far away on earth as our legs can walk, from as far back in real time as our memory can recall to as far forward in psychic time as our plans can project.” Robert Sylwester

In small children there is an extremely sensitive area above the crown of the head where the skull does ot completely close until the child is between seven and nine years of age.  Prior to this, young children often display extreme sensitiveness and awareness, even having clairvoyant experiences that are generally believed to be connected with this “third eye” or pineal gland.

According to esoteric philosophy, one of the healing secrets of the ages this small cone-shaped gland when stimulated, stands upright, permitting the essences of the brain to blend with one’s higher intelligence or higher self.  This, is known to release tremendous power, energy, and wisdom not ordinarily tapped by wo/man and produces amazing results quickly.  These results release the kind of willpower that can move mountains.

THE WARNING SIGNS OF SUICIDE

“Manic-depression [bipolar] distorts moods and thoughts, incites dreadful behaviors, destroys the basis of rational thought, and too often erodes the desire and will to live. It is an illness that is biological in its origins, yet one that feels psychological in the experience of it; an illness that is unique in conferring advantage and pleasure, yet one that brings in its wake almost unendurable suffering and not infrequently suicide. An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness ~ By Kay Redfield Jamison

Do not believe the old myth that people who talk about suicide will not do it. They DO try it and too many succeed in doing it. If someone mentions suicide, sit up and listen! – this is a serious warning sign!

Many people contemplating suicide want more than anything for their depression and emotional pain to end.  They may let others know about their plans, because they’re not sure they want to die and they hope they’ll be rescued.  Talking about suicide isn’t a long term solution but it can help to reduce the feelings of isolation that often follow a suicide attempt and help reduce the immediate risk of suicide until you can seek professional help.

In many cases, a suicidal person will refuse help and resist going to see a professional even when you suggest it.  You must insist!  Don’t worry abut being disloyal or going against his or her wishes.  Suicide is a life-and-death emergency, and you cannot waste time trying to get their consent. You may have to take charge of the situation and get  your loved one help against his orher wishes. Breaking a confidence may feel like you’ve betrayed their trust, but you must do it—it could save their life! If you can’t get them to a hospital, call the police, most police are trained to deal with these kind of emergenices and can help take your loved one to an appropriate place for treatment.  And don’t forget to get help for yourself too.  Coping with a suicidal loved one is very difficult. You cannot cope with it alone; you need support and comfort of others, professional as well as family and friends.

“Suicide warning signs or suicidal thoughts include:

 ·       Talking about suicide — for example, making statements such as “I’m going to kill myself,” “I wish I was dead” or “I wish I hadn’t been born”

·       Getting the means to commit suicide, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills

·       Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone

·       Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next

·       Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence

·       Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation

·       Increasing use of alcohol or drugs

·       Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns

·       Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly

·       Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order when there is no other logical explanation for why this is being done

·       Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again

·       Developing personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated, particularly when experiencing some of the warning signs listed above

 Warning signs aren’t always obvious, and they may vary from person to person. Some people make their intentions clear, while others keep suicidal thoughts and feelings secret.” MAYO CLINIC     http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/suicide/basics/symptoms/con-20033954

“I am fortunate that I have not died from my illness, fortunate in having received the best medical care available, and fortunate in having the friends, colleagues, and family that I do.”  Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D., An Unquiet Mind

Stay tuned for Part II ~ Breaking The Cycle of Bipolar Disorder,, where we will look at a case study, as well as symptoms of manic depressive caused from the thyroid gland, histamines,- as well as the uses of medications, drugs, vitamins, supplements, diet, alternative healing and so much more.

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.

LINKS

Bipolar in children http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder-in-children-and-adolescents/index.shtml

http://www.foodforthebrain.org/nutrition-solutions/bipolar-disorder/about-bipolar-disorder-(manic-depression).aspx

http://www.yourfamilyclinic.com/bipolar/bipaper.html

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder-in-adults/index.shtml

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1794

http://www.planetpsych.com/zPsychology_101/gaps_in_understanding.htm

Empathy http://mysilentecho.com/dreamtongue1.htm

http://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/rapid-cycling-bipolar-disorder?page=2

Thyroid Depression and Mental Health http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/thyroid-depression-mental-health/

http://www.alternativedepressiontherapy.com/Bipolar-Symptoms.html

Be with the people who are in psychosis and connect with them https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4isvbxN-wGo&NR=1

How does Lithium treat Bipolar http://www.askdoctork.com/how-does-lithium-treat-bipolar-disorder-201303304593

Anne Lamott in response to Robin William’s death http://www.chapclark.com/ann-lamott-in-response-to-robin-williams-death/

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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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INTRODUCING THE SEVEN ENDOCRINE GLANDS AND THEIR FUNCTIONS

“During the course of our research into the role of the chakras in health and disease, over 200 cases were observed clairvoyantly, and in a large number of these the disease was found to be related to the endocrine glands…..

Studies of the etheric chakras showed that whenever there were severe abnormalities in their colors, rhythm, direction of movement, brightness, form, elasticity and texture, this indicated a serious condition, probably resulting in the development of the disease, either in the endocrine glands related to that center or in that part of the body to which the center provides energy.” The Chakras and the Human Energy Fields by Shafica Karagulla, Dora Van Gelder Kunz

It is no secret that the endocrine glands have an intimate connection with the chakra system. The seven chakras or centers of energy have been seen as whirling cone-shaped vortices, which receive and distribute vital energy (lifeforce/prana) throughout the physical body. Each chakra also corresponds to a different endocrine gland and these glands govern specific parts of the physical body and areas of psychological and spiritual development. We know from the previous articles in this blog, on the subtle anatomy that the physical body has an aura of subtle fields known as the etheric, astral (mental/emotional) and causal bodies. We also know that damage to one or more of the subtle bodies through physical or emotional trauma can filter down from the aura to the etheric and physical level, creating a wide range of physical and mental ailments. All four levels of being, (etheric, astral, causal and physical body) are supposed to work together, encouraging and supporting each other.

More and more, science is proving what the mystics and ancient healers have been trying to tell us: there is no separation between the etheric system, endocrine system, nervous system, blood system and immune system; they all interact together at many levels. Each one spins a web of connectors not only to each other but to every other being and with the universe as well. Throughout our lives we learn by trial and error about our own physical presence on this earth and the effect that our presence has with others.

“The importance of this glandular system cannot be over-estimated. It is a replica in miniature of the septenary constitution of the universe and the medium of expression and the instrument of contact for the seven ray forces, the seven Spirits before the Throne of God. Around this at present unrecognized truth the medicine and the healing methods of the future civilization will be built.” Alice Bailey, Esoteric Healing

The day you were born, your spirit descended into matter, ready to face a new set of circumstance, or circumstances similar to those of a previous life, if the lesson had not been learned. At the moment of your birth, your body chemistry was set, directly related to the position of the planets at that point in time. The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, (main controller of the endocrine system) react to your thoughts, emotions and knowledge (placement of the planets, houses), that let the other glands know what the brain is planning and wanting the body to do. These special glands also have a thinking capacity all their own, you could say, that our endocrine system is an amazing group of different beings, each with their own history and experience, each with their own attitude, emotions and responses. With no exception, these glands are united by a very strong bond and linked by a shared history, each reacting to the other by way of the nervous system (mediated by neuropeptides, neurotransmitters and neurohormones). They are constantly eavesdropping on your thoughts and feelings and listening to the conversation you are having with yourself—every second of your life!

