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The Fascial Web

The Fascial Web ~ Created by British Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor Barcroft

“Fascia is wrapped throughout the body on “lines of pull.” It connects toes to brow in one uninterrupted sheet of fascia, and fingers to chest and neck. The heart fascia is connected at the collarbone, which connects to the arm and fingers. It coils around the bones, muscle fibers, muscle bundles, organs, arteries, veins and nerves, applying tension and compression to the body material it surrounds. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17936/understanding-fascia-what-it-is-why-you-should-care.html 

Fascia, the connective tissue of the muscular system

Fascia, the connective tissue of the muscular system

Fascia magnified 25X https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzy8-wQzQMY 

METAPHYSICS OF THE FASCIA

Resistance is an inner contraction,a hardening of the shell of ego. When you surrender, a new dimension of consciousness opens us. ~Eckhart Tolle

Even though great strides have been made to bring awareness to the fascia, it is the least most understood energy system and quite possibly the most important. The fascia or connective tissue is a continuous web-like membrane that wraps, interweaves and connects all bodily parts and processes (creating, supporting the body as an integrated ‘whole’). There is no part of the body, not one single cell that isn’t connected to this crystal-like lattice. It’s elastic and liquid-like connective tissue, delivers energy and information through its own independent nervous system. The fascia even forms the walls of the individual muscles, holding and binding our muscular network together; this web exists to help in our function and depending on our repetitive movements, creates patterns and cycles of our postures and habits. Over a long period of time these patterns and cycles can cause pain affecting our movements. One of the building blocks of  fascia is collagen which forms, thick twisted bands of densely packed fibres that support our movements and posture.

“In terms of fascia, however, collagen has a particular role, and supports our frequent movements and postures. If we were to hold a certain position for any length of time, we would experience stiffness. This stiff feeling is the beginning of collagen fibres lining up and thickening. Continued lack of movement or stiffness may eventually lead to ossification and atrophy, and is characteristic of so many stooped and painful postures we see around us. Bowen Unravelled: A Journey into the Fascia Understanding of the Bowen Therapy ~ Julian Baker

Fascia is a graphic expression of how we feel and think—it reflects our past experiences, our attitudes and our patterns of behavior.  The fascia also dictates our basic body shape, and our upbringing, physically and psychologically.  Therefore, the fascia expresses the movement within us as well as our conflicts and confusions.

Pain is caused by a lack of proper circulation or a blockage in the flow of energy—it can also impede the flow of blood throughout the body. This can result in numbness, heaviness, stiffness and swelling of the joints and muscles. Stress and tension also slows down our circulation and becomes an inflammation in certain areas of the body.

Stress doesn’t come from what we do, but more from how we react to what we do. We contract or tense the diaphragm to protect ourselves, the tightness in the diaphragm creates restriction in the mid back and lower ribs through its fascial connections. Indeed, stress and tension can literally tie our fascia in knots anywhere in the body. As tension in the fascia escalates, it forces our muscles to tightly grip us to a point it’s nearly impossible to disentangle ourselves from it.  If the fascia can’t return to it normal liquid state, we end up with a lot of toxins in our muscles. One surgeon was quoted as saying, “on cutting into thickened fascia, a large of amount of pus gave way”..

Metaphysically, fascia dysfunctions can leave us feeling restricted, helpless, fearful, frozen, angry, frustrated, brittle. In many cases it’s as if we’re stuck and no matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to move forward. Fascia grips and hardens wherever we have repressed an emotion. Stiff or rigid muscles indicate stiff or rigid thought patterns.

Fascia restrictions can cause an individual to struggle with a lack of personal power, self love, self-worth, competency, resources (both time and money), and lack of support. The person may feel separated from the world as if they’re outsiders watching others live happy, healthy lives. S/He may feel resentment and frustration because they can’t seem to execute and manifest their desires and dreams. When the fascia contracts, our perception of the world is becomes confused, disoriented, we retreat inside with our emotions. When fascial dysfunctions affect home, or work, we may feel trapped, either in a negative relationship or bad job, and are afraid to take the steps necessary to change. When we’re in pain we tend to pull away from our bodies and have difficulty staying grounded in reality. When that happens we easily become overwhelmed by the demands of life; and see the world hostile and people unkind. We can’t understand why everyone can’t just get along and accept each other rather than causing conflict and creating emotional pain. Rather than going with the flow, we pull back; and rather than dealing with problems, we carry them around in the fascia and the muscles.

When the first chakra is disconnected from the feminine Earth, we can feel orphaned and motherless. The masculine principle predominates, and we look for security from material things. Individuality prevails over relationship, and selfish drives triumph over family, social and global responsibility. The more separated we become from the Earth, the more hostile we become to the feminine. We disown our passion, our creativity, and our sexuality. Eventually the Earth itself becomes a baneful place. I remember being told by a medicine woman in the Amazon, “Do you know why they are really cutting down the rain forest? Because it is wet and dark and tangled and feminine. ~ Alberto Villoldo

Resistance manifests in the fascia whenever there is fear, denial, withdrawal, or separation.  We experience it in the body as hard, dry, unyielding, crystallized…

“Yet resistance is a natural and unconscious reaction to change. To free ourself from its clutches, we simply need to acknowledge it as a part of the process of growth. When we have a context for accepting change, then resistance is acceptable. Within a spiritual context we embrace our negativity. We become our own best friends and allow our feelings to be what they are.” LIFE CHANGES WITH THE ENERGY OF THE CHAKRAS ~ Amika Wauters 

Let’s backup a bit and learn more about the fascia and its importance to the cellular function and function to the body…

“Fascia plays a vital role in the following functions: Cellular respiration; Elimination; Metabolism; Fluid and Lymph flow; Repair by deposition of repair tissue; Conversion of body heat; Fat storage; Cellular health and the immune system ~ Myofascial Release ~ Ruth Duncan

Many forms of healing help to reverse the hardening effects of the stress on your muscles and fascia tissue. With hands-on healing, areas of holding begin to soften. Fresh blood begins to flow where hardened muscles previously squeezed the blood flow out. Fascia tissue begins to separate from each other, calming the nervous system and relaxing the body/mind.

INTRODUCING THE FASCIA

It’s important we learn a bit about the fascia before exploring the many muscle groups of the body and their metaphysical meaning.  The fascia surrounds and embeds every living tissue, including all the muscles; without this 3 dimensional web, the body would quickly collapse.  There’s many web sites on the subject of the fascia if this introduction tweaks your interest…

If you’ve ever studied  the intricate web of a spider then you probably know its threads are woven from the inner vibration of the spider.  As the spider evolves, all that it has learned to survive is recorded and stored within its body.  Its web of life blends the past and present together attracting future events to come.  Without its web the spider could not survive.  It has become for the spider the visual point of the self, that continually evolves, disintegrates and then comes into being again.   A dynamic tapestry of energy, a universe within a universe never at rest but constantly sending and receiving even the most minute vibrations of its world.  It is and has become the instrument for the conscious expression of the spider.  A matrix of interlocking energies uniting the spiritual with the physical a powerful symbol of the creative spirit manifesting into form.

Just as the web is the foundation for the spider, so is the fascia system the matrix to the human body.  The purpose of fascia is to maintain our body shape and keep our organs in their proper place; It is a catalyst and one of many different sources of power to our bodies. Without it we could not survive.   It hugs our human form in a continuous web of threadlike energy which possesses 10 times more sensory nerve receptors than the muscles in our body, and has a signalling system very similar to that of the nervous system.  The fascia system is a totally integrated system in which every cell in the body is embedded in its structure .

“Research is revealing that the body is made up of unique molecular crystalline structures. These living structures can create, transmit, and receive biophotons to facilitate communication between tissues and molecules. This communication also relies upon a quantum field of biophotons. These two processes—the crystalline and the quantum—interact to spread information around the body.

This crystal matrix is critical for health, as it interconnects a person’s internal self with the environment. Light travels through the body’s crystal matrix into the DNA, which then produces “bio-holograms” that create the body. The most conductive light-matrix is the connective tissue, the largest organ in the body. The connective tissue is crystalline information;  the collagenous molecules that encase the organs are liquid crystals and the other, firmer tissues are considered solid crystals. The collagen molecules are also interesting in that they are semiconductors, able to convey electricity and information. The connective tissue can therefore process information just like the semiconductor chips in your computer.” The SUBTLE BODY: Cyndi Dale

If you can accept the concept that our bodies are like tiny microchips containing a library of  thousands of files  then you may also accept the theory that the fascia can store large amounts of information and arrange it in an infinite variety of ways—yet it isn’t that intelligent—that’s the brain’s role.  Its ability to retrieve information is quite miraculous and it can perform many complex operations in a twinkling of an eye. It is, an excellent record keeper of every injury, every memory (good and bad) that has had an emotional impact on our lives.  When we discover “balance” by learning the lesson, these events are no longer stored in the fascia where information would be pushed up for recognition.  Instead it is sent deep into our ‘energy systems’ for “reference”.

The fascia contains numerous cross energy currents, that needs to be moist to allow the free flow of energy. .It’s only been recent that we’ve begun to understand its intimate connection to the natural currents of the body. In different areas of the body, the fascia varies in thickness and strength, forming a shield of protection and location to the more delicate organs, like the spleen, liver, pancreas and gallbladder.

The fascia, also known as connective tissue is made up of three basic components: Elastin, Collagen, and a Ground Substance. Elastin, a fibrous substance, allows the fascia to be stretchy, flexible and expandable. When you think of elastin, think of an expanding and contracting elastic. Collagen another fibrous substance, allows the fascia to be strong, supportive and structural. Collagen gives fascia its strength and integrity. Blended in with, and in between, these fibrous elements is the ground substance. It is the gel or goo, so to speak, that allows the fascia great fluidity, in its normal state.

Apparently there are approximately 120 types of fascia found in every region of the body.  The abdominal area has may levels of fascia; in fact it has the greatest concentration of fascia in the body. Together the deep and superficial fascia hold our skin, muscles, bones, organs and systems together, offering them  a shield of protection and lubrication…certain areas hold stronger concentrations of energy..interconnected with all the inner workings of the body.

Habitual poor posture causes the fascia to bind down or clump together to support the pressure that’s been imposed on it. This causes the fascia to deform, creating an abnormal pull , which in turn worsens the condition. Because this imbalance occurs over a long period of time, We don’t usually realize it until the pain becomes excruciating.

“Fascia shrinks and toughens in response to any kind of stress; physical, environmental or psychological. When your posture closes for an extended period, pressure through the crystalline ground substance signals special cells within your fascia to produce more fiber. This causes overlapping fascial sheaths to adhere to one another. The knots we feel in our muscles when we are tense result when adjacent layers of fascia stick together. Chronic tension in the upper shoulders for example, causes fascia around the involved muscles to form adhesions that make it difficult to stretch out. “The New Rules of Posture: How to Sit, Stand and Move in the Modern World ~ by Mary Bond

“The long-term effects of stress on your body can be devastating. Not only are you plagued by an increase of stress hormones you also suffer from other aspects of the Fight or Flight Response. In Fight Response you hold on tightly. You tighten your muscles as if you were preparing to do battle with an enemy. If you remain frozen in this state of consciousness over time, your muscle tissue continues to shorten, harden, dry out and bond together. The fascia, or “connective tissue proper” as it is often called, forms layers around and between your muscles. When the muscles remain in a constant state of contraction, they bond together in a process called “hydrogen bonding.” Return to Nature: The Five Pillars of Healing ~ by Jon Burras

Fascia is designed to counteract stress by absorbing and distributing it along its entire network to maintain balance and to help reduce both physical and emotional trauma to the body. “Restrictions” of any nature can cause the fascia to shorten, solidify and thicken as it constantly tries to deal with stress and tension throughout its entire network. Because the fascia works as a complete network from head to toe, it effect and cause structural problems anywhere in the body.

“Over time, fascial restrictions insidiously spread like a pull in a sweater or stocking. Flexibility and spontaneity of movement are lost, setting t up the body for more trauma, pain and movement limitation. Although fascia is predominantly aligned top to toe, abnormal forces can cause it to twist and turn increasing the tensile force, pulling the body out of its three-dimensional alignment with the vertical gravitation axix. This results in biomechanical inefficiency and highly energy-consuming movement and posture (Barnes 1990). Deformation of tissues and the tensile force of the entire fascial unity can create pressure of up to 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain-sensitive structures (Katake 1961). MYOFASCIAL RELEASE ~ Ruth Duncan

It is important to know that restrictions in the fascia do not show up in any of the normal testings, such as CT scan, X-rays, myelograms, blood work etc.  This is why, for a long time, myofascial problems were misdiagnosed or completely ignored.

Imagining the fascia as liquid crystal flowing into every cell and nucleus in the body, we can sense its extreme sensitivity/receptivity to our insides and emotions. Metaphysically we know unexpressed emotions of the past can become locked in our tissues and organs; the fascia then would undoubtedly retain physical trauma, memories, scars, pain and stress. This ‘irritation’ also causes inner friction, reduced movement and restrictions in tissue growth. . All these can cause the fascia to tighten, becomes knotted, congested, sticky or brittle; not only is there restriction in the area of the injury; but also affecting other areas of the body.  This can cause layers of the fascia to become glued together restricting blood flow to joints, limiting nerve activity and muscle contractions. Movement would be more painful, putting us in a holding pattern that affects the body, mind and emotions. Because the fascia is a web, like a spider’s web, a pull in any one part will cause a reverberation through the entire system.

“Because the fascia connects to all body regions, adhesions in one place can create strain in distant areas. A stiff knee can derive from restricted fascial organization in a foot or hip, from adhesions around digestive organs, or even from imbalanced head position due to hearing loss in one ear. Any immobilized region tugs on distant strands of the holistic fabric, distorting the entire organ of posture.” The New Rules of Posture: How to Sit, Stand and Move in the Modern World ~ by Mary Bond

As well, the fascia is a web or tapestry of family threads, inborn traits and emotional memories. The emotional pain originates early in childhood when the unconditional love that the child needs is not received. The parents usually mean well but their love wasn’t freely given, because they’ve were hiding from their own emotional pain. Not only are they afraid of showing emotions, they’re also afraid of feeling them. This emotional suppression tightens the threads of fascia in a stranglehold and the individual looks like they’re sitting on a time-bomb of sadness, anger and fear, which either explodes, or trickles out in states of moodiness.

If we try to avoid or deny we’re suffering, most of the time it becomes more intense, often showing up in different areas of our bodies with increasing vengeance.

“Copper wire is a well-known conductor of electricity. If copper wire becomes twisted or crushed, it loses its ability to conduct energy properly. It is thought that the fascia may act like copper wire when it becomes restricted through trauma, inflammatory processes, or poor posture over time. Then its ability to conduct the body’s bioelectricity seems to be diminished, setting structural compensations and, ultimately, symptoms or restrictions of motion.” Treatment of Chronic Pain by Integrative Approaches: ~ by Albert L.Ray 

HEALING THE FASCIA/MYOFASCIA

MYO means ‘muscle’, and fascia means ‘tissue’.  We already know the fascia or connective tissue is a continuous web-like three dimensional structure that intertwines, surrounds and supports every muscle and cell in the body.  The term myofascia, refers to both the muscle (myo) and its ‘fascia’ as a single unit.

