This module outlines the effect stress has on the brain and its physical and emotional reactions
Let me explain the reaction that the brain has to stress. It's dark, your heading towards your car and you hear a noise, your
hair prickles, your heart beats faster and you begin to sweat, you feel your jaw tighten and you stiffen. You are now prepared
for fight or flight.
What happens inside your brain has a specific effect on the body's physiology. Now imagine you have just lost your job or
going into a job interview. You breath out and hold your breath, your heart starts to beat faster and you think how am I going
to pay the bills. You clench your jaw. Your muscles tighten ... Your brain does not distinguish a physical stress from an
emotional stress and it has the same reaction and effect on the body's physiology.
If you do not bring your body and brain back into balance you continue to carry the effect of the stressors in those organs.
The effects of stress and the longer the go untreated have been linked to the following symptoms.
Hypertension [high blood pressure] Headaches Ulcers Allergies Asthma Arthritis Backache Fatigue. Weight gain/loss, ulcerative
colitis, skin disorders, frequent colds, heart conditions, swallowing difficulties, dizziness, chest pains, heartburn, nausea,
stomach butterflies, cold sweats, neck aches, muscle aches and spasms, memory impairment, panic attacks, constipation diarrhea,
insomnia, anxiety attacks, depression, lethargy, distended stomach, irritability, migraine, hot flashes, loss of concentration,
moodiness, pelvic pain, fluid retention, food cravings, sweating, swelling of legs, breast tenderness, lowered libido, increase
in accidents and errors, acne, thirst outbreaks of aggression.
How many of us in the past have taken medication to stop the symptoms of any one of the above. While we cannot attribute
stress to be the 100% cause of the condition, it is still absolutely necessary to address your stress immediately. There are
many ways you can do this simply and naturally.
Hydroflexology is a combination of proven ancient therapies to relieve stress and stress related conditions.
The principles involved include hydrotherapy, reflexology, guided meditation and integrating Mayan healing techniques.
The use of earth tools such as green jade, river stones and crystals along with organic healing ointments and balms induce
your body to melt away it's aches and pains.
Heated seawater pads infused with papaya, dead sea mineral mud and omega 3 replace the mayan practice of heated leaves
The fight/flight response: The fight-or-flight response, also called the acute stress response, was first described by
Walter Cannon in 1929. His theory states that animals react to threats with a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous
system, priming the animal for fighting or fleeing.
This response was later recognized as the first stage of a general adaptation syndrome that regulates stress responses
among vertebrates and other organisms.
Biology of the Stress Response: Normally, when a person is in a serene, unstimulated state, the "firing" of
neurons in the locus ceruleus is minimal. A novel stimulus (which could include a perception of danger or an environmental
stressor signal such as elevated sound levels or over-illumination), once perceived, is relayed from the sensory cortex of
the brain through the thalamus to the brain stem.
Signalling increases the rate of noradrenergic activity in the locus ceruleus, and the person becomes alert and attentive
to the environment. Similarly, an abundance of catecholamines at neuroreceptor sites facilitates reliance on spontaneous or
intuitive behaviors often related to combat or escape.
If a stimulus is perceived as a threat, a more intense and prolonged discharge of the locus ceruleus activates the sympathetic
division of the autonomic nervous system (Thase & Howland, 1995).
This activation is associated with specific physiological actions in the system, both directly and indirectly through
the release of epinephrine (adrenaline) and to a lesser extent norepinephrine from the medulla of the adrenal glands. The
release is triggered by acetylcholine released from preganglionic sympathetic nerves.
The other major player in the acute stress response is the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.
Physiology of the Stress Response: These catecholamine hormones facilitate immediate physical reactions associated with a
preparation for violent muscular action. (Gleitman, et al, 2004).
These include the following:Acceleration of heart and lung action Inhibition of stomach and intestinal action Constriction
of blood vessels in many parts of the body Liberation of nutrients for muscular action Dilation of blood vessels for muscles
Inhibition of tear glands and salivation Dilation of pupil Relaxation of bladder
Psychology of the Stress Response: A typical example of the stress response is a grazing zebra, calmly maintaining homeostasis.
If the zebra sees a lion closing in for the kill, the stress response is activated. The escape requires intense muscular effort,
supported by all of the body's systems. The sympathetic nervous system's activation provides for these needs. A similar example
involving fight is of a cat about to be attacked by a dog.
The cat shows accelerated heartbeat, piloerection (hair standing on end, normally for conservation of heat), and pupil
dilation, all signs of sympathetic arousal.
Negative Effects of the Stress Response in Humans:
Although the emergency measure of the stress response is undoubtedly both vital and valuable, it can also be disruptive
and damaging. Most humans rarely encounter emergencies that require physical effort, yet our biology still provides for them.
Thus we may find our stress response activated in situations where physical action is inappropriate or even illegal. This
activation takes a toll on both our bodies and our minds.