If you are familiar with the many Edgar Cayce readings, (the sleeping prophet) he stated the endocrine glands are repositories of past life memories emotionally charged and repressed. As we become more aware of ourselves, through dreams, meditation, self-healing, astrology, etc., these past memories come to the surface, appearing as symbols, giving us clues to hidden parts of our personality and to emotional problems/illnesses we are experiencing in this lifetime.

The endocrine system is made of glands situated throughout the body that secrete hormones or chemical messengers directly into the bloodstream. Circulating around the body in the blood, they continually bathe our tissues, stimulating changes in body cells. Each hormone has a variety of different effects, depending on the cells they are acting upon. Each gland and its chemical function has a part to play in the whole and with its own personality, character and agenda. The endocrine glands contain hidden aspects of yourself, which at times we all have had trouble seeing or accepting.

“Hormones are essentially tiny chemical messengers that spark communication processes throughout your body. They play an enormous role in influencing almost every aspect of your well-being, including your thoughts and feelings. Whether you feel the need to sleep, warm up, cool down, eat jelly beans, grab a coffee or have a quickie, your desires and actions can be traced back to your hormonal activity.” Dr. Natasha Turner

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.

The most powerful chemicals created in the body come from the endocrine glands. This highly complex and sophisticated system is…. “controlled by the nervous system through the hypothalamus. This structure at the base of the forebrain has intimate connections with the pea-sized pituitary gland, to which it is adjacent. The pituitary gland releases a great variety of hormones that fan out within the body, stimulating actions in the other endocrine glands. In this sense, the pituitary is known as the master gland of the endocrine system, although the hypothalamus is the real power behind the throne”. Wayne Weiten

THE PITUITARY is a pea-sized gland that hangs like a little round bag from the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls emotion and appetite. Though the pituitary is tiny in size, it plays a major role in the functioning of your whole bodily system. It is constantly influenced by the higher centres of the brain, which give us our senses, memory, creativity and thought. It governs the lower base of the brain, the ears, nose, left eye, medulla and nervous system. Its color is indigo and its note on the musical scale is “A” .

Astrologically, the planets I associate with the pituitary is Jupiter and Saturn. Jupiter, for its wisdom and intuition and Saturn for its intelligence and reason. This idea seems to works well with the 6th chakra, known as the Ajna or ‘Third Eye, which when opened represents telepathy and knowing. This chakra is depicted with two indigo lotus petals, one representing the ego self and the other, the spiritual self. It is at this centre that the masculine and feminine energies merge, initiating a spiritual awakening. The pituitary points to the earth and is our connection between spirit and earth, it is the ‘meeting place’ of both body and mind.

The pituitary produces nine hormones of its own and regulates our sexual characteristics, growth, blood pressure, fertility, metabolism and numerous other activities. It takes its orders from the hypothalamus, stimulating the other 6 endocrine glands (pineal, thymus, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, and sex glands) through the autonomic nervous system to produce their hormones. (The autonomic nervous system is a part of the nervous system that is ‘not’ under our conscious control—it is responsible for certain functions such as heart rate, breathing and muscular contractions of the internal organs)

An unbalanced pituitary can affect the performance of the pineal, thyroid, thymus, adrenals, ovaries, and testes glands, causing one’s whole life to be affected. When our brain is thrown badly out of balance from a hormonal imbalance, everything can go out of control. We’re going to do an extensive study on the endocrine system and the emotional/physical effects they have on the body. We’ll look at weight gain (obesity), Cushing’s disease, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), depression, bi-polar, prostrate problems, asthma, allergies, insomnia, diabetes, heart problems, cancer, Cushing’s disease, etc., but first we need to know and understand the performance of each one and how they work together.

Our hormones are constantly rising and falling, caught up in the fluctuations of the earth’s natural cycles (spring, summer, fall, winter) and, our own fluctuating thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes about ourselves. The PINEAL GLAND (so-called because it looks like a pine cone), is associated with the crown chakra or ‘third eye’ (clairvoyance, vision) which is related to our personal understanding of the universe and spirituality. It responds to light. This light not only reflects our vital energy, it also reflects the Light of wisdom, compassion, healing and understanding. When the pineal is active and healthy, we become sensitive to the higher frequencies of light and subtle energy bodies.

The pineal gland is situated just above the ears and adjacent to the eyes, at the center of the brain. Esoterically, the pituitary gland points to the earth; the pineal gland points upward to spirit. This endocrine gland responds positively to the musical note ‘B’, the color violet and associated with the planet Neptune. The reason I chose Neptune is because of its association with empathy, inspiration and insight, bliss, romance, spiritual yearning and even hallucinations, loss of identity and mental confusion. Both Neptune and the pineal gland are associated with dreams and with the chemical known as melatonin.

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.

Melatonin is secreted when darkness falls. It makes us drowsy, calm and ready for sleep. Production of this hormone usually occurs while you’re sleeping. If you sleep with a light on or light floods into your room, it can effect the production of melatonin. Melatonin also works with the growth hormone from the pituitary gland. As you sleep and your body cools, growth hormone is released into the bloodstream, repairing tissue, skin, bone and muscle, preparing you for a new day.

But too much melatonin (usually winter months or in areas with little sun) can affect our personality, sexual and reproductive functions as well as our appetite. It has been associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is known to create symptoms of lethargy, irritability, overeating, low self-esteem and mood changes…it’s where we just want to sleep all day.

Melatonin is mainly found in the brain, skin, heart and genitals. It can affect mood swings, menstrual cycles, estrogen levels, sperm levels and ovulation. When too much of this hormone is in our system, during daylight hours, we can suffer mental confusion and depression, insomnia, nightmares, skin problems, fertility problems and many other health complications. People suffering from these ailments tend to have large amounts of cortisol, a hormone produced from the adrenal glands, in their bloodstream. Too much cortisol has toxic effects to the billions of nerve cells in the brain, particularly the hippocampus.

“The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is particularly vulnerable to stress and stress hormones. Some researchers have reported that high cortisol levels are linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease…..While cortisol levels fluctuate throughout the day, they often soar when a person is faced with a stressful situation. Studies have shown this stress also affects memory….[for instance] people taking cortisone pills which change into cortisol in the body were not good at remembering a list of words as people taking placebo pills.” The Encyclopedia of Alzheimer’s Disease by Carol Turkington, Deborah R. Mitchell

The pineal gland is a biological clock and is highly sensitive to the solar activity of the Sun as well as the Moon’s phases. Our bodies operate on a 24 hour clock, regulated by sunlight, which controls the day/night levels of serotonin and melatonin. As we know, melatonin is important in regard to the health of our immune system as well as the healing process, which takes place while we sleep. Melatonin declines as we age. This is possibly because the pineal gland slowly withers and calcifies as we grow old. Taking melatonin supplements can help but too much can cause some negative side affects, interfering with the natural rhythms of the body. Meditation, yoga, tai chi, breath work and other spiritual practices not only help to regulate the serotonin/melatonin balance, they also help us to understand there is a life force, an energy that flows through us. They also help us to develop our spiritual sight and keep the pineal gland and endocrine system healthy and strong.