In truth, when we move, we are mostly feeling this through the fascia layers and not so much our muscles. The fluidity of the fascia allows to the muscles to slide and glide through, next to and across one another. Even when the mind is going through all ups and downs of glory and defeat, your fascia is going through a thousand details (involuntarily) before you move a single muscle.  So even though your body hasn’t performed a task, the fascia is working hard at fighting and resisting your perceived circumstances.  In truth, it shouldn’t be fighting at all!

There are several modes of healing that aim to release tightness in muscles by stretching tight bands of fascia in the muscles and skin. Myofascial Release, Bowen Therapy, Reiki, Quantum Healing, Shiatsu, Acupuncture, Acupressure are designed to release chronically shortened muscle fibers through hands-on-healing and slow stretching.

“Shiatsu as ‘bodywork’ is distinguished by pressure, which has a specific effect on the connective tissue….body tissue which have become congested, brittle or poorly circulated can rapidly regain hydration and flexibility through the application of pressure…and a better connection in communication throughout the cells of the whole body (piezoelectricity).  SHIATSU THEORY AND PRACTICE ~ Carola Beresford-Cooke

~ to be continued….

Great Links

Excellent  article on the fascia https://chirobeans.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/fascia-havent-you-heard-everyones-talking-about-it/

This is a great site on the fascia http://www.selfcare4rsi.com/fascia.html

Fascia ~ Strolling Under the Skin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW0lvOVKDxE

TV Documentary on the Fascia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIFDwDdGnhQ

ravenstarshealingroom@gmail.com

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EMOTIONAL BURDENS ARE A MAJOR CAUSE OF BACK PROBLEMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PART ONE OF THIS SERIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

to be continued…..

ravenstarshealingroom@gmail.com

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You know what it’s like. You go to bed, tired and yet you lie there for hour upon hour, tossing and turning, trying desperately to go to sleep. The more you try to go to sleep the more sleep evades. When you finally drop off, it seems like only minutes before the alarm clock wakens you to face another day. Many of us are trapped on this merry-go-round of lack of sleep and mind/body exhaustion. The harder we try the more anxious we become. 

OR…maybe falling asleep when you go to bed isn’t the problem. The problem is, you’re always waking up like clockwork between 1:00 am and 3:00 am every morning. We may not realize it, but our bodies have many duties to perform while we are sleeping—between 1:00 and 3:00 am is when the liver rejuvenates itself—to do so, it needs glycogen. Glycogen is stored within the muscles and liver as a form of glucose; its role is to increase blood sugar levels in the body when they drop. Therefore, it’s possible waking up at 3:00 am every morning is an indicator of low blood sugar, which causes our cortisol levels to spike.

 (As blood sugar drops it’s the liver’s job to make glucagon, a substance that triggers the breakdown of ‘complex carbohydrates’ glycogen into glucose or blood sugar.   The glucose then streams out into the blood, raising the sugar level again. If a person’s blood sugar is unstable, leading towards hypoglycemia then psychologically there’s a problem with the liver, such as a loss of stamina fatigue and quick to anger. Frustration, anger, resentment, emotional turmoil and repressed emotions can all lead to the stagnation of chi or life-force energy, when this happens our blood circulation is affected and can cause us to suddenly wake-up from a deep sleep.) More on the liver later in the article…

“Have you just lost your job? Has your rent increased unexpectedly? Have you lost a loved one. Has your reputation been tarnished? Did you think you’d be further along in life by now? If so you are probably blaming yourself for not being more in control! Any and all of these so-called setbacks teach us that we cannot control the change in our lives, we can only control how we handle that change.” When Life Changes Or You Wish It Would ~ Carol Adrienne

How well you sleep affects how you feel both physically and mentally—sleep affects how you behave, how well you handle the ordinary stress of life, how well you can get along with other people, and how happy and productive you are. If you are waking up feeling deprived of sleep and drag through the day in an irritable fog, then you have a sleep problem—regardless of the number of hours you spend in bed with your eyes closed.

METAPHYSICAL CAUSES OF INSOMNIA

Major life changes can cause insomnia, such as the loss of a job, financial setback, serious illness, divorce or the death of someone dear.   All these come at a time when we must face certain pain or self-concepts we’ve pushed down into our subconscious.   When we have suffered defeat, setbacks and other losses we are called to deal with painful unresolved personal issues. We are forced to confront our fears about ourselves—fears that have been ignored and rejected. Shame or fear has so much power our former self has little value at the moment.

“Insomnia (long-term)—Inability to relax. Feeling unsafe and unable to let go. Worrying, playing things over in your mind, dissecting situations. Feeling scattered, fearful, anxious, on guard. Harboring feelings of guilt and resentment.” The Secret Language of Physical Ailments ~ Inna Segal

Most people who suffer from sleeplessness have tremendous energy but they frit it all away in a hyperactive kind of way. When tensions accumulate, chronic insomniacs work harder to repress their growing emotional pain and anxiety. In a sense they’re trying to distract themselves so their attention stays occupied—the problem is they pump out more and more energy, becoming more anxious—in a frustrating way.   Most insomniacs are gifted and intelligent but they do not stay with something long enough as they get bored easily and move on to something new. Without much sleep, concentration and focus become increasingly difficult for them and all those great ideas they’ve thought of aren’t always followed through.

Excess touches every area of their lives, including measures to protect their health, which is very important to them. The problem is, they will try everything in their pursuit to happiness—unfortunately this throws the pendulum the other way—they become unhappier—which causes more anxiety. The more anxious they become, the more they lose energy; the lower their energy the more they experience fear and the cycle starts all over again. Anxiety and tension is a downward spiral fueled by fear and lacks conscious understanding.

“Insomnia is defined as chronic sleeplessness, or sleep deficient in either quantity or quality. Psychological studies have proven that insomniacs are generally emotional and anxiety-ridden. If you suffer from frequent insomnia, your sleeplessness probably reflects restlessness in your waking life. You are trying to stay awake so that you will resolve the issues that are preoccupying you. Once you understand that sleep brings comfort and solutions, you will find you are determined to settle the unrest in your life.” Your Body’s Telling You: Love Yourself ~ Lise Bourbeau

We all have our little quirks of habits and behaviors that we know we’d be better off without. We all wish we had more self-control, but when thoughts spin out of control, and become so intense, they take over, against our will. When logic can’t get a grip on something, we go into a tizzy and when this happens our intuitive side is unable to grab the attention of our conscious or unconscious minds.

I’ve noticed many insomniacs become deeply upset over people’s lack of awareness and consideration. They become disturbed by actions that dishonor or destroy life: actions that cause harm to animals, people, and the planet. According to many insomniacs, there should not be war, violence, poverty or starvation on the planet. People should not be hurting or killing one another and some feel the world is dark and hostile. For this reason, they become reclusive, while others become angry, frustrated or turn to drugs or alcohol which causes them to become even more lost, confused, depressed and sleepless.

 “Insomnia is associated with feelings of fear and guilt and not trusting the process of life. If you have trouble with insomnia coupled with anxiety, you can calm your nerves and sleep better with the affirmation “I lovingly release the day and slip into peaceful sleep, knowing tomorrow will take of itself.” All is Well, Heal Your Body with Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition ~ Louise Hay, Mona Lisa Schulz

Some insomniacs tend to be quiet and shy on the outside while a great deal of inner processing is mentally going on inside. They’re afraid to open up to others and enjoy their privacy (doing intellectual pursuits such as reading, studying, learning) and withdraw from crowds and social settings. But they know on a deep level, they need to mingle with people. They just don’t know how.

WHAT IF….INSOMNIA IS CAUSED BY SOMETHING ELSE?

When suffering chronic insomnia, what else could be going on that we aren’t aware of? Of course if we’ve been so stressed out for most of the day, it’s natural if we’ve found no other outlet to get rid of this excess energy it will still be there when we try to fall asleep. And of course anxiety so extreme will make us more tense and angry about not getting sleep. Anxiety appears in 100’s of disguises and the more tense and angry we get, the more cortisol our body will produce.

If the body is tired, the energy we get from food will not be absorbed or circulated in the tissues properly. Although it is true that the nervous systems relies upon the breakdown of glucose for energy, its ability to function properly will also affected by the kinds of foods (fuel) being utilized in other tissues of the body. Hormones, like the rest of our bodies are created from the food we eat. In order to create all the hormones we need, we have to get enough of the nutrients they’re actually composed, and to make the necessary enzymes to affect the production, metabolism and functioning of our hormones. We can’t do that as well if we’re sleep deprived.

The hormones we’re concerned about in regard to insomnia, is stress hormones that cause too much of an inflammatory response to the body—increasing heart rate, constricting blood vessels and diverting blood blow from the stomach and digestive tract. These stress hormones, in particular cortisol, are secreted from the adrenal glands when we are frightened or in pain but can also occur when we’ve been highly stimulated by ‘too much of a good thing”. Too much stress can cause disease but it can also be caused by disease which means stress is not just psychologically based.

When we are under an enormous amount of stress it also weakens our mental processes. When we are under stress, cortisol levels rise and testosterone levels decrease in both men and women. DHEA, a hormone critical for brain and immune function is also suppressed under great stress. You can have your DHEA levels tested and if low, you can supplement with DHEA, as well as 5HTP and this should improve your sleep quality and protect the brain from excess cortisol, mental clarity and energy returned.

Hypothyroidism and hormonal changes that come with PMS and menopause are strong factors that induce brain fog in women. Children and adults who have experienced injuries to the head and neck can also experience symptoms of brain fog. Poor diet, hypoglycemia, metabolic deficiencies and infections also have a significant role in brain fog.

Calcium is essential for the relaxation of nerve tissue, whereas magnesium is very important in the normal function of the brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves. Our average daily intake of magnesium appears to be only half the adult requirement. Many don’t know that alcohol causes a high loss of magnesium, nervousness resulting from this is a common symptom among social drinkers. Magnesium deficiencies are also produced by meals made of ‘enriched’ white bread, macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, tapioca, sugar, honey and hydrogenated fats…this can cause insomnia as these foods cause a cortisol overload making us feel high strung and unable to sleep.

“The idea that stress is completely psychological is not scientifically accurate and it ignores the significant role of internal inflammation as a cause of imbalance in our stress-hormone levels. You see, the hormone that our body secretes in times of stress is the same hormone it uses to resolve inflammation. This hormone, called cortisol, is secreted by our adrenal glands. The irony in this is that taking anti-inflammatory medications – your average everyday painkillers – causes intestinal-tract inflammation by inhibiting the enzymes necessary for the intestinal tract to replenish and repair itself, and eventually can lead to chronic inflammation. The overuse of antibiotics can also cause intestinal-tract damage, and the average, imbalanced American diet of processed foods, fast foods, caffeine, and alcohol also contributes to intestinal-tract inflammation as well as systemic inflammation in our bodies.” THE STRESS EFFECT ~ Richard Weinstein, D.C.

Since every aspect of our lifestyle can affect every aspect of our lives’ for instance the food we eat, the stresses and chemical pollutants that get in our bodies, we need to look at any unusual mental and emotional reactions in regard to a person’s health:

  • 1) Food intolerances can strongly affect our emotions
  • 2) Airborne chemicals can affect the body’s tissues, such as: pollutants, drugs, allergies or infections;
  • 3) Stress creates a erratic nervous system or brain;
  • 4) Lack of sufficient sleep will deprive us of the body’s ability to repair tissue, necessary to restore the cells’ normal ability to create energy.

 “The connective tissue of the body undergoes a daily repair process that occurs while we are sleeping. A consistent pattern of insomnia inhibits the ability of these tissues to heal, and the likelihood of achieving joint stability is greatly reduced. And not only is it the connective tissue of joints that are of concern, but…also the intestinal-tract lining and other tissues of the body that are not repaired if we are not sleeping.” THE STRESS EFFECT ~ Richard Weinstein, D.C.

RESTLESS SLEEP

Whenever we feel trapped in a situation, we may either lie awake night at night, churning with anger or anxiety or sleep 12 hours a day without ever feeling rest. Do you feel pressured, impatient, waiting for things to get better? Or are you bursting with ideas and wanting to do everything yesterday.   When you lie down does it feel like your body is rushing out of control? Do you suffer from weather/time changes, depression or anxiety, external noises, extremes in temperature, emotional or physical pain? Then chances are, you may suffer from a restless sleep or wake in the early hours and can’t get back to sleep.

I don’t think there is a human on this planet that hasn’t suffered from insomnia in one way or another. It could be those nights when you had to sleep alone, or the neighbors dog keeps barking; too many dreams or nightmares created a restless sleep and of course jet lag and problems sleeping in a different bed.

Approximately one out of three people will report having some problem falling asleep, and because most of us have insomnia in times of stress, sleeplessness is usually known to be “in the mind.” When your conscious mind is full of fear, worry, and anxiety, negative emotions that lay repressed are released in your subconscious mind. They flood the conscious mind with a sense of panic, foreboding and despair—their purpose—to instill fear.

“Fear is anxiety, nervousness, a sense of inadequacy, fidgeting, experiencing terror. You have fears that you can prop up with logic, like fear of losing your job, losing your property, embarrassing yourself in front of others, or fear of harm coming to the people, animals, landscape, and things you love. You can provide reasons why these fears are valid and people understand. Yet sometimes your fear doesn’t have any reason. It comes out of nowhere. It just hits you.

 The function of fear is to frighten you. That’s its job. When it does its job, you lose your strength. You lose a sense of humor and playfulness. There is no lightness or joy in your system anymore. Your inner posture crumbles. You feel you don’t have the resources you need and you can’t improvise.” Awake Mind, Open Heart ~ Cynthia Kneen

WHEN RELAXING IS UNRELAXING

Some of us get tense when we try to relax. Just the thought of letting go makes us restless, uptight or upset to the point of crying. Are you so intent on maintaining control that you can’t relax?

 “Sleep is a natural process, and “trying” will have no positive effect. Trying will probably aggravate the insomnia, because the harder you try and the less successful you are, the more frustrating the whole enterprise becomes.

 There’s a very profound reason for this: Trying is not the way nature functions. The Earth doesn’t try to go around the sun, nor does the seed try to sprout into a sapling. Nature functions with effortless ease, invariably taking the path of least resistance. This is the principle of least action and maximum efficiency, and it’s the one to use when we want to fall asleep.

 There, the attitude you should adopt once you’ve gotten into bed is that which I call “not minding.” The key to achieving this frame of mind is a total lack of self-consciousness. In other words, don’t watch yourself, don’t monitor yourself, don’t become a commentator on your dilemma, and above all, don’t keep looking at the clock.

