and each one is perceived by the body in the same way – a threat to survival that activates the fight or flight system.
Charles Gant, MD, Phd and Robert Sapolsky, PhD believe there are (at least) 12 different kinds of stress and while not all of them can be improved with reflexology, you’ll be surprised by how many of them can!
1. Emotional stress – this is the form of stress most people are familiar with and what comes to mind when they think of the term. This may include loss of any kind like a divorce or break up, loss of a job, loss of abilities or characteristics, depression, conflict in relationships, financial struggles, internal conflict, dysfunctional or toxic relationships, employment issues etc.
2. Cognitive stress – unrealistic demands or expectations for yourself and/or your life, trying to live up to expectations of others, keeping up with the Joneses, seeing the glass half empty, catastrophizing or awfulizing.
3. Sensory stress – chronic pain, loud noise, constant stimulation from external sources.
4. Metabolic stress – caused by various conditions and syndromes, too much exercise, pH, blood sugar, hypoglycemia.
5. Toxic stress – from environmental toxins. It includes things like heavy metal toxicity, amalgam fillings, mercury in your food, air pollution, electrosmog, pesticides, herbicides, mold mycotoxins, disinfectants, perfume, air fresheners etc.
6. Immune stress – food allergies or sensitivities, inflammation, autoimmune disorders.
7. Endocrine and neurotransmitter stress – adrenal glands, corticosteroids, thyroid disorders, hormonal imbalances, menopause, andropause, insulin, dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA etc.
8. Purposelessness stress – Lack of meaning and purpose in life, inability to find gratitude, lack of love and empathy, loss of self.
9. Infectious stress – Candida, parasites, viruses, bacteria, Lyme I guess we can add Covid19 to the list.
10. Oxidative stress – veins and arteries, emphysema, lack of fresh air, sleep apnea, phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification.
11. Energetic stress – electromagnetic fields from cell phones, electronics etc., geopathic.
12. Structural stress – long-term postural compensations, TMJD, physical trauma, etc.
If you hold a glass full of water for a few minutes you’ll feel fine but if you try holding the same glass of water for a long period or even 24/7, you will find it impossible. The same applies to stress.
If you experience only one or two stressors in the list above, your sympathetic nervous system will deal with the situation at hand and you return to the parasympathetic state. However, the more stressors and the longer period you have to deal with in your life, the more your sympathetic nervous system is activated. When your total stress load, which is the sum of all your stressors added together, becomes too high then dysautonomia occurs.
Here’s a fly-by on the stress response:
• The Locus Ceruleus in the brainstem is the “start” button for the fight or flight system. It releases norepinephrine/noradrenaline anytime stress of any kind is detected. All of this takes place in a part of the brain called the limbic system.
• This triggers the amygdala which triggers the hypothalamus. The amygdala prompts feelings of anxiety and fear.
• The hypothalamus then releases CRH, which stimulates the pituitary.
• The pituitary release ACTH to stimulate the adrenal glands.
• The adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol.
Although norepinephrine is crucial for our survival and proper brain function, in excess it becomes toxic.
High levels of norepinephrine in the brain result in fear, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia and inability to relax, while adrenalin triggers the liver to dump its sugar reserves into the bloodstream.
High levels of sugar in the blood steam alert the pancreas to release high levels of insulin. High levels of insulin in the blood stream on an ongoing basis lead to many degenerative health conditions like insulin resistance, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many more.
Getting regular reflexology treatments can help your body.
During a reflexology treatment, a person moves from the Sympathetic Nervous state to the Parasympathetic Nervous state and that’s when the body’s natural healing abilities kick in and the body begins to move closer to balance. Blood pressure reduces, cortisol levels drop, heart beat regulates and the central nervous system relaxes. The mind becomes quiet, tension in the body releases and we start to feel rejuvenated, recharged and restored.
Breathwork and deep breathing exercises are one of the most effective tools you can find for assistance in restoring balance to the autonomic nervous system. With our breath we can use our voluntary nervous system to influence our involuntary nervous system. We can turn off the sympathetic nervous system and turn on the parasympathetic simply by changing our patterns of breathing and also stimulate the feel good, relaxing alpha brain waves and neurotransmitters like endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, which is why my unique breathing exercises are a major part of my guided hand reflexology sessions.
Credit: In touch, Erik Dalton