From the endocrine glands in the brain (hypothalamus, pituitary, pineal) we move down to the THYROID GLAND located in front of the neck below the adam’s apple, larynx or voice box. Its two sides look very much like the wings of a butterfly. This endocrine gland responds to the musical note ‘G’, the color blue and sits in the 5th or throat chakra. The throat chakra rules the arms, hands, throat, mouth, voice, lungs, cervical vertebrae and respiratory system. Not only does this chakra govern communication, willpower, truthfulness and creativity, it provides a link or bridge between the spirit and personality. If you suffer from sore throats, dental problems, speech impediments and the inability to express yourself creatively, this chakra may be imbalanced. A weak or overpowering voice, problems listening to others and hearing and speaking the truth are indications this chakra is blocked too. The neck is the link between the mind and body.

“The throat center is the organ specifically of the creative WORD. It registers the intention or creative purpose of the soul, transmitted to it by the inflow of energy from the ajna center; the fusion of the two energies, thus brought about, will lead to some type of creative activity. This is the higher correspondence to the creativity of the sacral center. In that center the negative and the positive creative energies are embodied in the separate male and female organisms and are brought into relation in an act of creation, consciously undertaken, though as yet without much definite purpose.

The dense physical externalization of this center is the thyroid gland. This gland is regarded as of supreme importance in the well-being of the average human being of today. Its purpose is to guard health, to balance the bodily equilibrium in certain important aspects of the physical nature, and it symbolizes [155] the third aspect of intelligence and of substance impregnated with mind. It is in reality connected with the Holy Ghost, or the third divine aspect in manifestation, “over-shadowing” (as the Bible expresses it), the Mother, the Virgin Mary. The para-thyroids are symbolic of Mary and Joseph and the relation they hold to the over-shadowing Holy Ghost. It will eventually be determined that there is a close physiological relation existing between the thyroid gland and the pineal gland, and between the para-thyroids and the two lobes of the pituitary body, thus bringing into one related system the entire area of the throat and of the head.” Esoteric Healing by Alice Bailey

The thyroid gland is one of the most sensitive organs in the body producing hormones that control the metabolic processes in all the cells of the body. These hormones have an impact on your energy, muscle strength, growth and development, and nervous system.

“This gland is not only involved in keeping our hormones aligned, it also keeps all the organs in the body balanced and running smoothly. It also regulates our metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.

An illness in the body could indicate a thyroid problem. Also, if your autoimmune system is out of whack this can also be the thyroid. Hormone failure can also indicate problems with the thyroid, adrenals and ovaries. Thyroid dysfunction is NOT something to ignore. If you suspect a problem, please check it out before more harm is done.”

I wrote this in a previous article called Zooming in on the Thyroid. Clicking on the link https://ravenstarshealingroom.wordpress.com/2009/07/11/zooming-in-on-the-thyroid/ will guide you to this article and help to understand how the thyroid works and the different illnesses caused when it is out of balance (e.g., hyperthyroid, hypothyroid, weight problems, ADD/ADHD, high cholesterol, tonsillitis, speech problems such as struttering, goiter, dwarfism and problems with excess estrogen, etc.)

Another link on the thyroid in this blog is here https://ravenstarshealingroom.wordpress.com/2009/07/11/emotionally-psychologically-and-spiritually-decoding-the-thyroid/

Stress, illness and poor diet can easily affect the thyroid gland. The thyroid uses foods such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats and minerals as fuel. This gland coverts food into energy, not only controling the body’s growth and temperature, it also controls every cell in the body as well. Your skin, complexion and even your outward appearance is affected by the thyroid. It’s the engine of your body and when it goes into low gear, the whole body is affected.

The astrological planet I’ve associated with the thyroid is Mercury. The reason I chose Mercury is because of the 5th chakra’s involvement with mental development. It’s also related to thoughts and belief patterns you use in when communicating, your indentity and your creativity. Mercury in the positive sense is about flexibility and adaptability to understand a variety of different options and reaction to change. In mythology Mercury was known as the quicksliver mind; he was imaginative, communicative and as Carl Jung said, able to get one in touch with his or her creative gifts. Mercury also had the ability to touch the unconscious and spirit as well. Clarivoyance and telepathy can be developed in this area.

We now move to the PARATHYROID GLANDS, four very tiny small shaped discs embedded in the back of the thyroid gland with one behind each of the upper and lower poles of the ‘thyroid wings’. Interestingly, the parathyroid glands and the pancreas (organ and a gland) are not controlled by the pituitary, they act independentally, which means they are not influenced by any ‘outside’ stimulus. The parathyroid glands, like the thyroid respond to the musical note ‘G’ and are situated at the 5th or throat chakra area. Right now I’ve associated Mercury with the parathyroid glands. The reason being, Mercury is the planet that controls your metabolism. If your metabolism is high, your bodily system is dominated by the adrenal system and the thyroid. If your metabolism is slow, it’s dominated by the parathyroid gland and the pancreas and the sedating hormone calcitonin. When the parathyroids are active, the heart rate slows down, decreasing oxygen supplies, metabolism and energy.

“Your parathyroids support your pancreas, liver and ovaries and are regulated to calm down your thyroid.” Pamela Levin

From the above statement we begin to understand that the parathyroid and thyroid actually work in opposition to each other, for example, in color healing orange stimulates the thyroid gland but depresses the parathyroid glands….indigo stimulates the parathyroids and works as a depressant for the thyroid. But when these two are balanced like a see-saw or teeter totter affect, they work together to make sure the calcium levels in your blood are balanced.

The parathyroid glands also affect one’s mental development and polarity in the body. The parathryoid glands secrete parathormone (parathyroid hormone, PTH) that controls the body’s calcium levels in the blood, which are important for healthy bones and teeth and proper brain function. When calcium levels drop, the parathyroids go into action by secreting parathormone. Parathormone signals the kidneys not to flush calcium out in the urine. If there is too much calcium in the blood it can affect our nerves, cause hand spasms (tetany) in some people, or even depression, tiredness and irritability. Sometimes the cause is just from taking too many calcium supplements, other times it can be caused by a much larger issue. The parathyroids are often overlooked by doctors. The parathyroids out of whack can cause body weakness, nausea, constipation, thirst and even possibly kidney stones. Since alternative healers are not allowed to diagnose, we usually recommend a client see their doctor and have blood tests done on his or her hormone levels.

Below the thyroid and situated just above the heart sits the THYMUS GLAND. The thymus gland’s main function is to produce hormones that guard against infection and keep your immune system strong. This gland reaches its maximum size in early childhood and begins to shrink as we mature in age.

The thymus gland can indicate the all around condition of the endocrine system and is related as well to how rapidly we age. Even though it does shrink as we mature it continues to produce hormones against the many viruses, bacterias, parasites that invade our system. In fact, as you’ve been reading this article, you body has already created around four million new immune cells and hundreds of thousands of antibodies which are now coursing through your bloodstream. Even if you are a healthy person, there may be thousands of viruses in your blood and only a few of these are known by scientists and doctors.