 Instead, just rest comfortably, not minding, and use this attitude as a way of placing yourself in nature’s hands. Simply lie in bed with your eyes closed, not mind whether you’re awake or asleep. The mere act of remaining motionless with your eyes closed, even if you’re feeling anxious or restless, actually provides the body with significant benefits.” Restful Sleep: The complete Mind/Body Program for Overcoming Insomnia

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS THAT ARE KNOWN TO DISRUPT SLEEP

Most people with an autoimmune disease have hyperactive rather than low immune function. This would explain why many have stuffy noses, multiple allergies and unpredictable reactions to prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, and symptoms that change rapidly over time.

Other culprits include, caffeine, alcohol, and medications as well as erratic hours—a fast paced social life or frequent job-shift changes. A few insomniacs are simply five or six hour sleepers, but constant stress and worrying can easily raise it to eight hours a night.

Insomnia can be caused from physical ailments such as allergies, anemia, apnea, body pain (e.g., chronic fatigue, diabetes, arthritis, spinal stenosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, etc.), bruxism (grinding teeth) headaches, IBS, hypoglycemia, hyper/hypothyroidism, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, menstrual pain, etc…. Taking sleeping pills may actually aggravate some of these disorders, particularly sleep apnea a potentially life-threatening interruption in sleeping.

Of the many sleep-disturbing problems, there is a condition known as “Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) If you sleep alone or with someone who sleeps soundly, you may not know that you have it, and may need to have a session in a sleep lab to determine if you have OSA or not.

When we sleep not only do our muscles relax but so do those of the throat. As the throat muscles relax, the air passages narrow. If they narrow enough so that the walls touch, air passing through will cause the walls to vibrate. Snoring usually results but in some people the narrowing is so extensive that the airway walls collapse completely. No air can get through, so the sleep returns to a higher level of sleep; muscle tone increases, the airway opens, and the sleeper, draws a breath. But for some this is a scary experience as they feel a choking sensation and try to inhale but their throat is closed up.

People with OSA breath intermittently when they sleep and that is why they sleep so lightly and hardly ever experience deeper sleep. As a result, they suffer from sleep deprivation and are exhausted during the day. If you think you have it, you should contact your doctor as OSA is very treatable.

Sometimes autoimmune diseases, are hyperactive rather than a low immune function. This would explain why these people can’t sleep as many suffer from stuffy noses, multiple allergies and unpredictable reactions to prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, and symptoms that change rapidly over time.

CORTISOL OVERLOAD

 “There is a daily cyclical rise and fall of cortisol levels that govern our wakefulness throughout the day and night. Cortisol is excitatory; it arouses us and wakes us up. Blood levels of cortisol have been shown to increase between 50 and 160 percent within thirty minutes of waking; that produces the powerful jolt of arousal needed to wake us up and get us moving in the morning. Then cortisol levels decline as the day wears on and reach their lowest point in the evening, allowing us to rest, relax and sleep.”The Insomnia Solution: The Natural, Drug-Free Way to a Good Night’s Sleep ~ Michael Krugman

Whenever our blood sugars drop below normal, (hypoglycemia) the body reacts by sending the stress alarm off. When this happens, the hypothalamus, in the brain, signals the nervous system to send you sugar—fast! Your sympathetic nervous system goes into high gear. Cortisol, is secreted by the adrenal glands which are located atop the kidneys. When cortisol peaks, it brings you to a higher state of awareness and when it does that, while you’re sleeping, it’s going to wake you up!

Is insomnia emotionally based or could there be other chemical or physical problems within the body causing your sleeplessness. Cortisol imbalances have been linked to obesity, diabetes, depression, heart disease, insomnia, autoimmune diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid disorders, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome and even osteoporosis. Cortisol also causes an array of symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, fatigue, mental confusion, irritability, nervousness, poor concentration, muscle aches, heart palpitations, sweating, and a whole lot more.

The body is governed by a highly complex network of endocrine glands and energy fields; these energy fields working together as one unique powerful system affecting us spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.   So in truth the potential for breakdown is limitless. Everything that affects the body affects the mind and everything that affects the mind, affects the body.

Many health ailments that crop up later in our lives usually have to do with painful memory patterns programmed in our cells that make our bodies tense and in an up-tight survival mode—unable to stay in the present our minds jump back and forth between the past and the future, forcing adrenaline to start racing through our bodies. Under this intense stress, our bodies release ten times the amount of norepinephrine (cortisol) and epinephrine (adrenaline). These two stress hormones deeply affect our sleep quality; causing our minds, like virtual hurricanes, to spin out of control. For some insomniacs the culprit could be a compromised immune system (autoimmune disease) or other factors such as a car accident or some kind of emotional trauma that’s upset the body clock.

CORTISOL IMPACTS THE LIVER

Cortisol does have a huge impact on the liver, which has an important role in regulating blood sugars and removing toxic substances from your bloodstream. If the liver can’t function at its best, it gets weary and tired. Not only is it the breeding ground for negative thoughts and feelings, it physically affects the blood, the immune system and your ability to fight infections.

“The functioning of the liver is very involved in addiction behavior, whether the addiction be to food, alcohol or drugs, as it is the liver that removes toxins from the blood and deals with th excess fat and sugar intake.   The emotional tension that gives rise to the need for release through an addiction is felt here, as this tension may be based on anger and resent (towards the world, or towards specific individuals). Often the toxins are ingested through the addiction as a way of hiding from those toxins already in our system: hate, frustration, rage, incompetence, self-dislike, hurt, greed and a need for power. By taking in external toxins we do not have to admit to, or face up to, what is already inside us.

 The liver is closely connected to the third chakra, that which focuses on power and self identity. By transforming these qualities we are able to rise above them to the highest levels.   But it can be just as easy to become a victim of these energies as it can be difficult to transform them. The liver then reflects the anger and confusion experienced in trying to find ourselves and our purpose.” Deb Shapiro The BodyMind Workbook

The liver, the largest organ in the body, is responsible for up to 500 different vital functions. Not only does it govern the secretion of bile, the formation of blood, and the production of heat, it provides muscle fuel (glycogen), processes dietary fats and manufactures vitamin A. The liver also creates and stores amino acids, proteins, fats and cholesterol, which are used in the creation of hormones. It also

deals with detoxification; so important is this process that if caffeine or certain drugs were injected into ‘exit’ vessels leading to the heart, we would be dead within minutes. Inject them into the ‘entrance’ vessels of the liver, and the ‘sting’ is extracted within six to ten seconds—the time it takes for the blood to pass through the organ. The liver is the only organ that has the ability to regenerate itself, so it is appropriate that it’s known as the organ of Spring, which is all about rebirth and new life.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) The liver meridian starts at the big toe and travels up the leg, circles the sexual organs and enters the lower abdomen…it then connects with the liver and gallbladder, moves up the lungs, curves around the mouth and then branches out to each eye. “If you consistently wake up between 1:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., this may indicate liver toxicity or a congested liver, as these are the hours when the liver is most active”. FAT LOSS REVOLUTION ~ Paula Owens … also many woman wake up sweating during this time due to menopausal symptoms.

The liver represents our deeper self and emotions. It’s involved with family affairs; our health and it takes part in every battle, especially excessive ones. When it is affected, our whole body becomes congested and sensitive. Do you suffer shoulder pain?   The liver is linked, especially to the right shoulder via the nervous system…it’s also linked to the elbow. This is one of the ways it communicates to us through the body.

The liver is known as the receptor of family guilt and the concerns of our deeper self. Depending on our genes and poor eating habits the liver will set off specific attitudes and emotional reactions. It houses all our memories, emotions, pitfalls, death of loved ones, illnesses, etc.,   It can cause doubt and uncertainty about our life and lean us more to the past then to the future. It affects our self esteem and the ground we stand on.

The gallbladder meridian starts at the outer corner of the eye, goes to the ear, runs back and forth over the scalp and then down the length of the body where it zig-zags at the hip, continues down the outside of the leg and ends between the fourth and fifth toes. The gallbladder meridian time is between 11:00 pm and 1:00 A.M., if balanced, we sleep soundly and undisturbed; unbalanced, we may suffer indigestion, migraines, tinnitus, hip, back or joint pain.

The gallbladder meridian is geared towards action. It gives to the body, flexibility, coordination and balance (see how it zig zags at the hip).   This meridian runs down the sides of the body so that whenever we lift one foot of the ground in walking and running, it supports the other side so we aren’t off balance. It also keeps the hips level, strengthens the shoulders and supports the sideways bending of the neck. The gallbladder meridian is one of the most powerful meridians in the body. .

I’ve included pictures of the gallbladder and liver meridians to help you see and understand how they both move within the body. Both of these meridians run down the sides of the body and the two sides reflect our ability to choose which way to turn. The liver energy gives us our ability to choose the direction we want to go and then to plan our action. Once the choice has been made, gallbladder energy gives us the capacity to carry it through. When the liver and gallbladder are in harmony, plans are made and followed through without much drama or fuss. But when the liver is unbalanced there may be lots of talk about plans without any action ever taken. Or we are so linear in our approach , there’s no room to be spontaneous or to think or plan ahead.

Pictures are from THE COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO REFLEXOLOGY ~ Inge Dougans

Liver Meridian Gallbladder meridian

THE ADRENAL GLANDS AND SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM

The adrenal system and the thyroid gland are dominated by the sympathetic nervous system, which is part of the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls our basic bodily functions like heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, hormonal balance and metabolism. The sympathetic nervous system is associated with stimulating hormones such as adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol (norepinephrine).   When this nervous system becomes active, the heart rate elevates, the heart rate increases as well as our circulation, oxygen supply, metabolism and energy. The sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive when we feel threatened or feel we are really in danger, such as being confronted by a mugger on a dark street.

Many people with adrenal fatigue try to keep their energy levels up by eating junk food and refined sugars to give them a jolt. Others try to boost their energy by exercising to give them a temporary energy surge which helps to release endorphins. But what goes up must come down and this energy roller coaster just makes adrenal imbalance worse. Cortisol and insulin levels are intertwined—when cortisol rises, so does insulin and leptin and a whole cascade of hormones we’re just beginning to understand. The excessive stimulation of the HPA axis and cortisol production can artificially keep insulin levels high, causing weight gain and insulin resistance. Once cells are conditioned to be insulin or leptin resistant, it takes a big shift to restore metabolic balance.

The increase in cortisol released from the adrenal glands causes food cravings, especially for high-fat, high-sugar, high-carbohydrate foods such as cookies, candy, chips, and ice cream. Even though these foods act as a temporary mood “boost,” they in turn feed a vicious cycle, causing additional blood sugar problems, leading to swings in energy and blood sugar, which fuels the stress-cortisol release cycle. Eventually by stimulating excess insulin release, the body is driven to become more insulin resistant, and with more insulin resistance, more fat is stored than the body needs.

The parasympathetic nervous system is part of the autonomic nervous system too and is associated with the body’s basic needs for, sleeping, relaxing, food absorption, sex and body repair. As we get older the parasympathetic nervous system weakens, leaving it harder for us to relax and get a good night’s sleep. One reason for this is the aggressive defense system of the hypothalamus located in the limbic brain. Known as the ‘seat of emotions’ the hypothalamus reads your emotional reactions to everything, real or imagined as an emotional war zone, especially when it believes your survival is being threatened. It communicates through thousands of nerve fibers to the master gland of the endocrine system, the pituitary. The pituitary reacts by telling the sympathetic nervous system to be on high alert. Your nerves on edge, you’re ready to respond to the fight/flight reflex.

When we wake up in the morning our sympathetic nervous system sends just enough cortisol to waken us and keep us awake. Most of us rush around like crazy to zoom out the door to get to work. If we could take a little time to be more loving to ourselves, e.g., showering longer, washing, shaving longer, lovingly combing our hair, meditating, walking in nature, etc. this stimulates a positive relaxing mood by activating the hormone’s dopamine and oxytocin in the brain. Release of oxytocin has a feedback effect…the more we take in and enjoy what’s around us, the more we’ll have enough ‘happy’ oxytocin in our blood for the whole day.   The more intense the emotional output of oxytocin in our blood, the longer and deeper it lasts, helping us to cope with the stresses of the day.

“Insomnia is the chronic inability to fall asleep or remain asleep for an adequate length of time (Dorland, 2003) There are three types of insomnia, conditioned insomnia, insomnia associated with clinical disorders, and circadian insomnia (Schenck, 2003). Conditioned insomnia is psychophysiological and arises from an episode of acute situational insomnia triggered by pain, illness, medication, stress, travel, or bereavement. The individual with conditioned insomnia associated the bed with not sleeping and becomes hyperaroused at night at a time when he/she would ordinarily feel relaxed and sleepy. Insomnia associated with clinical disorders is very common in psychiatric, particularly mood and anxiety disorders. Medical disorders and treatment most commonly associated with insomnia include asthma, chronic obstructive pulomary disease, congestive heart disease, gastroesophageal reflux, rheumatologic or other pain-related disorders, hyperthyroidism, renal disease, and neurodegenerative disorders (Schenck, 2003). Circadian rhythm sleep disorders result from a mismatch between the edogenous sleep and alertness rhythm and the desired (or required) time for sleep and wake (Schenck 2003).

THE PINEAL GLAND AND SLEEP

The pineal gland, within the brain is pea-sized, shaped like a pine cone and located in the center of the skull, between the ears and between the eyebrows. This endocrine gland secretes two important hormones, (melatonin and serotonin) through the body via the autonomic nervous system; it affects our metabolism, emotions, and moods of elation or depression. Serotonin and melatonin, govern our energy levels, mental activity, sleep patterns, hallucinations and dreams.

Some Autonomic Nervous System Disturbances

  • – breathing problems
  • – poor circulation
  • – palpitations
  • – bladder symptoms
  • – intestinal symptoms
  • – dizziness
  • – nausea
  • – vertigo (balance problems
  • – low blood pressure
  • – rapid heartbeat

The pineal gland is a biological clock and is highly sensitive to the phases of the Moon and even sunspot activity. The body operates on a 24 hour clock regulated by the sun controlling the release of and as darkness approaches the release of melatonin to make us feel drowsy, calm and sleepy. The release of melatonin is essential to keep our immune system strong; hence the healing process through sleep, whereas a lack of melatonin weakens the immune system and leads to deficiencies.

If we are deprived of light for a length of time, it can cause our biorhythms to change to a 25 hour cycle and coincide with the cycles of the moon instead of the sun. When a person is subjected to a permanently light environment their serotonin secretions will intensify to the point where they may become hyperactive, overly stressed and emotionally overwrought. The pineal gland naturally secretes serotonin when we’re eating and if we are tired or depressed, we can easily and readily consume 500 or more calories a day.   Hyperactivity and depression can also affect other endocrine glands and the whole immune system. Other releases of seratonin that can affect our sleep is the contraction of the intestinal muscles, over-excitement – butterflies in the stomach or the ‘gut’ reaction we often feel when scared or overwhelmed.

