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Stress – the link to illness

Stress has long been known to be a key factor in the development of illness, especially auto-immune diseases and those due to the body’s inflammatory responses mechanisms. Medicine.net.com recently reported on the findings of Dr Esther Sternberg. She describes a crucial link between the brain and the immune system. When the body is injured its sends signals in the form of hormones from the pituitary and adrenal glands to the hypothalamus – the part of the brain which controls the body’s stress response – and cortisol – the ‘stress hormone’ is released. Constant stress  can affect the body’s regulation of the immune system, making you more susceptible to acute illness caused by infection or bacteria and allowing the development of auto-immune diseases.

It’s important to recognise the signs of stress to be able to do something about it. Commons signs of stress include:

  • Disturbed sleep
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Aggressiveness
  • Poor memory
  • Reduced cognitive ability
  • Recurrent headaches
  • Loss or gain of appetite
  • Digestive problems
  • Muscle soreness
  • Skin rashes
  • Erratic heartbeat or chest pains
  • Recurrent coldsIf you think you are suffering from stress it is important to see a doctor.

Meditation – a treatment for stress

Meditation is a state of mind, a space where you can leave behind all your worries and anxieties and return to them more able to cope. There are many forms of meditation but common to each are the goals of physical and mental relaxation and a focus on the inner self – to distract you from what is going on in the outside world. Transcendental Meditation uses repetition of Sanskrit mantras as its focal point. Tai chi and Yoga meditation requires you to focus on your breathing as you perform a series of exercises or postures. Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction meditation might be of great interest to auto-immune disease sufferers as it was designed specifically to deal with pain. This technique requires you to control your breathing as you focus on every part of your body from your toes to the top of your head. If we can control stress through meditation we certainly consider it an anti-inflammatory exercise.

The link below takes you to Luis Hernandez’ journey of meditation.

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