It’s only been recently this gland has been explored more. One reason is that it was thought to be only involved in the growth process and the development of immunity in childhood. Now there is more research being done on this gland which has been given the name, ‘the throne of immunity’. It has also been called the ‘gateway to the chakras’ and other endocrine glands because of the intense interchange of energy between the etheric system and the physical body.

“The thymus gland produces T-cells, which deal with bacteria, viruses, parasites, cancers, allergies, and release the T-cells into the blood system. It also produces specific hormones that help deal with infection and immunity. When excessive stress or trauma cause an increase in hormones released by the adrenal glands, these in turn inhibt the production of the thymus hormones, leaving you more susceptible to infection and illness.

The thymus is also known as the seat of fire because of its close connection to the heart. For instance, when you are in love, feel confident or have an open and positive frame of mind, you will find it quite hard to get ill, as your T-cell count will be high. Conversely, when you feel depressed, lonely, or sad, your T-cell count drops and you can catch cold or get ill quite easily.” Deb Shapiro

Our immune system is not totally controlled by the brain and pituitary gland. It is a sensory organ as well, transmitting chemical messages about bacteria, viruses, harmful chemicals, dead tissue, dust and even cancer cells which spontaneously arise every day in everybody and must be disposed of.

The word thymus in Greek means soul or personality, which fits well, atrologically, with the brilliant clear light of the Sun, the ‘core’ of your self-expression and personal identity. The thymus gland responds to the Musical Note F.

The PANCREAS lies behind the stomach and secretes digestive enzymes to break down carbohydrates, fat, proteins and acids. It produces insulin to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for daily life. Our brains run best when the amount of glucose (digested sugar) in the blood is balanced with the amount of oxygen. It is the pancreas’ job to produce insulin in order to escort this glucose into cells where it can be ‘burned’ and use as fuel for energy. Insulin also helps the muscles and other tissues to obtain the sugar needed for their activity. Too much sugar, can damage its ability to function.

“…..sugar 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, The Whole Way to Allergy Relief and Prevention

Sugar isn’t all bad. The body, genetically and evolutionarily was designed to crave sweets….the main reason for this is because it doesn’t or hasn’t the ablity to manufacture vitamin C. In the study of primitive man, we learnt they not only hunted animals but gathered berries and fruits as well. Fruits and berries gave them the fuel they needed for energy as well as vitamin C and also the fibers present in fruit. But in our day and age, we consume sugar in hundreds of different forms (e.g., cereals, snacks, cakes, juice, ice-cream, carbonated drinks) and too much sugar can cause the body to go into crisis mode.

When we consume sugar, insulin is released from the pancreas, usually a small amount is all that’s needed to do the job. Under normal circumstances, our sugar levels flunctuate all the time, but when we eat a sugar loaded meal or snack, the pancreas panics and overreacts, producing large amounts of insulin. We still get that sudden burst of energy but the high insulin production drops it just as quickly lowering our sugar levels to below average, creating a condition called hypoglycemia. If there’s too much insulin in the blood, it can cause a condition called hyperinsulinemia. This condition can lead to problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes.

Insulin also influences the sodium levels in our body and too much can cause us to retain water causing our bodies to swell. An excess of insulin in men can cause their testerone levels to be converted to the feminine hormone estrogen which increases fatty deposits in the abdomen and breasts…this is caused by an enzyme called aromatase which is stored in the body’s fat cells. It can also cause hair loss and affect their sex drive. In woman, too much insulin and the same enzyme, aromatase can cause their estrogen levels to covert to testosterone. This too increases fat stored in the abdomen as well as their breasts to sag and shrink; acne, and abnormal hair growth is also possible, especially in the facial area.

“The need to be loved is a secret hunger for the Pancreas. Eating is a social act that has deep emotional meanings. Early in life food somehow got mixed up with love and caring — we started eating because we felt undernourished and/or didn’t get enough nurturing. There are also some of us who eat to feed the hungers caused by stress or loneliness. All this has an impact on our pancreas, affecting our energy, our attitudes and blocking our metabolism.

The Pancreas is also extremely vulnerable to intense emotions and feelings caused by a reaction to an outer event. In fact both the spleen and pancreas react to serious events that can affect us for life. These two organs absorb most of our severe shocks.”

This is quoted from another article I wrote on this blog called https://ravenstarshealingroom.wordpress.com/2009/10/11/diabetes-balancing-the-sweetness-in-your-life/ Reading this may help to understand the metaphysical and physical aspects of the pancreas. The pancreas is connected to the third chakra or solar plexus, responds to the musical note ‘E’ and is associasted with the planet Venus.

“…….Venus represents what you like and dislike. Venus’ cycle comes into play in our astrological chart around 10 months of age. After a lifestyle of the ‘same stuff’ , we start wanting something else.

Venus also represents your sense of ’taste’ what you like and don’t like, and taste is also tied into early memories of what’s nice and not nice, what’s beautiful and not beautiful as well as our Self Worth and Personal Values.”

This is a previous article I wrote on Venus…. https://ravenstarshealingroom.wordpress.com/2009/11/28/how-venus-influences-your-life/

The ADRENAL GLANDS are two small, somewhat flat glands, located at the top oc each kidney in the lower mid-back of your body. The adrenal cortex or outer part of the adrenal gland, is essential for life, producing the hormones adrenaline, cortisol and even sex hormones. These hormones help to balance the levels of salt and potassium in the body, maintain proper blood pressure and keep the kidneys working well.

If we were to take a closer view, the right adrenal gland can look triangular in shape, the left one often crescent shaped. The triangle symbolizes fire, the masculine principle and the Trinity, which represent your aspirations, potentials and truths. The crescent Moon represents the feminine principle and the continual cycle of changes, movement and renewal. Together the adrenals represent the energetic balance of your inner and outer life as well as your emotions. Without the adrenals we would die. They are our strength to continue to push on even when the odds are against us. Unfortunately the stress levels in our lives can takes it toll on these two little glands and buildup up to a danger point causing burnout and a wide range of neurological and physical ailments. Continual high adrenaline levels raise the blood pressure to dangerous levels, which in turn can damage the heart. We’ve already read about cortisol and the dangers it can cause to the hippocampus, causing such illness such as Alzheimer’s.

Bodily stress can come from anywhere, it can be triggered physically, biologically, chemically, psychologically or when the body feels threatened.

“Physiologically, emotions are themselves electrical, chemical and hormonal discharges of the human nervous system. Emotions influence—and are influenced by—the functioning of our major organs, the integrity of our immune defences and the workings of the many circulating biological substances that govern the body’s physical states. When emotions are repressed……this inhibition disarms the body’s defences against illness. Repression—dissociating emotions from awareness and relegating them to the unconscious realm—disorganizes and confuses our physiological defences so that in some people these defences go awry, becoming the destroyers of health rather than its protector.” WHEN THE BODY SAYS NO by Gabor Mate, M.D.

Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS is a motor neuron disease, a stress related illness that causes the nerves that control muscle movement to gradually die. My friend’s mother passed away recently from this terrible disease. I’d like to look at this disease with you, down the road, and its metaphysical causes in reference to the above statement.