In periods of daylight the pineal gland’s release of serotonin and cortisol boosts our energy levels, intensifies emotions and induces a feeling of vitality. (We produce more cortisol in the summer than in winter months). During the autumn and winter periods we are more likely to feel ill, depressed or easily catch colds or the flu because of a lack of sunlight. People who live in darker countries far away from the equator are more prone to depressive illnesses and suicide. Between 6 and 10 percent of the North American population suffer season affective disorder (SAD)…..most SAD patients will respond to light treatment, however, a person subjected to extremely long periods of either lightness or darkness can become disoriented and manic.

“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

The brain is in charge of the endocrine glands and too much light or dark can affect our biological rhythms, our mood swings, stress levels, and reproductive cycles.

WHY IS SLEEP SO POWERFUL

There is no hard or fast rule concerning the amount of sleep one should have – provided that sleep, when it comes, is deep and undisturbed. You won’t be able to relax if you lie there watching the hands of the clock and worry there’s only a few hours left before it’s time to get up.

Getting quality sleep in a dark environment allows your body to release the hormone melatonin that once secreted, lowers body temperature by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This cooling allows the body to release its greatest concentration of growth hormone known as HGH, which helps to strengthen our bodies and repairs damaged tissue. HGH is only secreted during deep sleep—deep sleep activates the parasympathetic system (our ability to rest and digest) which helps to rebalance our system. giving the parasympathetic system—our ability to ‘rest and digest’ a chance to increase until it peaks which governs our ability to ‘rest and digest’ a chance to assert itself. In this way sleep moderates the effects of stress and switches the body into self-healing mode.

Sleep also prepares the brain to release endorphins and neuropetides to all the nerves, blood vessels, the heart, the lungs, the gastrointestinal tract, and all the other organs. HGH also instructs the body to burn stored fat but if we don’t get enough of this hormone, the body produces high levels of cortisol which is linked to more weight around the belly as well as a decreased metabolism.

What happens when we go to sleep? After about fifteen to thirty minutes we reach a stage of semi-consciousness (hypnagogic) which occurs between sleep and waking. Most of us think we’re still awake because we can think and hear noises but we are actually in a state of early sleep. Some people in the semi-conscious state have described seeing images of light flashes, sparks, geometric forms, faces, and even whole scenes. The experiences are vivid enough to seem real but most people reporting to have them, know the images came to them internally.

After a few more minutes from the semi-conscious state, we shift to a deeper sleep, our brain waves get slower and slower until after about 90 minutes, dreaming becomes possible. Then our bodies jerk mildly and our eyelids flutter.

The transformation that sleep brings to the body are quite obvious. We breathe more slowly, our eyeballs turn up and out, our fingers grow cold and our toes warm. Blood pressure falls rapidly and is lowest about three hours after the onset of sleep. Believe it or not, we actually change positions from 20 to 60 times during the night without even knowing it and every 90 minutes or so we may return to a semi conscious state for a brief while. Then slowly (unless something like an alarm clock disturbs the process) our sleep becomes lighter, Consciousness, flickers, fails again, flickers….and then we are awake.

Awakening, we’ll stretch and most likely yawn to inhale extra oxygen to lower the carbon dioxide in the body—this is usually because in sleep   we haven’t used our muscles. We might still feel tired, especially if our adrenalin is low;

REM AND NREM SLEEP

There are two types of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-dreaming sleep). Most dreams occur during REM sleep in the dreamtime stage, in which the cerebral cortex is active, muscle activity is inhibited, breathing and heartbeat are irregular and body temperature is less controlled.   During NREM sleep, the cerebral cortex is less active, muscles can move and fewer dreams are reported.

Our eyes move when we dream, as though we were looking around. As mentioned, our muscles move during REM sleep, make us almost paralyzed. If we move at all our movements look more like twitches rather than actual motions. Most of us have seen this behavior in our pets, whose dream states are very much like our own.

REM and NREM sleep alternate in cycles. Normally REM sleep occurs about every 90 minutes. Dream cycles are shorter during the night and longer toward dawn. You probably dream every night, but you don’t remember a dream unless you wake up from it. If you go right on sleeping, your dreams are forgotten. REM or dreaming sleep is the deepest stage and is important for the consolidation of memory and learning, as well as for sorting and storing information in the brain. It is generally thought that we need about 25 percent of our sleep to be in REM and the remainder in NREM. The lighter NREM sleep is important because it is only after a certain amount of nondreaming that we pass into REM sleep.   Without NREM sleep dreaming can’t occur.

“Since light, NREM Sleep is so important and since we can often think we are awake when in fact semiconscious, it is important not to force ourselves into full wakefulness during these periods of nondreaming sleep. Many people get out of bed, go to the bathroom, eat a snack, or watch TV–thinking they can’t sleep–when they were actually in a light sleep. But getting up usually brings them to a state of of real wakefulness. If instead they would just lie still and relax, realizing they were experiencing an important part of the sleep cycle, they would soon go back into a deep sleep again…

…If, out of frustration, we force ourselves to true wakefulness during these times, sleep will almost certainly be gone for the rest of the night. Our adrenalin arousal will see to that!” The Hidden Link Between Adrenalin and Stress ~ Dr. Archibald D. Hart

“BODY SCANNING

Close your eyes. Starting with your toes and moving up your body, ask yourself “Where am I tense?” Whenever you discover a tense area, exaggerate it slightly so you can become even more aware of it. Be aware of the muscles in your body that are tense. Then, for example, say to yourself “I am tensing my neck muscles .. I am hurting myself.. I am creating tension in my body.” Note that all muscular tension is self-produced. At this pint, be aware of any life situation that may be causing the tension in your body and think what you could do to change that.” The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook ~ Martha David, Ph.D., Elisabeth Robbins Eshelman, MSW, Matthew McKay, Ph.D

PART II ~ INSOMNIA ~ RULES FOR BETTER SLEEP

Many of us don’t need 8 hours sleep and yet some of us need more.  When we’re wanting to develop good sleep habits, the first thing you need to know is just how much you sleep you really need.  After 6 or 7 hours of sleep can you function through the day?  Are your energy levels still good in the afternoon or are you gravitating towards a coffee or sugar to keep yourself awake. Try to notice how much sleep makes you feel alive and with the ability to function at your best.

To help improve your sleep, try to go to bed and get up at the same every day.  Building a regular sleep routine will become automatic and a good habit to instil your own body’s inner clock.

Turning down the lights earlier in the evening, helps the brain to produce a very important hormone for sleep, called melatonin. Dimming of the lights messages the body that darkness is approaching and makes us sleepy, preparing us for sleep; this also helps to lower adrenaline levels. As mentioned earlier, The release of melatonin is essential to keep our immune system healthy, hence the healing process through sleep, whereas a lack of melatonin weakens the immune system and leads to deficiencies.

Create a comfortable, quiet, uncluttered dark room for sleeping.  Anything in your energy field affects the quality of your sleep, so resist the temptation to stash junk under your bed. Also stale energy hands around dirty laundry, so never keep a laundry basket in the bedroom and be sure to change the bedsheets at least once a week to keep your energy vital and fresh.

If you have a computer in your bedroom there are downloadable programs that tunes out the screen of your computer/tablet at night so their light aren’t in the range that tells the brain it’s wake up time.

Eating a bit of protein as a snack may help you sleep through the night. Bananas may be your choice as they are starchy and rich in melatonin.

“One of food’s best sleeping pills is something sweet or starchy…if falling asleep or staying asleep is a problem, try eating an ounce of so of sweet (pure honey) or starchy stuff (bananas, oatmeal) a half an hour before going to bed. ~Jean Carper ~ Food Your Miracle Medicine

Avoid drinking alcohol, caffeine, or eating spicy or greasy foods before going to sleep.  All these make us more tense and adrenally aroused, interfering with our normal sleep patterns.

Do not force yourself to sleep.  Falling asleep is a natural process and forcing sleep only frustrates you further and causes more adrenalin to be pumped into your body.

You should have a quiet place for sleep.  If you live in a noisy environment, like in the down-town core, you may want to invest in a set of earplugs.  They’re easy to use and effectively shut out the noise. You’ll also sleep deeper and more peaceful if your brain doesn’t have to block out background noises.

Exercise regularly, just not before going to bed.  Exercise helps to release a surplus of adrenaline, release muscular tension, ventilate the lungs and helps to slow down the body that helps us to sleep.

Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Make your bedroom sleep friendly. Keep the noise down. Keep your room cool. Make sure your bed is comfortable. Create relaxing bedtime rituals like reading a book, taking a warm bath, listening to soft music or make simple preparations for the next day.

Use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualizing a peaceful restful place.  Practice mind-control relaxation by listening to a soothing CD playing in the background to help you relax.

Find ways to get back to sleep. Stay out of your head. Focus on the feelings and sensations in your body. Make relaxation your goal, not sleep. Do quiet, non-stimulating activities such as reading a book, but keep the lights dim. Don’t let your mind worry or start brainstorming about tomorrow.  If something pops in your mind, keep a small note-pad by your bed and make a brief note of it to get it off your mind.

SUPPLEMENTS

5-HTP (Tryptophan) is an essential amino acid able to ‘manufacture serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps to lift depression and is very useful for people who have a difficult time staying asleep through the night.  Bananas are a good source L-tryptophan and simple carbohydrates. L-tryptophan is an amino acid, and it gets converted to 5HTP in the brain, which again gets converted to serotonin (a calming neurotransmitter) which again gets converted to melatonin (which is the natural controller of hormonal rythms in the body, especially sleep). A night-time dose to help you sleep through the night is between 50 to 200 mg. 5-HTP has been found to be safe up to 300 mg.

Tryptophan converts to niacin before finally becoming serotonin.  If your body is deficient in niacin, it can cause nervous disorders, such as: depression, mental dullness, confusion, forgetfulness, disorientation, hallucination, insomnia, and nausea.

Taurine is another calming amino acid that helps to suppress the release of excitatory neurotransmitters like norepinephrine. Taurine acts like a light tranquillizer throughout the whole body.  It is found in large amounts in the central nervous system and the heart.  Taurine is vital to the proper utilization of sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium, and has a protective effect upon the brain.

When we are under an enormous amount of stress it also weakens our mental processes.  When we are under stress, cortisol levels rise and testosterone levels decrease in both men and women. DHEA, a hormone critical for brain and immune function is also suppressed under great stress.  You can have your DHEA levels tested and if low, you can supplement with DHEA, as well as 5HTP and this should improve your sleep quality and protect the brain from excess cortisol, mental clarity and energy returned.

insomnia can be caused by a lack of thiamine which works with the nervous system.  When there is a lack of thiamine, it can indicate mental attitudes and inflexible attitudes as well has worrying, nervousness, tension and the inability to relax.  A thiamine deficiency may also lower the amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach—when this happens food is only semi-digested so that when bile is poured into the duodenum it cannot properly break down the fats.

Chamomile – a member of the daisy family, tea made from this herb has a mild sedative affect.

Kava Kava – relieves anxiety and stress ~ should not be taken long-term as it may cause allergic reactions, visual disturbance and liver toxicity.

St. John’s Wort – treats mild to moderate depression. Side effects include weight gain and sensitivity to light.  This herb increases serotonin levels in the brain and should not be taken with SSRIs (Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, etc.)

Valerian – an effective stress reducer and sedative

Hops – this herb is a distant relative to marijuana and is a good remedy for anxiety and insomnia.  Some companies combine hops with valerian root as the two herbs synergistically work together.

Passion Flower – is known to reduce anxiety, insomnia and high blood pressure.

Links

http://www.hydroholistic.com/blog/cleansing/10-reasons-to-do-a-liver-gallbladder-flush/

http://www.drjustingallantnd.com/2/post/2014/02/why-do-i-wake-up-between-1am-and-3am.html

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757?linkId=12970216

http://www.rejuvinstitute.com/why-do-i-always-wake-up-at-3am#.VTOFOSFVikp

http://www.vitalitymagazine.com/article/kicking-the-sugar-habit/

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/carbohydrates_and_the_glycaemic_index?open

Spring cleaning (Liver and Gallbladder)  http://www.treatrootcause.com/spring-clean-your-acupuncture-meridians/

Nourishing the liver  http://nourishedmagazine.com.au/blog/articles/nourishing-the-liver

Herbs and natural remedies for insomnia http://www.christopherhobbs.com/library/articles-on-herbs-and-health/herbs-and-natural-remedies-for-insomnia/

Treat insomnia with Herbs http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/08/23/is-this-one-of-natures-simple-answer-to-sleepless-nights.aspx

Natural Cures by Dr. Weil http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02037/sleep-aid

14 Naturally Remedies for Insomnia http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/conditionsitoq/a/Insomnia.htm

To be continued….

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Psoriasis is believed to be an autoimmune disorder, caused by too many ‘excited’ T-cells being produced in the skin. T cells perform many tasks in the body, including recognizing and destroying different antigens in the body. All this is done to keep the blood clean and free of debris. Normally these are cleared from the body as the blood flows through the liver.  In fact, our bodies house several organs (intestines, kidneys, liver, lungs, skin) that help detoxify and remove harmful toxins.  When these get backed up they interfere with the body’s main plumbing system, the lymphatic system.

“The lymphatic system includes lymph vessels and nodes, thymus gland, tonsils and spleen. It’s really a network of tubing that drains waste products from tissues, produces disease-fighting white blood cells (lymphocytes) and antibodies, and carries the bulk of the body’s waste from the cells to the final elimination organs. Experts call the lymphatic system a secondary circulatory system, because it assists the bloodstream with millions of tiny ducts that collect tissue fluid not needed by the capillaries or skin and returns it to the heart for recirculation, because special filtering lymph nodes remove infective organisms, so your lymph system is also a key to your body’s immune defenses. 

Liver health is a key to lymphatic health. The liver produces the majority of lymph, and lymph a major route for nutrients from  the liver. The integrity of the lymph system is dependent on immune cells in the liver that filter out harmful bacteria and destructive yeasts .….. The valves of the lymph system move the waste-filled fluids to be flushed and filtered. But since there is no pump as there is with the heart, lymph circulation depends solely upon our breathing and muscle movement. Physical exercise and diaphragmatic deep breathing are critical to lymph cleansing and to healthy immune response.” Linda Page ~ Detoxification: Programs to Cleanse, Purify & Renew

The normal life expectancy of an average skin cell is approximately 28 days (curiously this coincides with the cycle of the Moon) but with psoriasis sufferers their immune system is so hyperactive, that cytokines cause the skin cells to produce way too quickly, maturing in as little as three to six days before shedding off the surface of the skin. As all this is happening, a good deal energy has been diverted from other parts of the body to focus on the skin.  This may be why certain areas of the body are comprised—psoriasis has been linked with candida, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, and high cholesterol—all inflammatory conditions.

WHAT IS PSORIASIS

Psoriasis (Heat in the Blood) is a chronic, inflammatory disease that can take on the colors of fire-engine red, pale pink or even purplish.  Reproducing ten times faster than normal skin, it appears as red scaly patches of skin topped by silvery scales that appear on different parts of the body such as the elbow, knees, scalp, back and other places too.  In the beginning patches may be small then increase in size and number.   Some food triggers for psoriasis are: alcohol, tobacco, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, hot peppers and excessive coffee.