In Part 1 of the Endocrine System, we talked of the HYPOTHALAMUS and its close ties with the parasympathetic and the sympathatic systems. It is the nerve fibers of the sympathetic system that ends in the ADRENAL GLANDS. In fact the energy producing systems of the body are the adrenal, thyroid glands, the parathyroid glands and the pancreas. Both the adrenal system and the thyroid gland are dominated by the sympathetic nervous system, which is part of the autonomic nervous system, which we discussed earlier. We know this system controls our heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, hormonal balance and metabolism. The sympathetic nervous is associated with two hormone stimulants, adrenaline (also known as epinephrine and closely related to norepinephrine) and cortisol. Adrenaline and cortisol are released to bring you to a heatened 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, which become tense and prepared for action. With your nerves on edge, you’re ready to respond to the fight or flight reflex.

“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

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 muscle tension, stiffness, eating disorders, depression, heart palpitations, excessive sweating and even 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.

Exercising, dance, massage, yoga, breathwork, reiki and healing all help to relax the muscles and allow the blood and oxygen levels to return to normal.

Sometimes our most negative emotions such as anger and fear will be extracted by the kidneys causing urinary tract infections and problems with the bladder.

I think most astrologers agree the planet Mars is what rules the adrenal glands. Mars governs our creative force and power, it wants to act on something and respond. Mars is a definite expression of our creativity added with passion, strength and confidence. It is a planet that is self-reliant, brave, instinctual, erotic and willful. Mars is definitely passionate but not exactly tender or always aware of another person’s feelings. The problem with this planet’s warrior-like energy is its impulsiveness. It can get carried away and make hasty decisions and later on regret its actions. The adrenals respond to the musical note ‘C’ on the music scale.

The GONADS or SEX GLANDS (reproductive glands) are among the most subtle and power chemicals in nature. Scientists are still trying to get a handle on how these glands affect the whole human brain-body system. Although scientists are skeptical of the sex glands and the so-called kundalini energy, they can’t deny that male and female energies become heightened, balanced and attuned during orgasm. And although the word sex makes us think of sexual intercourse, the act itself is only a tiny portion of what is known to be sexual. Its energy infuses life and influences everything we do.

“Sexual energy underlies every act of individual expression. It is a creative force, the influence of which extends far beyond sexual activity to include thought, feeling, behavior, dress. Sexual energy informs art, music, fashion, even architecture and automotive design. It is an all-pervading force.” Christopher S. Kilham

Unfortunately, when our sexual energy is blocked or not flowing well, it affects our entire system. Not recognizing or transforming or lifting up this energy can interfere with the body’s naturally healing process and block spiritual development as well. To generate this energy can only be done by the power of one’s will and through intense concentration. Life itself is an array of sensual experiences, if only we would realize our inner potential, we could also actualize our dreams.

Men and women who suffer from hormonal problems most likely suffer from too much or to little testosterone and too much or too little estrogen. Testosterone like estrogen is obtained from a substance called cholesterol (surprised, I was too). We all need cholesterol in our blood to produce DHEA, adrenal and sex hormones. In some cases doctors have worked so hard to reduce a person’s cholesterol, it has interfered with their hormone function and their immunity.

“Many people who take cholesterol lowering medication experience a reduction in their libido; this makes sense as their body is less able to produce sex hormones. Low levels of sex hormones may also contribute to erectile dysfunction and aggravate the symptoms of fibromyalgia, such as tender, aching muscles…..People with low cholesterol die earlier than those with normal to high levels, and they seem to have higher rates of cancer” Cholesterol, The Real Truth by Sandra Cabot and Margaret Jasinska

But there is also twist in all this, as the liver eliminates toxic estrogens in the form of cholesterol, which can damage the liver. High estrogen levels can also affect the gallbladder and slow down the excretion of bile. In woman this can make them more susceptible to gallbaldder stones than men.

If you are a male with high amounts of testosterone, this too could compromise your immune system, which means you may not be well protected from viruses and bacteria that invade your body. High testosterone levels have also been known to cause narrowing or hardening of the arteries or heart disease and problems with your prostrate. Men are also suffering from too estrogen in their system. The testicles are supposed to produce testosterone and a very small amount of estrogen. But with more animals being fed estrogen-like hormones there is more estrogen being found in a man’s blood. Too much estrogen can affect the muscular system of the body, making them flabbier than usual. High levels of estrogen in men, can also cause weight gain, breast growth, love handles around the waist, headaches, mood swings, hypertension, cancer, diabetes and autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s etc…

Low testosterone can also cause heart disease, dry skin, fatigue, loss of muscle tone (especially in the arms and legs), depression, problems making decisions, impotency, sleep apnea, loss of bone density, etc…

In women, estrogen is produced by the ovaries and also in smaller quantities from the adrenal glands and the placenta. Estrogen levels rise each month as a woman begins to ovulate, stimuated by hormones from the pituitary. Progesterone rises after ovulation in hopes of fertilizing the egg and if fertilization doesn’t occur, it falls dramatically and then menstruation begins, caused from the shedding of the uterine lining. Then all this build up again as a woman’s hormone cycle begins again. Many of us woman have suffered from the emotional roller coaster of our hormonal cycles. The dramatic flunctuations of estrogen and progesterone can cause, headaches, cramps, water retention and bloating, swollen breasts, acne, fatique, insomnia, joint pain, as well as overwhelming feelings, moods and depression. All these along with emotional stress have been given the name Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS.

And if that isn’t enough to contend with, we also have to contend with menopause, which causes hot flashes, loss of sexual desire, painful sex as well as vaginal and urinary infections. There is also a link with menopause and heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Both the ovaries and the testes are dependant on and sensitive to the hormones secreted from the hypothalamus, pituitary, pineal and adrenal glands. The hypothalamus communicates with the pituitary and the pineal gland that has been said to control our biological clock. These glands send signals to the body to begin puberty, fertility cycles and sexual arousal. But sometimes certain kinds of stress can make the uterus and ovaries react, having a sudden affect on the pituitary gland’s hormonal production and cause a woman’s menstrual cycle to go completely out of whack.

The gonads or sex glands sit in the 2nd or sacral chakra, but we should add the 1st chakra to them as well. The musical note is ‘D’ and the planet I assocate with this area is Pluto. Pluto represents the subconscious, the underworld, excretion, reproduction, chemical processes, regeneration, cellular change and tissue destruction.

Most of the people I’ve seen in the years have been concerned with weight gain, fatigue, lack of energy, headaches, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), depression, lack of interest in sex and feelings of being run down. In healing, I’ve been trained in a variety of alternative healings, however Reiki is most definitely at the top of the list and can be used with all types of healing applications. I’ve trained many nurses and massage therapists who find Reiki enhances their healing and intuitive abilities. As well, astrologers, naturopaths, psychics, tarot readers, yoga instructors and many more have found this ancient practice an asset to themselves and their clients. A healthy energy flow enhances and influences our health, affecting everyone and everything around us.

In Reiki, the hand positions are related to the locations of the chakras and the endocrine glands. Reiki energy has an accumulating effect in the endocrine glands, which helps to keep our immune system in top-working order. When enough energy has accumulated, then the chemical reactions of the glands push the immune system into different cycles of the healing process.

When a person has had a long-term imbalance, there is usually not enough energy to trigger the immune system, the “condition” seems stuck, which can have an impact on our health. But, when additional energy is introduced, then the immune system can draw upon it, kicking the body’s defense mechanism into a higher level of healing, breaking up the trapped energy and allowing the body to regain its balance. By doing the specific hand positions with Reiki a practitioner can give the fastest “charge” to the glands that are responsible for maintaining ‘health’, and accelerating the healing process.

I tried my best to explain the endocrine glands in a simple but concise way to help you to recognize these ‘tiny beings’ are an essential part of your health and nature. Out of your own life experiences these glands have documented your habits, attitudes, perceptions, traumas, challenges, feelings, thoughts, memories, and unresolved issues or situations to make you aware of what’s getting in the way of your health and progress. Pain and suffering cannot be avoided no matter how much we try. Pain is a built-in warning mechanism, a wake-up call, telling us something in our lives need to change. It is my and your responsibility to learn what our bodies are trying to teach us so we can avoid illness and continue evolving.

Now that we have studied the endocrine system from the top to the bottom, let’s approach them again in a metaphysical way and study each illness independantly affected by their imbalance. This way we can understand and take the positive steps needed to physically, nutrtionally and psychologically empower and heal ourselves.

Great links….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Z1zsR9lFM&feature=related

http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/body_basics/endocrine.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrMi4GikWwQ

http://www.livestrong.com/stimulate-pituitary-gland/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8k-UKR2vGsk

 

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  Everything that affects the body also affects the mind; hormone changes are no exception to this rule. We are learning that our thoughts and emotions have a profound effect on our hormone balance and how they affect our bodies. In fact our mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and social aspects are all responsible for the inner rhythm of our health and growth. The problem is how do we get them all to participate and cooperate with each other?

This is an extensive study on the endocrine and nervous system. The two are so intimately linked together, you just can’t separate one from the other. These two systems are in constant communication with each other at all times, and are a constant reflection of our health. It is truly an extraordinary relationship, regulated by the pituitary gland (master controller) and the hypothalamus. Situations in our life are neither good or bad…it is our personal reaction or response to them that creates our positive or negative attitudes to them. Each of us is unique, my needs and your needs are not the same…we all have slightly different balances so it’s important that each of us get to know ‘thy self’, tuning into our body and finding what works best.

Together let’s try and understand and interpret the language of the endocrine and nervous systems. As we dig deeper, case studies will be discussed, some will be from my own notes, while others, will be documented by healers, doctors, researchers and scientists. Not only will we look at the nervous and endocrine glands physically but also spiritually, mentally, emotionally and metaphysically.

“The endocrine glands are both physical and spiritual. Each has a mind of its own, which directs hormonal output into the blood stream and neurological impulses into the nervous system. Each of these endocrine glands also has an energy component [known as the Chakras].” William A. McGarey, M.D.

Before we even begin to work on each of the endocrine glands, we need to understand the ‘generator’ behind this system. The hypothalamus has its own memory of stored emotions, these go way back to our primitive ancestral fears…..

“We lived in a hostile environment as hunters and gathers, surrounded by animals that hunted us, and we learned to protect ourselves either by running or by fighting. This was useful then but now that same flight/fright response is triggered by imaginary fears, traffic jams, the stock market, by things people say to us and that response has a very limited function. It is creating and causing the epidemics that are now inflicting our society – degenerative disorders, cardiovascular disease, cancer, a compromised immune system etc. But more importantly it has given rise to a legacy of war, and hatred, and tradition, and conquest, and confinement and ecological devastation. WE have become the predators of the planet earth. And just like other predators before us we are risking our own extinction and the extinction of mother earth and the universe of which we are a privileged species.” Deepak Chopra

The hypothalamus is the ‘real power behind the throne’; about the size of an olive, it is the main controller of the body’s flow of hormones. Most of its judgments are determined by our emotions as well as old fears, stored in its memory. This is probably why the hypothalamus has been called the ‘seat of emotions’. Situated in the lower part of the brain, known as the limbic system, this part of the brain controls our pleasure and pain and gives us the urge to run away when we’re in danger. And as we know, plays an important part in memory; this is why we never forget very pleasant or horrible experiences.

http://www.medicalook.com/systems_images/Hypothalamus_large.jpg

The limbic system consists of the hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus, which regulate our emotions, memories, dreams, motivations, sexual and social behavior as well as lust and love. One of the hypothalamus’ main job is to help control the functions of the internal organs and maintain body temperature; it informs the brain about what’s happening in a variety of systems and organs inside your body. For example, if your blood contains too much salt, the hypothalamus will search for water to dilute it….if the blood contains too much sugar, the hypothalamus will suppress your appetite.

The hypothalamus also keeps your autonomic nervous system (sympathetic & parasympathetic) working and controls the movement of your heart, gut and bladder, makes you feel hungry and thirsty; feel angry or aggressive; grateful and forgiving; it works to keep you from falling asleep during the day. The autonomic nervous system controls over seventy thousand nerves throughout the body and controls the blood circulation and pressure, which affects the heart function.

There is no doubt that the nerves and endocrine system work continuously together. So do the many cells and tissues in the immune system. In fact they all talk to one another…there are 100 billion nerve cells in the brain and each is connected to thousand of others, making the brain more complex than any computer! And it needs to, just to keep you alive!

The problem is, the hypothalamus isn’t interested in your happiness. Since the beginning of time its main job has been your survival. It will selfishly pursue only what it thinks is in your best interest. Unfortunately, its continual rush of hormones can harm your health and affect your immune system, and an overactive immune system can be toxic. The whole bodily system can suffer and dysfunction, causing an array of problems, such as obesity, diabetes, menstrual problems, hypertension, listlessness, irritable bowel, prostate problems, aggressiveness, skin eruptions, insomnia, allergies, etc.

The primitive force of the hypothalamus can be spontaneous and unpredictable, creating a rush of hormones, depending on the circumstances. Adjoined with the thalamus these two glands are a major relay center for incoming sensory information and triggering your survival instincts. They respond emotionally and immediately to dangers, real and/or imagined. Messages are immediately transmitted through the nervous system and to every part of our body. Within a fraction of a second, our bodies go through immediate physiological changes….hormone and adrenaline levels increase, making our senses sharper and our heart pump faster. With this heightened alertness, we’re ready to fight or run!

For example, let’s imagine you’re attempting to cross the street and suddenly a speeding truck seems to be heading straight towards you or you suddenly hear the sound of squealing brakes. Or someone seems to be following you! Before you know it, you’ve already moved out of harms way. All this seems pretty simple but there was a flurry of activity within your bodily system, you weren’t even aware of.

When the hypothalamus perceives a threat, it goes into lightning speed action, releasing a hormone to the pituitary (master gland). The pituitary immediately releases the hormone ACTH (adreno-corticotropin ) directly into your blood stream to the adrenal glands with an urgent message, “produce hormones”, specifically cortisol and adrenalin hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine. These hormones race through the circulation to the brain and various organs. They arouse your brain preparing it for the flight/fight response, which mobilizes energy in the form of sugar and diverts blood from the abdominal area to the muscles and limbs. While all this is going on there is a storm of activity happening in the sympathetic nervous system (sympathetic and parasympathetic are connected to hypothalamus via the spinal column) as the hormones from the adrenals race between nerve cells towards your heart and other major organs. Heart rate and respiration increase, your blood pressure goes up, digestion slows to a crawl, your body sweats and the hairs on the back of your neck stands on end. All this happens in less than a second! Now your body is ready to assert itself with a massive burst of energy. Jumping out of harms way, the hypothalamus/pituitary/adrenal combination immediately stop the fight/flight production. The parasympathetic nervous system turns on and reestablishes the body’s equilibrium.