Psoriasis is sometimes combined with arthritis, especially rheumatoid which has been referred to as psoriatic arthritis, but there are many other kinds of psoriasis—the most common is plaque psoriasis which we mentioned in the previous paragraph—other forms are:.

a)Guttate (dot like (teardrop) lesions) sometimes occurs after strep throat
b)Pustular (pustules over inflamed skin – localized, affecting palms of hands, soles of feet)
c) Inverse (intense inflammation and little scaling in body folds)
d) Erythrodermic (intense sloughing and inflammation of the skin)

“… psoriasis is an indication that you are uncomfortable in your own skin and have a desire to turn over a new leaf. You don’t feel recognized or acknowledged for who you really are and suffer from a degree of identity disorder wanting to take on a personality other than your own. You are having difficulty accepting who you are in this life. The message your body is sending you is that you need to love and accept yourself in all your humanness, with all the flaws, weaknesses, and fears as well as talents, abilities and tremendous potential you were given. Let go of your fear of rejection and stop being ashamed of yourself. Your Body is Telling You: Love Yourself ~ Lise Bourbeau

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory, hypersensitive, painful rash. Treatment involves detoxifying the internal organs, such as the liver, pancreas and intestines but also healing repressed emotions of pain, grief and unresolved trauma for a lasting cure. Known as a chronic nervous system infection, psoriasis thrives on chronic frustration and disappointment that becomes agitated and irritated when things aren’t going our way. Fearing that everything will fall apart, individuals with psoriasis experience rage over the loss of support and money. They’re anxious and nervous about life and relationships. When they’re afraid or feel they’re being attacked, their ‘startle reflex’ kicks in and they fight back with the exact same aggression they were confronted with.  Many times there’s a feeling of being taken advantage of and that others suck them dry of energy; they feel unplugged from their spiritual nature.

When psoriasis individuals are overwhelmed they’ll isolate themselves, and turn on themselves when they don’t meet their own expectations. They become judgmental and self-critical to the point of creating self-destructive behavior. They’re desperate to prove that they can succeed and manifest their dreams – and that they can do it without the help of anyone else, which is a real paradox because they want others to be there to help and support them.

“Constant interruptions and continuous phone calls, creates more tension in me than for many people I know.  Tension creates anxiety and anxiety creates tension..the problem for me is I have work to do and can’t find time to do it..all those constant interruptions…this was my rationalization but honestly I was avoiding the basic issue.  The real problem…I was feeling guilty and self-critical whenever I couldn’t accomplish my work. …This happened the other day, I planned my work for the day and wouldn’t you know it, nothing but interruptions ..the buzzer went, the phone kept ringing…staff popped in with something that couldn’t wait…my irritation mounted .. I had only accomplished a tiny percentage of the work I had given myself. Then someone walked in that I had totally forgotten I was to see and when she walked in I looked anxiously at all the unfinished work on my desk. I was friendly on the surface but below was an undercurrent of frustration…I knew she was aware of this, I saw it reflected in her expression and body language…..

Examining my feelings later, I felt guilt at not completing my tasks and guilt for not being able to cope with all the continuous interruptions…my god I was rationalizing my anxiety…when inwardly it was a sense of failure…. then I remembered as a child only being accepted when I performed my tasks well…if I wasn’t in constant motion…I felt guilty…my parents anxiety was transmitted to me.  Now I found that I could only accept myself ‘if’ I finished my tasks on time.  I felt guilty and inadequate when I didn’t…there was no parent criticizing…it was the parent within…my guilt wasn’t ‘real guilt’ it was ‘false guilt’ conditioned from childhood… This inner processing was very healing for me.” (Psoriasis sufferer ~ Tom Mettsley)

Skin is soft tissue, reflecting our attitudes, behaviors, experiences and hidden mental problems; it has to do with—how we think others see us, and—how we see ourselves. Irritation and criticism with ourselves can result in our skin breaking out..expressing our inner state of confusion.

For Mitch who was mentioned in the previous article, Bipolar Part III  he had a father who was abusive and an alcoholic—and a mother who cleaned endlessly or was overly involved in the community—she was escaping to avoid her husband and family.  When Mitch lived at home he was constantly on hyper-alert from the cruel humiliations of his father, he experienced intense emotional up and downs and handled his anxiety by using drugs, alcohol and being overly busy.  Alcohol paralyzes the higher brain centers where judgment takes place and lessens anxiety temporarily. At twelve years of age Mitch was diagnosed with manic depression and a sufferer of psoriasis.

Although Mitch’s astrological chart had the potential for strength, confidence and a strong will, he tended to be indecisive, perhaps even timid, especially at times of stress.  He concealed his strengths and weaknesses and was hurt by many who didn’t understand him.  When deeply hurt he lashed out with a vengeance—having out-and-out screaming fights—forcing others to fight back and a few times arrested by the law.   Fighting was a structure he was lost in; it gave him a false feeling of being strong and real, rather than being whoever he was.  Mitch was afraid to take the risk of connecting and becoming vulnerable to another. He had to be in charge of his relationships with another. He’d aggressively fight to win and if he did, Mitch said he felt terrible afterwards and felt it colliding with a sense of shame. He said he couldn’t stand being used or manipulated.  Mitch was an alcoholic and a drug-user by the age of 12 and left home at the tender age of 15; he’s only 18 now.

“Psoriasis is like a volcano erupting from the pressure of unseen forces just below the surface of a person’s life. The body is releasing fear, frustration, anger and other toxic emotions. The painful, itchy psoriasis flare-up is a strong signal of rebellion against the level of stress the person is experiencing.” Deadly Emotions ~ Don Colbert

People who have suppressed their feelings are out of touch with them and weren’t permitted to express them as child.  Where they grew up they were probably like Mitch, scared, terrorized, and on hyper-alert all the time. I asked Mitch to look at how he might be mimicking both his mother and father—like raising his voice and scaring the wits out of people—or like his mom, running away from his problems. Psoriasis can lead to low self-confidence and low self-esteem. It can cause feelings of fear, embarrassment, anger, depression, and guilt. What they need to realize is that the present is not the past and that they are not likely to be in any danger with the people they relate to or in a relationship with. Some form of meditation or breath awareness is beneficial for people with psoriasis or who are overly emotional.

What can cause or make psoriasis worse? Stress, hormone imbalance, allergic reactions, toxic substances, the food you eat, and vitamin, mineral, and nutrient deficiencies. Stress makes your psoriasis worse by depleting vitamins and minerals that are essential to your health. It weakens your digestive system by reducing the amount of digestive enzymes you make, making it harder for your stomach and intestines to properly digest the food you eat. Stress also weakens your adrenal glands, which among other duties, control inflammation. Long-term stress overworks the adrenals until they shut you down from exhaustion.

Both serotonin and norepinephrine are important chemicals that affect our moods and mental well-being.  People with low serotonin levels can suffer from mood swing and anxiety as well as internal anger and depression.  These people may gravitate to some sort of an addiction such as alcohol, drugs, overeating, or become workaholics, perfectionists or procrastinators.

PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS

Article(s) on the Metaphysical causes of arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are here

“Psoriasis can also cause psoriatic arthritis, which affects and resembles swollen, painful joints, much like that of rheumatoid arthritis.

Both psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis are chronic diseases that get worse over time, but you may have periods when your symptoms improve or go into remission alternating with times when symptoms become worse.

Psoriatic arthritis can affect joints on just one side or on both sides of your body. The signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis often resemble those of rheumatoid arthritis. Both diseases cause joints to become painful, swollen and warm to the touch.

However, psoriatic arthritis is more likely to also cause:

Swollen fingers and toes. Psoriatic arthritis can cause a painful, sausage-like swelling of your fingers and toes. You may also develop swelling and deformities in your hands and feet before having significant joint symptoms.

Foot pain. Psoriatic arthritis can also cause pain at the points where tendons and ligaments attach to your bones — especially at the back of your heel (Achilles tendinitis) or in the sole of your foot (plantar fasciitis).

Lower back pain. Some people develop a condition called spondylitis as a result of psoriatic arthritis. Spondylitis mainly causes inflammation of the joints between the vertebrae of your spine and in the joints between your spine and pelvis (sacroiliitis). ”  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/basics/symptoms/con-20015006

THE THIRD LUNG

The skin, is the body of the soul; Traditional Chinese Medicine refers the skin as the ‘third lung’ and the skin’s condition is seen as a reflection of the health of the lungs.  Metaphysically, it is said that people who suffer from eczema and psoriasis are ‘weeping through their skin’.  With skin problems, some sadness needs expressing—a sadness for whatever reason has been held in and silenced—this holding in manifests itself in painful or irritating rashes. You could say psoriasis is a cluster of attitudes of defensiveness, criticism, resentment, suspicion, fear, worry and the like.  I say a cluster of attitudes because some cases of psoriasis can be seen huddled together like aphids. These tiny insects breed and suck up energy at a breathtaking pace.  This becomes an area where we become defensive and very touchy.

When we are holding onto something that should be let go, we become defensive and rigid wherever we go.  Defensiveness hardens into our character, protecting us when we feel threatened by others. When this defense mechanism is alerted, we either recoil, crawling into our shells at the first sign of trouble, or our anger rapidly boils to the surface and simmers there. Psoriasis and other skin problems can become a crutch to hide behind when painful and difficult situations arise that you don’t want or don’t know how to meet head-on. It’s quite possible you’re afraid of being controlled and caught off guard.

When our stomachs can’t digest new ideas and experiences not only food is poorly absorbed in our system but our thoughts and feelings as well. When the stomach is rigid or tense we are resisting or holding onto things that should normally pass through our bodies. Indigestion can reflect on the skin causing blemishes, eczema, and psoriasis, which metaphysically, are caused by confusing thought patterns, frustration and the inability to make our needs understood.

“If your body becomes overrun by toxic substances, your skin will become inflamed and your skin cells will reproduce too fast, leaving behind the pile of silvery scales characteristic of psoriasis. This can happen when your liver isn’t doing its job properly, when you don’t digest your food properly, when you get an infection, and when you have a food allergy. Toxic substances in your intestines enter your blood stream through the intestinal wall. Some substances that can do this and hurt you are Candida albicans (a yeast-like fungus), bacterial protein breakdown products, allergic reaction byproducts, and free radicals.” The Psoriasis Cure ~ Lisa LeVan

The skin, similar to the lungs, breathes, exhales toxins through perspiration and inhales sunlight and nutrients from the air. If the lungs are healthy, the skin has less work to do; if the lungs are weak and Metal energy is deficient, the skin must work harder to eliminate excess toxins. Weak lungs = poor circulation = poor skin because the blood supply is struggling to circulate to the skin.  Your circulation brings nutrients to the cells and also helps in flushing away toxins and other waste materials.

The lung meridian has an intimate relationship between breath, pulse, blood and energy. It controls the skin, which is the largest organ of elimination, therefore poor skin is an indicator of weak lungs. Just as the lungs exhale carbon dioxide the skin exudes toxins and wastes through the pores. This meridian is linked to the nose and sense of smell so a clogged or runny nose will indicate a lung condition. It also controls the autonomic nervous system.

When you suppress your feelings of sadness, grief, anger and pain, you also suppress the love and joy along with them.  Emotions stuffed deep in the unconscious but still acting through the autonomic nervous system cause the endocrine glands to falter weakening the resistance of the lymphatic system as well as the suppression of the elimination system, causing a backup of toxins in the body

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) derived its name from the fact that it operates without any conscious control or thought (breathing, digestion, heart rate).  It affects every gland and organ in the body.  Learning to control the autonomic nervous system through meditation and/or biofeedback creates a finely tuned communication system between our mind and our higher self

One of the issues that everyone faces when clearing up their emotional debris is how to let go of the situation and the beliefs surrounding it.  To do this we have to understand the ‘mind’ and the mind isn’t just in the brain but in every part of the body.  It is constantly recording stimuli and input and experience.  The mind is the seat of all our beliefs, perceptions, experiences, memories and aspirations.  It is the most powerful tool we have in our possession and also the most difficult one to control.  A portion of the mind, is also connected to the autonomic nervous system which is always active, even while asleep, giving us the gift of life by keeping our organs and systems working together, by controlling our circulatory system, breathing, heart-rate, blood pressure, etc.   The autonomic is also the domain of your unconscious mind, your dreams and all your memories of present and past lives.

When you breathe in, not only do you inhale air into the lungs but at the same time blood is pumped through every tissue of the body. Deep slow breathing is, therefore, a powerful driving force in the body’s circulation. The heart is the pump that propels blood into the arterial area, while the lungs act as a suction pump on the circulation.

STRESS

“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 constant release of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol can sear the body in a way that is similar to acid searing metal. Even hours after the output of these chemicals, they still remain high in the body, elevating blood sugar levels, causing damage to the immune system, decalcifying our bones and thinning our skin. Long term emotional stress can reach chronic levels with the production of these hormones.  This is when toxic emotions become deadly emotions. This powerful ongoing infusion of chemicals injures tissues and organs, resulting in many different autoimmune dis-eases.

Prolonged and untreated stress can increase our risk of getting sick.  When we are under stress, the thyroid works harder, pumping out more of its hormones.  If the stress continues, the thyroid will be unable to maintain its increased level of production and may begin to fail.  When this happens, the immune system becomes confused and starts producing antibodies against the thyroid.  As the thyroid falters, metabolism slows.  When metabolism slows we start eating the wrong kind of carbohydrates that cause the Candida already in your system to multiply and spread.

CANDIDA AND LEAKY GUT

As soon as food is eaten, the digestive system begins to separate food into minute particles and compounds, which are then capable of passing through the walls (Epithelium Cells) of the small intestine and then into the bloodstream. The movement these minute food particles, from one side of the intestinal wall to the outerside is known as osmosis. The continuous movement of nutrients can only take place when there are a variety of minerals from the food we eat. Refined and processed foods lack the minerals needed for this, causing waste and impurities to enter the bloodstream.

When different areas of the intestinal tract become irritated, inflamed or breached, we can suffer from an array of symptoms such as: constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, indigestion, gas, bloating and cramps, and these are usually caused by a leaky gut which further causes allergies, anemia, fatigue, weight loss, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, muscle pain and more. Symptoms can persist for years with people bouncing from doctor to doctor without ever being properly diagnosed. While these diseases have different names, they have one thing in common—a leaky gut.