But if the electrical energy between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems are unbalanced, the sympathetic nervous system will remain on high alert and the parasympathetic nervous will not be able to do its job.

As mentioned earlier, the anatomic nervous system controls over seventy thousand other nerves throughout the body, and, the nerve fibers from the sympathetic nervous system ‘end’ in the adrenals. Our adrenals help to exert our willpower but too much cortisol and adrenaline in the blood exhausts the body; together these hormones can create inflammation in the lower back muscles by restricting the amount of blood flow there. When this happens the inflamed muscles clamp down upon the adrenal glands disrupting the proper balance of adrenaline/cortisone, and the male/female sexual hormones. Not only does this cause a tremendous drain on the immune system, it causes an array of physical stresses such as intestinal cramps, stomach ulcers, asthmatic flare-ups, memory loss, back pain, skin disorders and even impotency in men and a reduced sex drive in women. These two hormones also affect bone loss, causing osteoporosis and an increase in hip fractures.

As well, prolonged stress can restrict the flow of blood to the brain causing the formation of blood clots in the blood passageways within the brain. If a sudden surge of energy (fight/flight response) causes the heart to pump more blood to the brain, this can produce what we call a stroke. A stroke can disable various wirings of the brain affecting our memory, our ability to walk and speak.

More recently, high levels of cortisol have been found in people with Alzheimer’s…when there is too much cortisol in the system the body loses energy and drive. There is a desire to withdraw or disengage from the demands of life. I saw this happen with my own father.

“The root to our spirit is through the evolution of our own consciousness.” I’m not sure who said or wrote this quote, but I believe consciousness is a moment-to-moment awareness of what’s happening in our life right now. It relates to the health of our bodies and to the deep sense of ‘who I am’.

Persuading our bodies to change, especially our hormone balance is a slow process. You’ll probably notice erratic improvements; some months you’ll feel better and others it will feel like you’re sliding back. It may seem you are making no progress than suddenly, everything will seem to function beautifully. There are times you may even give up, then a few bad cycles will convince you to start all over once again. The first step is to act on it and mean it. Don’t worry where you are now. All this will be different a year from now. Never fear the next phase in your life; you’re going to make it a big experience!

“As we come to understand the essence and the symbology of the seven centers [endocrine glands], we can begin to comprehend what sort of result misuse of…emotions can and does create in our bodies. At times, they set up the beginning stages of an illness that might be experienced and diagnosed at some point in the future. In the same manner, we can see how strong emotional patterns formed deep within one or more past lifetimes can create the pattern of an illness we are currently experiencing.” William A. McCarey, M.D.

Interesting links

http://mybrainnotes.com/memory-brain-stress.html

http://qjmed.oxfordjournals.org/content/93/6/323.full

http://www.quanlim.com/UserFiles/File/Limbic%20System.pdf

http://www.chronicfatigue.org/Life%20Mastery.html

to be continued….

 

 

 

ravenstarshealingroom@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Our blood corresponds to the life energy within us, the movement of love and vitality throughout our being. Blood pressure can be raised by exertion, shock, conflict, or passion. High blood pressure is usually due to increased pressure and stress or anger and similar hot emotions. If it does not normalize easily, then it is know as hypertension…

Those who have high blood pressure are often over-active, as if doing everything possible to avoid themselves. Activity is a way of averting aggressive or emotional impulses – high blood pressure is symbolic of feelings not being expressed or even acknowledged, creating a buildup of inner pressure. As the emotions begin to spill over, physical difficulties can develop. It is essential that we learn how to read the signs before damage is done, and to connect more deeply with what is seething just below the surface. These are hot emotions which, if ignored for too long, create a great deal of damage.
 
What is getting you so heated? Are you applying the pressure yourself or is it coming from outside you? Are you trying to avoid something that is making you angry or upset? If high blood pressure is due to panic or fear, we need to recognize the insubstantiality of external events to reconnect with our inner balance. Breath awareness and inner conscious relaxation are essential.”
Deb Shapiro, Your Body Speaks Your Mind

We’ve all had our adrenalin and blood pressure rise at some point in our lives; it peaked for a few moments or hours then slowly returned to normal. But for some it does not return to its ‘normal’ level. When it doesn’t, it’s labelled hypertension. Our blood pressure is controlled by the brain which goes through a cyclical rhythm throughout the day reacting to stresses and anxieties caused by outside influences. These cycles can affect the normal rhythm of the body and the blood’s circulation.

Blood pressure is controlled by the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system which works similar to a plane on ‘autopilot’. It ensures that your organs, such as your lungs or heart work without you thinking about it. Your awareness of this system is triggered when your body is threatened or needs (cries out) for your undivided attention. It is your nerves that carry these messages to the Thalamus also known as the ‘brains inner room’ . The Thalamus relays these nerve impulses to the cerebrum (responsible for our ability to speak, read and write) and helps you to realize ohh I’m in pain! Other areas of the brain tell you exactly where the hurt is coming from. The hypothalamus controls the movement of the heart, gut and bladder; makes us feel hungry, thirsty; feel angry or aggressive; and stops us from falling alseep during the day.

So high blood pressure is a perfectly natural response of the body under stressful conditions and exercise. When you go for your daily jog, your heart rate increases and your blood pressure goes up. The problem is when the blood pressure remains high after the stress has been eliminated and the exercise session ended.

Also, obesity and heart disease are escalating at an alarming rate, young and old alike…..and our children are more than ever before taking perscription medications for health……..and behavioral problems.

HYPOTHALAMUS AND MENOPAUSE

When progesterone, estrogen decreases, it affects the pituitary gland which is connected to and triggers the ovaries. It also has an intimate connection with the hypothalamus (that tiny gland in front of pituitary)….which reads our emotional reactions and tells us what ‘we ourselves have programmed’ to feel is alright or if there is a problem.

Here’s a great link explaining the Hypothalamus http://www.becomehealthynow.com/article/bodynervousadvanced/956/

Doctors once believed that since the blood pressure is controlled by the autonomic nervous system it wasn’t humanly possible to have conscious control of it. It has taken years of of several body/mind techniques to prove that the mind is definitely capable of taking charge. Before we venture into the study of these techniques, let’s look at the physical causes of high blood pressure.

PHYSICAL CONDITIONS AND HYERTENSION

There are many physical conditions that can elevate our blood pressure. Stress, smoking, salt, kidney disease, liver congestion, arteriosclerosis, nutrition and sometimes even tumors can cause our high blood pressure to rise.

STRESS

Stress can temporarily raise our blood pressure. It can be caused from an argument at home, with your boss, kids, spouse as well as fear, financial problems and other emotional problems that affect our sympathetic nervous system (SNS). When activated our SNS activates the adrenal glands to produce a hormone which tightens up or narrows the diameter of the blood vessels. This defense mechanism is actually supposed to help you function more efficiently by increasing the amount of oxygen and nutrients in the body’s tissues and cells. Temporarily this increase isn’t harmful unless you already have high blood pressure……in some instances this can cause a stroke.

As we age, the Hypothalamus can become overreactive and affect our stress fight/flight response. When the hypothalamus sees a problem it tells our adrenals, (adrenals see everything as a problem) and they pour out the adrenaline. The adrenals are situated just on top of the kidneys and help us through emergencies in life. If we are threatened the body produces adrenaline and cortisol (the ‘stress’ hormone) which creates within the body an intense flooded feeling even panic. 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.

FUTURE SHOCK

It was the book Future Shock (1970) that first described the diastrous effect of an accelerating ‘modern’ world on human life. Many other books since, have exposed this theory that too much change too fast weakens the body as well as its emotional and mental well being. Even if we are surrounded by material comfort, it will not reverse the damage done. The medical term for wear and tear upon the body is STRESS.

The widespread incidence of heart disease is increasing at an alarming rate…its becoming an epidemic. Not only men but women are suffering from hypertension and over half of all deaths result from circulatory disease. Not only that there has been an increase in the sale of sleeping pills which certainly indicates insomnia and sleeplessness is a major health problem and a precursor for other ailments including mental illness. And what about the stress on our children? Fighting, guns, knifes and behavioral problems are running rampant all over the world. Stress has become a serious problem!

SMOKING causes the blood vessels to constrict, decreasing oxygen and nourishment to the body as well as increased blood pressure. Nicotine has a stimulating effect on the adrenal glands which sends out a hormone (cortisol) to help defend the body from this toxin.

Also, smoking has been linked with cancer, osteoporosis, migraines, early menopause, immune disorders, insommia, stress, insulin reduction and many other problems.

Very interesting link http://www.physicsforums.com/archive/index.php/t-87214.html

“Cortisol imbalances due to inflammation can cause fatigue in several ways. Because cortisol is designed to keep you alert in times of stress, it can cause insomnia, and the lack of quality sleep will make you tired. Cortisol also suppresses insulin production to keep the sugar available for muscles in a stress response, and can result in low blood sugar, which will also make you fatigued. Lastly, your adrenal glands can ultimately become exhausted from the constant demands placed on them to produce endless amounts of cortisol, usually as a response to chronic inflammation from a poor diet and smoking.”

Also from this site……

“When your body is stressed and in fight-or-flight mode, it doesn’t want to expend any energy for immune system functions that are of no importance until you’ve either fought off or run away from whatever is endangering you. After the stress is over, the body assumes you may have some injuries which require an immune response to fight infected wounds, at which point the immune system kicks in again. But as long as your body is producing cortisol, even if it is just in response to inflammation, the immune system can become suppressed.

Experiments have shown that cortisol can reduce white blood cell production by 38%, and that prolonged elevation of cortisol can damage the thymus gland which produces these immune cells.”

Another great link with several interesting articles attached…..

http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/272/1/151

SALT/SODIUM CHLORIDE

In this fast paced world many of us are digesting too many processed foods which are extremely high in salt content. Energy drinks designed to ‘boost’ your energy and keep you awake are ladened with caffeine and salt. When the body is overtaxed with these substances, it short-circuits and literally blows a fuse, which causes your system to breakdown. Salt is one of the most powerful stimulants for the body!

When sodium levels become excessive, wastes cannot be discharged from our cells and nutrients are not absorbed as well either. When this happens, cellular fluid increases and edema (water retention) can occur. This creates extra pressure on the blood vessels which increases the pressure inside causing high blood pressure.

One way of telling if you have too much salt in your system is by the amount of salt in your perspiration. Do you notice a white ring under the arms of that dark shirt you were wearing the other day. This white residue or dried perspiration is an indication of too much salt accumulation.

KIDNEY DISEASE

The main function of the kidneys (part of the urinary system) is to remove toxins and excess water. They have been known to filter almost 400 gallons of blood a day and over a quart of urine a day!

From http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4647

“The kidneys regulate the body’s fluid volume, mineral composition and acidity by excreting and reabsorbing water and inorganic electrolytes. This helps balance these substances (which include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, sulfate, phosphate and hydrogen) in the body and keep their normal concentrations in the extracellular fluid. Body fluid volumes, which are regulated by the kidneys, are related to blood volume and the blood pressure in your arteries.”

A sodium/potassium imbalance can prevent the kidneys from eliminating liquid wastes from the body. Smoking has been known to be a contributor to kidney disease as well as lack of exercise, too much salt, excessive caffeine and a poor diet. etc.

LIVER

The liver processes about 6 cups of blood each minute….in fact all the blood in the body flows through the liver both to detox and pick up nutrients which it stores. It is one of the most important internal organs and considered the ‘master chemist’ of the body. If it becomes congested with toxins or chemicals a back pressure builds up which can cause hypertension. In fact liver congestion is one of the major causes of high blood pressure and heart problems.

ATHEROSCLEROSIS

Atherosclerosis is caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Plaque is a combination of cholesterol, calcium, triglycerides, blood proteins, etc. that overtime hardens and narrows the arterial system, reducing circulation and oxygen supply to the body.

More on this later in the Cholesterol section.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF ATHEROSCLEROSIS

From…. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Atherosclerosis/Atherosclerosis_Signs.html

“Atherosclerosis usually doesn’t cause signs and symptoms until it severely narrows or totally blocks an artery. Many people don’t know they have the disease until they have a medical emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke.***

Some people may have other signs and symptoms of the disease. These depend on which arteries are severely narrowed or blocked.

The coronary arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart. When plaque narrows or blocks these arteries (a condition called coronary artery disease, or CAD), a common symptom is angina (AN-ji-na or an-JI-na).

Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. Angina may feel like pressure or a squeezing pain in your chest. You also may feel it in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back.
This pain tends to get worse with activity and go away when you rest. Emotional stress also can trigger the pain.

Other symptoms of CAD are shortness of breath and arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats).
The carotid arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your brain. When plaque narrows or blocks these arteries (a condition called
carotid artery disease), you may have symptoms of a stroke. These symptoms include sudden numbness, weakness, and dizziness.

Plaque also can build up in the major arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the legs, arms, and pelvis (a condition called peripheral arterial disease). When these arteries are narrowed or blocked, it can lead to numbness, pain, and sometimes dangerous infections.”

HEALTH AND NUTRITION

Again, prepared foods and fast food outlets are taking their toll on our health. It’s only recently they have taken trans fats out of their menus but high sodium levels and saturated fats are still in the food, a precursor for high blood pressure and heart disease.

Just imagine your morning breakfast, consisting of a cup of coffee, cereal, toast, juice, all landing in your stomach simultaneously. How does your stomach sort out the entire mess and how? Forcing the stomach to process all different kinds of food at once is taxing to the system. It’s like trying to balance your check-book, calculate your income tax and figure out a budget, all at the same time! Yikes!

Our body can only take so much interal abuse before it begins to show signs of disease. We need to continue to be on the alert for new better ways to improve our diet, emotions and lifestyle…..they are all closely interwoven.

to be continued…..

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