“A leaky gut is a condition in which the small intestine wall become inflamed and breached with tiny pinholes that leak putrid food particles into the blood stream. Your immune system builds antibodies to the proteins in this fecal matter and your body attacks these proteins as if they were foreighn germs. Thatis why it is called an auto-immune disease, because your immune system becomes confused between its own protein and foreign protein. It goes on to attack protein in other parts of the body such as between the joints, causing rheumatoid arthritis. The bone and muscle pain of fibromyalgia and lupus is also attributed to the spread of toxins through a leaky gut. As the cascade of inflammatory reactions spreads to the lungs, it results in asthma. These poisons infiltrate the blood and lymph and overload the liver’s ability to detoxify them. Some of this overload emties into the skin, manifesting as psoriasis or excema. Other dry skin problems result from the malabsorption of essential fats and B-vitamins. Other dry skin problems result from the malabsorption of essential fats and B-vitamins. Anemia and other nutrient deficiencies develop because of the impaired assimilation, in spite of all those supplements you take” Better Nutrition Magazine ~ by Steve Meyerowitz

All the physical and chemical changes in the body happen through a process called metabolism, which is basically defined as the way your body processes and changes the food you eat into energy.  For metabolism to work properly your blood needs a sufficient amount of oxygen, glucose and certain nutrients.  If your metabolism is sluggish, your cells will have problems receiving the nutrients they need to function.

If you suffer from leaky gut, probiotic bacteria (lactobacillus and bifidobacteria) can be significant in reducing the occurrence of Candidiasis and also stop it from reoccurring.  These bacteria help in the absorption of vitamins, detox carcinogens and support the immune system. Leaky gut can also reduce certain minerals from being absorbed into the body such as magnesium (enzyme response), zinc (hair loss), copper (high cholesterol, osteoarthritis) and calcium (osteoporosis). Taking a good multi-vitamin with Omega 3 or evening primose oil will help absorption of the vitamins/minerals in the body.

There are plenty of herbs one can take for candida, one of the best is said to be Oregano oil, which is very antiseptic and kills candida as well as parasites.  It’s quite aggressive on the internal mucus membranes, esophagus, stomach, intestines and colon which is why it should always be diluted with some oil, milk or honey and part of your meal. In Greek, oregano means ‘Mountain Joy’ and it has shown to have the highest levels of the antioxidants, polyphenols carvacrol, rosmarinic acid and thymol. You can even put oil of oregano and even oil of rosemary in your daily salad dressing.    On average 1-3 drops is enough, anymore and you could end up with abdominal pain.  Some say it’s best to take this essential oil on a short term basis, 5-7 days, stop, and if necessary start again.

A full article on the metaphysical causes of Candiasis is here

MOLDS IN FOODS AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Molds are important to add here as they are absorbed, inhaled and eaten, producing substances that are toxic to the nerves and particularly to the central nervous system.  Molds produce antibiotics which are actually released in the immediate environment, and as we know with Candida, antibiotics look to kill competing bacteria—even the good ones. It’s important to know that these fungi’s are capable of damaging the body’s nerves and tissue cells as well as mild to severe mental and physical changes in a person.

A person can become sensitized when a foreign substance enters the body through inhalation, ingestion, injection or absorption through the skin. Imagine, a tiny piece of skin about the size of a quarter contains 3 feet of blood vessels, 12 feet of nerves, 25 nerve cells, 100 sweat glands, and more than 3,000,000 cells; phew, that’s quite a complex team working 24/7.

METAPHYSICALLY HEALING PSORIASIS

“The key to healing lies in the unconscious.  If we can become aware of the memories stored in our bodies and bring them to mind, we can gain a different, nonrational understanding of how the past influences the present and our conscious minds and actions.  We can do it if we learn to tap into what I call the intuition network, to help us envision and create healthier lives, instead of allowing old memories and patterns of behavior to continue re-creating painful experiences.” Mona Lisa Schulz

Balance is not something we were born with, it is learned through experiences. Life is a blend of happiness and sadness, of good and bad times. Many of our issues and challenges in life, especially relationships come from our misunderstanding of ‘love’ and a lack of love for ourselves. When this happens we have a tendency to fold our arms over our chest or stiffly hold them at our sides……we feel awkward and self-conscious afraid to let go and share our vulnerabilities to others. It also prevents us from revealing our strengths.

“When there is chaos between family members, there is an increased risk of hair loss (alopecia) not to mention psoriasis and other skin problems.

So as you can see, having solid external relationships is essential to our health. Science backs if up by showing that “social integration” – wide social networks and social support – creates stronger immune systems. In fact, studies show that more and better relationships mean more and better white blood cells, which help us resist infections and protect us from a wide variety of health perils, including arthritis, depression and the worsening of symptoms of conditions like tuberculosis. Social interaction also decreases the amount of medication people need and accelerates their recovery from illness. .” ALL IS WELL ~ Louise L. Hay and Mona Lisa Sculz

Usually, when we have problems with the skin, we need to look at the liver and gall bladder and their meridians. What we’re looking at is old debris that has cluttered and accumulated in the system. Inner frustrations also clog the ‘system’ and the intake of excess foods and alcohol will tax the liver. Stress definitely has something to do with it along with psychological disappointments and letdowns. If the system becomes sluggish the person usually feels tired and when we’re tired we eat for energy and usually with all the wrong foods.

Also, if one has been undergoing deep self-examination it can leave them feeling extremely sensitive about virtually everything.

Sometimes when we are on a spiritual journey we feel an inner restlessness arising – as if it wants to burst free from our physical frame! Our bodies on the other hand want to protect that which is struggling and fight hard to adjust to the fire of this awakening spirit.

“The breath carries oxygen throughout the bloodstream, and it also carries prana or spiritual energy, which is the esoteric correlation to oxygen.  Prana energizes the physical body through a network of meridians—the fine channels that are components of the silver cord or the thread of life—by sending energy through the etheric or spiritual network.  The force currents along these lines are linked with each other, and with the nervous system of man.  They enter the body through the spleen.” Jeanne Avery 

The skin really is the body of the soul.  It is actually one of the richest sources of all the hormones found in the body.  When we stimulate the skin we can cause a shower of healing chemicals into our blood stream.  One of the most important of these are growth factors or growth hormones.  By simply stimulating the skin we can produce these growth factors or hormones right into our blood stream.  Like the other organs, the skin is also the seat of emotions.  When we are deeply moved we say we were deeply touched.  We describe situations as sticky, ticklish or prickly, all these have to do with sensations in our body.  Therefore the experience of touch or sensation linked to a thought is really what an emotion is.  Once again, we can influence emotions, feelings and desires through our skin as a result of the release of these hormones.

“Psycho/emotionally your skin is your boundary, the meeting place between you and the outer world. Therefore, skin issues often arise when someone or something has cross that boundary and “gets under your skin,” or where communication is making your “skin crawl.”

Are you feeling invaded, trespassed upon, or have you gone beyond your limitations and reached out too far?
Or perhaps you are limiting yourself too much, holding back inside while putting up a protective cover?
Are your boundaries being penetrated against your wishes?
What and who is getting under your skin?
Are you trying to break free of restrictions being imposed on you?
Is a fear of intimacy making you resist touching and feeling?”  YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND ~ Deb Shapiro

Once we take back the responsibility for what we are feeling, we experience a tremendous power in our lives. We no long feel like a victim or bystander; we no longer give others the power to decide how we experience our lives. Also, the others in our lives will be more open to us when they see that we no longer blame them for what we are feeling, and they will be more willing to assume responsibility for their own feelings.

BELLY BREATHING

Breathing is essential to life and when you breathe properly, it can help you clear your mind and reach higher states of awareness. Belly breathing can help you relax ay time you are tense. When you feel anxious about something, just close your eyes and take 5 to 10 deep breaths. Deep breathing can also energize you, when you’re feeling tired or drained or if you’ve been breathing from the chest. Retrain your body to breathe properly, from your diaphragm or belly.

Life flat on the floor or on your bed. Take a few deep breaths and feel yourself relax. Place one hand on your abdomen. Take a deep breath through your nose. As you inhale, let your abdomen push your hand out.

As you exhale, feel your hand go down. Do this 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath. Breathing this way may feel strange to you at first, but with practice you’ll become accustomed to it. Try to do belly breathing every day. A good time to do this is when you get into bed at night—when you first wake up in the morning—and any time you want to relax.
Deep abdominal breathing and exercise are all ways to support lymphatic circulation. Every time we contract a muscle, the muscle rubs against numerous lymph vessels, stimulating them to contract. This is another reason exercise is so good for us!

JUMP AND SHAKE

“EXERCISE: While all exercise stimulates the lymph, jumping on the rebounder is the best. If you do not have room for a rebounder, a jump-and-shake exercise works just as well. With feet slightly apart, you jump just a little and then shake the body. It is similar to dancing in African tribes that bob-and-shake type of dance.

The bounce and shake routine gets your heart pumping and your body moving so that your metabolism starts working. Follow the following steps to do the bounce and shake:

• Standing with knees slightly bent, feet comfortably apart, bounce up and down easily without lifting heels off the ground

• As you bounce, let your arms hang, relaxed, by your side. Shake your hands

• Nod your head up and down in a comfortable range of motion, 2 to 4 inches

• As you nod back and look up, breathe in through your nose to the count of 5, and then exhale to the count of 5 as you lower your head

• During the first minute, breathe through your nose; During the second minute make a noise originating from the base of your throat – like snoring; Then breathe in through your nose, and out through puckered lips, as if blowing out a birthday candle

• Stop bouncing and shaking. Take a moment to feel the vibrations you have created throughout your body. http://www.lynnkoiner.com/astrology-articles/the-lymphatic-system-from-elaine-hruska

BECOME AWARE OF YOUR POSTURE AND RELAX

Whenever you become aware of the position of your body, you immediately relax and experience a flow of energy because you’re listening and communicating with your body and its surroundings.

CHANGE YOUR POSTURE – CHANGE YOUR MOOD

Our posture expresses how we’re feeling, correcting it will change the way you feel.

*COLOR HEALING

 “…lie or sit, and close your eyes, imagine you hold a laser bream made of different colors in your hands. Visualize moving this light on any area of your skin that is irritated, dry, swollen, itchy or spotty. Observe the light changing color according to the part of the body the laser is treating. For example, if the skin is red, the laser may change to blue to counteract the redness. If the skin is dry, the laser may change to pink to regenerate the area; or if the skin is swollen, orange rays are great to calm the swelling. And if the skin is itchy, yellow rays can help to soothe it. Focus on letting go of all anger, frustration, self-criticism, irritation, and dislike of yourself.

Say: “Divine Healing Intelligence, please release all irritation, anger, frustration, criticism, invalidation, and insecurity I carry in my skin, as well as all points of view, all patterns, and the positive and negative that contribute to this condition.” Repeat the word “CLEAR” until you feel a shift occur.

In your mind’s eye, observe your skin beginning to clear, becoming radiant, lustrous, glowing, and soft. How does it feel to have this new skin? Allow yourself to take lone deep breaths and enjoy your renewed skin.” The Secret Language of Your Body ~ Inna Segel

*Suggestion: When I took a Chromotherapy (color-healing) course, blue was the color of all over-heated conditions in the body that needed cooling.  It’s also a color for the imbalance of yeast, bacteria or fungus in your system. It heals problems with the skin, the reproductive system, the eyes and chest.  Violet moves through the etheric and subtle bodies, helping to remove old and worn out patterns of behavior.

Youtube ~ Louise Hay ~ Healing Skin Problems – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKXISPDqPvA

NATURAL REMEDIES FOR PSORIASIS

Holistic healing is about natural remedies and treatments along with wholesome foods, exercise, sunshine, fresh air, positive thinking, the love of work, and a balanced lifestyle. Below are some ideas to help with psoriasis. I’m sure there’s many, many more out there.

MINERALS

Minerals play an important role in regulating the acid/alkaline levels of the body, and, they are a major factor in regard to your metabolism. They are the spark plugs of the body, transmitting vital electrical and magnetic forces (positive/negative charges) which are constantly required to energize the body and keep it running efficiently.  There are fourteen essential minerals that are required for the body to work properly and they must be consumed in our diet, as the body is unable to produce them.

B complex vitamins help support blood lymphocytes – helps promote anti-bodies and T-cells distribution and immune cell activity.

(leaky gut and candida disrupts the metabolism of vitamin B6 and EFAs – you can get extra B vitamins through a good mutli-vitamin.  B6 is needed by the body to produce serotonin, hence its ability to ward off depression.

Carotenoids – precursor to vitamin A – increases immune activity – kills cancer cells – protects cell membrane fats from oxidation and damage

Zinc is a mineral that stimulates the immune system and promotes T-cell function

Selenium helps build your immune system and keep it healthy – your body uses selenium to help white blood cells to clear viruses and bacteria from your body.

Magnesium deficiency stimulates the release of inflammatory cytokines. Regular use helps regulate the immune system and protect it against infection – it reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases caused by an overactive immune system.  (Magnesium should be taken with a B vitamin as together they help the liver. Like zinc, magnesium is easier for your body to absorb and use if it is bound to an amino acid.)

Omega 3 (fish oil, flax seed, evening primrose oil, borage, blackcurrant seed oil  help to reduce inflammation and the absorption of nutrients. They promote strong cell membranes in your gastrointestinal tract – boosts the immune system and helps slow the aging process

Chlorella is an excellent “whole Food’ you can buy at any health store.  It’s rich in chlorophyll, which helps detox the body and gives a boost in energy and improves the immune system. It comes in powder or capsules

The integrity of the lymph system is dependent on immune cells in the liver that filter out harmful bacteria and destructive yeasts.

Milk Thistle is a powerful liver regenerator. People with damaged livers can regenerate tissue with Milk Thistle. I take these herbs in the form of tinctures but they can be taken in any form.

Dandelion Root supports the liver, pancreas, kidneys and spleen. It has diuretic and purifying properties.

Yellow Dock is a blood purifier that also helps the liver and gall bladder and is also high in iron.

Each of us has to take responsibility to explore and educate ourselves about our own health.  Doctors can help in the process but really and truly you must do the work.  We have to nurture ourselves, respect the body and its processes and help them to function at their best, as they were intended by the law of Nature.

Metaphysical causes of rheumatoid arthritis  http://self-healingsecrets.com/1033/the-energy-behind-rheumatoid-arthritis/

Super site on psoriasis re: homeopathic and a list of medicines and how they work.  http://www.askdrshah.com/app/psoriasis/psoriasis-medicines.aspx

Dr. Andrew Weil – Psoriasis http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03161/Psoriasis.html

Psoriatic arthritis http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2196539-overview

Great youtube presentation on Magnesium deficiency https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wtUn1gWgaw

The five major types of psoriasis https://www.psoriasis.com/psoriasis-types.aspx

Psoriasis of the nails – deep pitting of the nails http://dermnetnz.org/scaly/psoriatic-arthritis.html

http://dermnetnz.org/scaly/erythrodermic-psoriasis.html

hooked-on-nails.com/naildisorders.

http://dermnetnz.org/scaly/genital-psoriasis.html

https://www.rheumatology.org/Practice/Clinical/Patients/Diseases_And_Conditions/Psoriatic_Arthritis/

http://wakeup-world.com/2012/12/23/top-10-probiotic-foods-to-add-to-your-diet/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psN1DORYYV0 Listening to Shame

ravenstarshealingroom@gmail.com

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WHAT IS ASPERGER’S 

“You don’t suffer from Asperger’s, you suffer from other people”   ~ Tony Attwood

“You may feel that people are blocking you from doing what you want to do. Most people want to keep things the same. In this modern world, where everything is changing so rapidly, people make conscious efforts to sustain the familiar and continue with the past. As such, any change in the directions you take may evoke anxiety in others who find it hard to adjust to your new ways, which may not fit their concept of you. Don’t be deterred by this. In fact, when people start questioning you about your new attitudes, take it as a clue that you have begun to move in the new direction you have set for yourself.” Arki Kiev, M.D.

Asperger’s Syndrome was discovered in 1944 by Dr. Hans Asperger, an Austrian pediatrician. Although Asperger’s was discovered so long ago, Dr. Asperger’s papers weren’t translated until decades later [1990’s] and the term ‘Asperger’ Syndrome was coined by Lorna Wing, who was doing her own studies of a group of children who displayed its symptoms. It was after this, that the medical field started to familiarize themselves with Asperger’s and it took years after that to start diagnosing their patients with it.

“People with Asperger’s syndrome, a highly function form of autism often report that they have difficulty recognizing complex mental states like envy and love in others. Rather than relying on their (often faulty) assessment of others’ mental states when a complex social interaction presents itself, they depend on a “library” of carefully stored memories of previous interactions when deciding how to respond. At the same time, though, people with Asperger’s syndrome are also aware of the strategy’s limitations and the computational costs of calculating, through learned contingencies, what others are feeling and thinking. Temple Grandin, an autistic professor of animal behavior, has argued that animals’ responses to social events are likewise guided by memories of previous interactions rather than theories about mental states (Grandin and Johnson 2005). Instead of analyzing beliefs and desires, animals use past performance as a guide to future behavior.

Indeed, there is almost no example of possible mental state attribution in animals that cannot also be interpreted in terms of contingency learning. People often claim that their dog feels guilty when he does something that he “knows” he shouldn’t do, like knock over the garbage container. Dogs certainly acts as if they know they have done something wrong; their Tai Chi slink is a caricature of guilt. But dogs often assume the same guilty postures if another dog, or even a human, tips over the garbage. Rather than experiencing guilt or remorse about their actions, dogs are probably responding on the basis of a learned contingency: when garbage is on the floor, people begin to shout” (Grandin and Johnson 2005) Baboon Metaphysics: The Evolution of a Social Mind ~ by Dorothy Cheney, Robert M Seyfarth

Asperger’s syndrome like ADHD is labeled a neurobiological disorder—the difference between the two is that Asperger’s has been considered a higher function of Autism. Asperger’s individuals have very sensitive, highly reactive nervous systems; they have problems with sensory overload, making it hard to process information coming to them. This is why they can overreact to changes or stressful events, which tend to produce strong physical reactions. Aspies also have a lot of difficulty reading faces or people’s reactions (verbal/nonverbal cues), which are important for social communication. In other words, Aspies have trouble interacting with others—they lack the awareness of knowing they’ve upset someone, causing relationship problems and misunderstandings.

“The whole prospect of dating is frustrating and uncomfortable to me.   When someone close to me is hurting, I don’t know how to cope. I never know how to cope! There’s so many ‘unwritten rules’ and ‘codes of conduct’; what you should and shouldn’t say and do. I’m practical and usually quite reserved; I verbally have trouble expressing my truth, and when I do try, it comes out in confusing negative ways!” Where’s the love in that!” (Asperger’s young adult wanting love without all the restrictions) 

“People don’t understand but I get hurt really easily. I’m extremely sensitive and have a tendency to react without thinking. I can’t control my emotions, it feels like they take over and as much as I’d like to hide them, the power is too great to hold in and they come out in blunt, drastic, and usually dramatic ways. I know this needs reining in but how to do it? (Teen with Asperger’s)

Aspies constantly try to use their heads to navigate through life. Their reactive, emotional states can be so contradictory because they overact to who, what, when where and how? They are extremely vigilant anticipating problems in their environment, particularly with other people. Their need to question, to pay attention to details and problems and know where others stand is their way to defend themselves from real or imagined dangers. This is why they are quickly thrown into a storm of confusion and emotional reactions. They so want to be trusted, yet their trust in others is constantly tested to alleviate their own suspicions.

 “Children and teens with this disorder have problems socializing with other children and adults, are not personable, lack social skills, and have poor eye contact. They are inflexible with their routines; become upset when interrupted; usually ask questions that are out of context, have odd behaviors; and grow obsess with objects, activities, or hobbies. They are often ostracized and rejected by peers and called “weird.” Children with Asperger’s disorder may be irritable and have mood swings and severe temper tantrums…These symptoms may be confused with the mood swings and irritability seen in youth with bipolar disorder.” New Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar Disorder ~ Boris Birmaher, M.D.

Many children with Asperger’s also may suffer from a smorgasbord of symptoms that seem to be at odds with each other. We’re looking at many different neurological disorders such as ADD/ADHD, Bi-polar, Dyspraxia, Tourettes, OCD, etc., making it harder for doctors/psychiatrists/neurologists to correctly diagnose them. Aspie’s can alternate between elation and ecstasy to suddenly becoming irritable and angry that explodes into tantrums or destructive rage. They can’t help themselves because they don’t know what’s happening to them—these moods or panic attacks just hit them. That’s where they need guardians, teachers, doctors and parents to support them physically, emotionally and socially and to help them grow into adolescence and into their adulthood.

 “Sometimes I get really angry at people in my life (parents, siblings, children, co-workers) for no reason and replay over and over memories and conversations in my head that happened yesterday or even years ago. It’s like every waking moment of my day is spent muttering angrily to myself about something and I have no control over it. When this happens, I pretty much hide in my room all day and stay mad.” (Young woman with Asperger’s syndrome)

“Prominent individuals who have forever put their mark on history in their respective field might have had the condition described by Hans Asperger… Maybe one could even speculate that historic progress has quite often been made by people with Autism Spectrum Conditions. The perseverance, drive for perfection, good concrete intelligence, ability to disregard social conventions, and not worry too much about other people’s opinions or critiques, could be seen as advantageous, maybe even a prerequisite for certain forms of new thinking and creativity.” (Gillberg 2001) 

 “Children with Asperger’s Disorder are rarely able to read social cues without specific training. They are seldom able to express empathy, except in a strained intellectual sense, with others in virtually any situation. Their anxiety in social situations can be extreme, especially if something unexpected happens.” Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children And Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression and other Disorders ~ Great Potential Press – edited by James T. Webb

On the positive side, I think Asperger individuals (Aspie’s) have a great talent at keeping tabs on the time, organizing and filing important papers and keeping every receipt in perfect order. They are the great achievers of our world because of their ability to focus on what’s important to them; when inspired by an idea, they’ll marshal all their forces to pursue it.  But gawd forbid if you’re three minutes late for dinner or an important meeting, Aspies have a short fuse when you mess up their schedule that was prepared precisely to the minute.

“From a neuroscience standpoint, people with Asperger’s are extremely reactive due to an enlargement in the amygdala, which along with the hippocampus in the emotional center of the brain and part of the limbic system (Adophs et al. 1995). Limbic dysfunction can account for difficulty in reading faces and judging emotions of other people (Cohen, Klin, and Schultz 1999), which is probably why some people would refer to as a deficit in theory of mind. Heightened reactivity and anxiety are almost certainly a result of the enlarged limbic areas including the hippocampus that, on the positive side, gives those with Asperger’s a tremendous long-term memory and recall.

This constant social anxiety can create a fight-or-flight mode and can cause internalized panic that could lead to making insulting statements..to some extent, that is why people with Asperger Syndrome need to make a concerned effort to try to slow down and logically think things through before expressing themselves. It is a rational way for them to compensate for this deficit. It is a great adaptive function that can serve them well.”Asperger Syndrome and Bullying: Strategies and Solutions ~ By Nick Dubin

Both of my sons have difficulty expressing their emotions in a way that they think everybody else expects them to. Instead of showing empathy by listening or giving me hugs, they show empathy by offering a solution to the problem—and most usually, they’re right!

DAILY OM printed a wonderful article called Laboring under a Label written by Madisyn Taylor…

  “We live in a culture that uses labels as a means of understanding the world and the people living in it. As a result, many of us find ourselves laboring under a label that has a negative connotation. Unless we can find a way to see the good in such a label, we may feel burdened by an idea of ourselves that is not accurate. It is important to remember that almost nothing in this world is all good or all bad, and most everything is a complex mixture of gifts and challenges. In addition, different cultures revere certain qualities over others, but this does not mean that these qualities are inherently good or bad. For example, a culture that elevates outgoing behavior will label an introvert in a negative way, calling them antisocial. In truth, the ability to spend time alone is one that most great artists, mystics, and visionaries share. Owning the positive side of this label can lead us deeper into our gifted visions and fertile imaginations.

  When we look into the lives of any of the great people in history, we always find that they had quirks and eccentricities that earned them less than ideal labels from the societies in which they lived. Many famous artists and musicians were considered to be isolated loners or disruptive troublemakers, or sometimes both, yet these people altered history and contributed to the world an original vision or advances in our understanding of the universe. If we can remember this as we examine our own selves and the labels people use to describe us, we find that there is a bright side to any characterization.

  If you have been labeled, remember that all you have to do to see the positive side is to turn the label around. For example, you may be considered to be overly emotional, and the fact that you are perceived this way may make you feel out of control. But notice, too, the gifts of being able to feel and express your emotions, even in a world that doesn’t always encourage that. You might begin to see yourself as brave and open-hearted enough to stay alive to your feelings. You may also see that there are certain paths and professions in which this is a necessary ability. As you turn your label around, the light of your true nature shines to guide you on your way. http://www.dailyom.com/articles/2014/44326.html

Both my sons have been labeled with the Asperger’s syndrome, each in varying degrees.  They are smart, articulate, persistent, organized and highly focused. They don’t openly share their feelings and inner thoughts and are very uncomfortable around emotional issues and people.  Because they struggle with understanding the physical signs of the body; which by the way is known to contradict ‘verbal’ communication, they frequently withdraw from uncomfortable encounters OR will confront people who appear contradictory.  You want the truth, ask an Aspie!!

Asperger’s often feel isolated and alienated by society. Many times when my sons were growing up and in school they were harshly treated, teased, abused and bullied or taken advantage of by others—especially from those who saw them as ‘odd’—or not as aware or adept as others. This is why Asperger’s prefer to be alone, shrink away from relationships and have only a couple of close friends.

“In working with children who suffer from Asperger’s Disorder, despite their often high intellectual functioning, one must break down every social behavior into its smaller components. For example it may be necessary to physically show the child exactly how close one typically stands when having a conversation, or to specify it is important to look directly at the face of the person with whom you are conversing. Instruction in social skills must be detailed and concrete, and it often must be repeated for several different types of situations due to the difficulty that children with Asperger’s Disorder have with generalizing. Often these children rely on rote memory for the “rules” of social interactions. Sometimes instructions do not help because the child lacks the motivation to improve social skills (lack of insight) and finds the behaviors (such as looking someone in the eyes) very uncomfortable. Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children And Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression and other Disorders ~ Great Potential Press – edited by James T. Webb

 “I’ll let you know right now my opinions are very strong and if we disagree, I will research your arguments into the ground even if these were disputed months or even years ago; this is the kind of stuff I obsess over. To you, it may seem ignorant when I speak but I have this problem of not being able to shut up and I can be extremely blunt with absolutely no empathy of what you’re thinking or feeling or how emotional you’ve become.” (Frank with Asperger’s)

ASPERGER’S GIFTS

Not everything that steps out of line, and thus “abnormal,” must necessarily be “inferior.” ~ Professor Hans Asperger

You’ll find most ‘gifted’ Asperger individuals studying engineering, physics, computer science, genetics, teaching, etc. Most of them are highly intelligent with above average IQ’s. They are exceptionally bright, quick thinkers and learners; they love to learn, read, watch movies, or anything that inspires them to peer deeply into the meaning of life. Their greatest desire in life is to be secure and stable. They love to process any information in an orderly and chronological manner; everything must be meticulously detailed and calculated in a step-by-step orderly manner. Everything in life ‘must’ have a logical and rational explanation—they won’t usually believe in something unless they’ve been shown the evidence or they can prove or discover it themselves. They can be quite blunt and insulting to people, unaware of the amount of force and intensity they use in their interactions—especially to those who have little self-respect or problems with their self-image.

“Prominent individuals who have forever put their mark on history in their respective field might have had the condition described by Hans Asperger… Maybe one could even speculate that historic progress has quite often been made by people with Autism Spectrum Conditions. The perseverance, drive for perfection, good concrete intelligence, ability to disregard social conventions, and not worry too much about other people’s opinions or critiques, could be seen as advantageous, maybe even a prerequisite for certain forms of new thinking and creativity.” (Gillberg 2001, p.134)

Aspie’s enjoy the high feeling they get when they assert themselves in challenging situations. They want to do the impossible to succeed where others have failed or others have said ‘it can’t be done’. If they’re reasonably sure they’ll come out on top, they will take the chance and enjoy the excitement.

Asperger’s people love the intense feeling of joy and contentment.   With emotions such as fear, irritation, disappointment or anger, they will endlessly search, analyzing the problem, until they find a solution. They’ll sit for hours searching the internet, reading books, asking questions.  Sometimes all they need is a shift in perspective to keep them on track. When they choose a solution, they apply it. If it doesn’t work, they’ll keep trying until one does.

TESTING FOR ASPERGER’S

This is an excellent site on diagnosing Asperger’s for an adult or child.

http://www.autism.org.uk/about-autism/all-about-diagnosis/diagnosis-the-process-for-children/diagnosis-what-to-expect.aspx

Have you noticed your child has problems making friends? Skips school whenever possible. Avoids eye contact? Extremely sensitive and easily hurt?   Often misinterprets what you mean or say? Has a deep special interest? Does the same thing over and over again? Panic when he or she has to do or try something new? Finds it hard to interpret gestures like head shaking? Finds empathy hard? Is his/her speech unusually formal? Any evidence of anxiety, depression, or hyper sensitivities to taste, touch, smell? Poor handwriting? Picky eater? Bullied at school and/or easily fooled and conned? Becomes easily confused or overwhelmed? Has your child expressed they must have been misplaced or from another planet? If so it’s ‘possible’ they may have Asperger’s, but you won’t know for sure unless they are properly tested.

I think all children and adults display symptoms of Asperger’s at times, which is why sometimes identifying and treating Asperger’s can be quite a challenge. In this world today, many young people are mislabeled because teachers and doctors don’t have the time or the resources to treat the symptoms and ‘not the person affected by it’.

 “A young child with Asperger’s syndrome often assumes that other people are thinking exactly what he or she is thinking; or the child assumes that other people’s words match their thoughts….each person may have very different thoughts and feelings in the same situation, and that what people say may not always correspond with what they are thinking. The Comic Strip Conversations…from the book “The Complete Guide to Asperger’s syndrome ~ by Tony Attwood

There are a few test sites for adults which I’ll post for you.   Children would need to be referred to social workers and psychologists. Though it was quite some time ago, I do remember some of the tests, where Jason and Brandon were shown picture books with children and adults in different situations. They were asked to ‘read’ their faces and if their expressions were surprised, sad, happy, angry, etc… Both Jason and Brandon scored low points in this test.

Another test I remember Brandon playing, was a game of cars with the social worker who continuously carried on a conversation with him.   Brandon was so absorbed and focused on playing with the cars, he didn’t hear or remember words spoken to him.

Both Brandon and Jason did language and logic tests which were done with a child psychologist.

Some Asperger tests are informing but should not be used as a diagnosis.

http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aqtest.html

http://www.rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php

ASPERGER’S AND HEALTH ISSUES

Aspies have very finely tuned central nervous systems, which cause them to be highly sensitive to environmental stimuli such as noise, fragrances, certain foods, chaos, beauty, and/or pain. All these sensitivities can cause physical reactions in the body, such allergies, nervousness, panic attacks, nausea, migraine headaches, and auto-immune diseases.

“The immune system even under normal circumstances has a marked impact on behavior. Chemicals secreted by the immune system, called cytokines, are known to bind to sites in the brain and cause changes in areas such as sleep, attention, and mood. Recently there has been speculation that immune system problems may trigger the development of autistic symptoms. This system has drawn attention because of:

 1. The unusual patterns of production of immune chemical signals and antibodies observed in individuals with autism.

 2. the recent reported rise in the rates of autism

 3. the suggestion that autism could be related to inoculation procedures and/or inflammatory disease of the intestine

 4. the use of the diet therapies to reduce possible food allergies in autistic children.

 (“Cytokines are small molecules found in miniscule concentrations in our blood stream, that affect the behavior of others cells, especially, cells of the gut and immune system. It appears that the immune system—especially allergic and inflammatory components of the immune system—rely heavily on signals from cytokines.   Cytokines are divided into several different families which are sometimes referred to as interleukins, interferons or tumor necrosis factors. There are [thirty-five] different types of cytokines and their names get very confusing…….” Bacteria for Breakfast: Probiotics for Good Health ~ By PhD, RPh Kelly Dowhower Karpa)

 Research in this area has thus far not produced any major revelations. There is, however, some evidence of reduced immune function as well as overactive immune function in children with autism…analyzing whole blood from autistic children [there was] a significantly higher production of two inflammatory response signaling chemicals–signs of an overactive immune system. It is possible that some symptoms of autism, such as sleep mood and attention problems are reduced after treatment of an infection or removal of allergens from the child’s diet because the activity of the immune system is reduced….

 A serious problem arises when the immune system attacks tissues within the body instead of outside foreign agents’ such a response can lead to autoimmune disease. The term “auto” in from of immune system refers to a response against “self”…Research indicates an increased rate of autoimmune diseases in families of children with autism, the most common being Type 1 Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis (adult form) systemic lupus, and hypothyroidism.” The Development of Autism ! Thomas L. Whitman

CANDIASIS

 “When bacteria are present as part of the gut’s normal flora, the very presence of the bacteria stimulates white blood cells and epithelial cells to secrete cytokines. These cytokines, then, serve as signals to other components of the immune system.   Cytokines can send allergic signals, inflammatory signals, or anti-allergy/anti-inflammatory signals.   The type of signal that is transmitted depends upon the type of bacteria present; different species of bacteria stimulate release of different cytokines. As you are probably beginning to see, the bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract play an important role in determining the actions of the entire immune system…..it is the balance of cytokines that controls initiation of allergies/inflammation, perpetuation of allergies/inflammation or the cessation of allergies/inflammation.” Bacteria for Breakfast: Probiotics for Good Health ~ By PhD, RPh Kelly Dowhower Karpa

There are so many disorders related to candida that I’m sure not to have listed them all. Candida can be the cause of anxiety, multiple sclerosis, OCD, allergies, food intolerances (make one forgetful and super emotional/irritable), migraines, learning disabilities, celiac disease, dyslexia, acne, dyspraxia, epileptic seizures, bipolar disorder, bed wetting, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, psychosis, substance abuse, depression, impaired social skills and perception, eczema, psoriasis, touch and light sensitivity, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, asthma, and lupus. If you’d like to know more about Candida, you can look at it here

MOOD SWINGS

Histamine is a chemical that’s naturally found everywhere in the body and in all foods too. It’s plays an important part in stimulating the hypothalamus to release vital chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and norephinephrine. With too little histamine, dopamine levels are elevated — Dopamine’s a chemical that produces anxiety, stress, nervousness and aggression. When levels of dopamine are elevated, a person may feel insecure, paranoid and/or fearful.

Histamine becomes a problem when its levels sink too low or rise too high.   It can have a bizarre affect on mood swings—an almost Jekyll and Hyde behavior. It can create paranoia, obsessive-compulsive behavior (OCB), tension and depression.   Histamine also acts on the nose, throat, eyes, lungs, skin, and even the gastrointestinal tract, triggering the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Both serotonin and norepinephrine are important chemicals that affect our moods and mental well-being. People with low serotonin levels can suffer from mood swing and anxiety as well as internal anger and depression. These people may gravitate to some sort of an addiction such as alcohol, drugs, overeating, or become workaholics, perfectionists or procrastinators.

Children with Asperger’s also suffer from low serotonin levels causing them to become unfocused and lose memory and concentration. They too may overeat or eat sugary, starchy foods causing an override in their systems; then their insulin kicks in and they suffer from an extreme drop in blood sugar, causing a vicious circle of eating more sugary foods again.

We find out who we are by action. Action makes us and creates our future. It has been said that those suffering from mood swings and even bipolar are not living a life that is in accordance with their own inner nature….they have unfulfilled potential. Their roller-coaster emotions and boundless energies take a dramatic plunge into bleak depression. Many have and can utilize their dramatic abilities and extravagant behaviors to inspire others.

“In its mild state, bipolar disorder allows people to produce very high levels of intense creative output. There is a large body of evidence showing that creative people have a much higher likelihood of developing various mental illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, then the general population.” Mind-Body Health and Stress Tolerance ~ by David Jameson

We’ll be discussing bipolar in great length in the next article on this blog.

One of the most important nutritional supplements for neurological problems is essential fatty acids (EFA’s). That’s because our brain is made up of mostly lipids (fats),and EFAs aid in brain development. It is best to get the wild, triple fish oils as well as flaxseed, evening primrose and borage oil. All these have shown to help decrease inflammation and increase feelings of well-being.  Calcium and magnesium are also useful for their calming effect on the nervous system. Grape seed extract is a powerful antioxidant and protects the cells of the brain and body. The dosage depends on the size and age of your child. Follow directions on the labels.

POOR MUSCLE TONE

I’ve included this as a health issue as both my sons suffered with muscle spasms, clumsiness, jerkiness, muscle tension and lack of coordination as children. They frequently fell, tripped or bumped into things and people. Poor muscle tone can interfere with the circulation and lymph flow of the body causing muscle weakness, extreme fatigue, indifference, constipation, and lack of feeling. This can also create problems in the intestines, causing bacteria, gas, leaky gut and candida to grow.

‘Leaky gut’, allows undigested food particles from the intestines into the bloodstream that normally wouldn’t get through—the body sees these particles as invaders and attacks them. If these particles resemble molecules of your own body, then the immune system can start attacking them—as in the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This form of the body attacking the body is quite possibly the most common cause of thyroid problems. The pattern begins with an overproduction of thryoxine and as the ‘attacks’ become more frequent, then the thyroxine levels drop, leaving you hypothyroid.

“Muscles absorb and respond to tensions and feelings.  If they do not relax sufficiently following stress, then the tension accumulates and causes deeper, long-lasting damage. If this continues over a period of time, the muscles become set and fixed in this restricted form. This is where you “hold” issues, emotions and trauma.  Frozen anger, fear, or grief creates a kind of body armour, which further blocks and holds back feelings, locking the musculature into fixed positions…

The muscles enable all the bodily systems to function, such as circulation, digestion, breathing, and nerve impulses.  Their freedom of movement is essential for optimum health. When the muscles are restricted…your energy will be unable to flow smoothly…Stress release and emotional expression are therefore essential for muscle ease. Exercise is also vital–it not only releases muscular tension but psycho/emotional tension as well.” YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND ~ Deb Shapiro

 ANXIETY AND STRESS

When the brain’s blood supply is redirected for ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ in the body, our logic center or creative center simply shuts down. With the shutdown, the synchronization of brain function is lost and we cannot ‘think’ clearly. Anxiety and stress can also cause a number of physical symptoms such as: high blood pressure and hyper-intense muscles, leading to stiffness, clumsiness and aching limbs and joints.   Increased muscular tension is also an aspect of the flight/fight reflex which is associated with an increase of adrenalin/epinephrine fueled by the adrenalin glands.

The sympathetic nervous system is often referred to as the “fright, fight or flight” system—when these nerves are stimulated it’s usually because something is seen as a danger, epinephrine (adrenaline) is then secreted by the adrenal glands. When epinephrine levels are high in the blood we experience pounding heartbeats, shivering, sweats, trembling legs, dry mouth, and shallow rapid breathing. Mentally we feel completely ‘wound up’ and in some cases anger or the feeling of losing control.

Aspies have a highly reactive sympathetic nervous system When out of power Aspies can become frightened and disoriented and in their effort to orient themselves may turn to addictive substances such as alcohol and drugs. They may berate themselves later because in truth they are extremely health conscious except when taken suddenly off balanced.

When we lack faith in ourselves, we find ourselves repeating patterns and continually living to the beliefs and habits we rigidly rely on and cling to for familiarity.   In this day and age, the pace of change is picking up and many of us, in an effort to control our lives are finding it increasingly overwhelming. No matter how slow or fast, life never stops changing and changes are necessary steps, allowing us to move forward and reshape ourselves.

Our need to do, to succeed, and to accomplish is often a deeper need to feel loved and accepted. Aspies are great achievers; they’re extremely good at focusing what is important to them. These people need to seek and find supportive environments that will honor their brilliant remarkable minds. In turn, Aspies need to devote time to slowing down and observing their reactions/tensions and using them as messages to learn more about themselves.  They also need to realign their values and focus on ways that their goals are not just about them but in helping to improve the quality of other people’s lives.

REALIGNING YOUR VALUES

Aspies don’t always know what feelings their experiencing as they confront certain issues in their lives.  To remain physically relaxed, they need to stretch or do deep breathing throughout the day.  As an Aspie, you need to get plenty of exercise and lots of fresh air.  Disciplines like Karate, Aikido, Tia Chi, Yoga, etc., are excellent in keeping your body balanced.  Observe your tensions and use them as a message from which you can learn more about yourself.

If you feel frustrated, hurt or angry at someone’s response to what you’ve asked or said, don’t jump down their throat…step back in your mind, take a deep breath and examine your motivation for communication.   ask yourself “what is it I wanted from this exchange. How did I expect or want the person to respond? In this way, you learn more about yourself as well as giving the other the opportunity to learn more you and him or her self.

You need to become conscious of your expectations…focus more on the moment-to moment process and less on the end result.  Let TIME be your friend and not a constant opponent that you’re always fighting with.  Get lost in the moment and lift the pressure of your self-imposed deadlines and plan realistically, then do the best you can in each moment.

Concentrate on drawing your self-esteem and sense of identity from all that you are, rather than what you do.  See that what you do is only a partial expression of your energy.

Begin to look at your work in terms of how you can help others. By helping others you are also helping yourself to grow happier, freer and more relaxed and fully alive human being.  This in truth is what we all want.

The effects of these changes of attitude toward your life and work will be profound.  You’ll find yourself being more relaxed, flowing through your day without getting ruffled by the things that used to bother you.  You’ll be less tired with more energy to do the things you want to do.

MEDITATION

Meditation is a technique that will enable the mind and body to become quiet so we can focus our attention on the inner self. Ironically our search inward will ultimately lead us outward, past the self-centered preoccupations of the ego, to an openness with life.   If our entire focus were on ourselves we would eventually reach a dead end. But when we go off in search of our souls, we are going beyond the self, looking for more meaning than the limits of the self can provide. When we go past the ego, we open our perceptions to a greater scheme of things.

If we can learn to trust that a greater power than our own exists, and if we allow ourselves to go past our limitations, we will discover that we are capable of transcending the boundaries of the self and that we have a wealth of resources available to us. By using the power of faith to take us past the immediately obvious, into the realm of beyond, we will find a place where life is constantly in a dynamic state of change and growth and where our imagination is stronger than our will.

Links to follow….

Interview with Temple Grandin on autism http://www.autism-help.org/story-temple-grandin-autism.htm

Children and Asperger’s   http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/brain/asperger.html#a_Treating_Asperger_Syndrome

What does it mean to have Asperger’s Syndrome      http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/aspergers-diary/200804/what-does-it-mean-have-asperger-syndrome

Meditation for Asperger’s  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yvuylRojMg

Excellent article on Asperger’s  http://nymag.com/news/features/autism-spectrum-2012-11/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PROCESSED AND HIGHLY REFINED FOODS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IS INSULIN THE CULPRIT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OUR MAIN ENERGY SOURCES – THE THYROID, PANCREAS AND ADRENALS

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

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

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

THE THYROID CONTROLS BODY TEMPERATURE AND METABOLISM

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

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

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

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

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

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

STRESS WEIGHT-GAIN AND THE ADRENALS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cortisol can create a fearful, threatened feeling that over-stimulates our whole system. Unexplained muscle aches, chronic headaches, feeling hopeless or helpless and crying more than usual are signs of chronic overarousal. Anxiety coupled with cortisol has been known to cause unexplained heart palpitations, a nervous stomach, road rage and short temperedness.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHRONIC ILLNESS, STRESS AND DEPRESSION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOW STOMACH ACID

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

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

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

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

DO WOMEN SUFFER DEPRESSION MORE THAN MEN?

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

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

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

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

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

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

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

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

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

HEALING DEPRESSION NATURALLY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

YOUR FOOD IS YOUR MEDICINE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOODS YOU SHOULD EAT

Fresh fruit and dried fruit

Fresh vegetables

Fruit or vegetable juices

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

Nuts and seeds

Beans and legumes

Whole grains and cereals

Whole grain bread

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

Herbal teas and coffee substitutes

Tofu and other soy products

Milk and dairy products in moderation

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

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

PHYTOCHEMICALS/PHYTONUTRIENTS AND ANTIOXIDANTS

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

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

What Colorful Foods Are You Eating

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

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

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

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

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

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

NATURAL ANTIDEPRESSANTS

*This has been repeated from DEPRESSION PART III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AROMATHERAPY (Aromatic Anti-Depressants)

Grapefruit – sweet citrus fragrance, very uplifting and antidepressant

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

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

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

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

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

GREAT LINKS

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

Chronic illness can cause depression – emotional pain as a weakness

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

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

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

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

Gastrointestinal Disease can cause depression

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

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

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

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

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