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Psycho-somatic Effect / Stress

Each day brings us a chance to define our lives
 -- who we are and who we want to be.

                         By balancing Mind and Body we can determine our destiny.

anger jealousy frustration sadness nervousness

Anger and sadness are inevitable in your life.

Fear and guilt play an important role in shaping behavior.

Achievement & disappointment are part & parcel of a professionals life.

Of course its not possible to completely eliminate emotions from your life.
This link will help you understand the impact of unhealthy negative thought patterns on your physical and mental health. It will also help you to make a critical distinction between normal feelings and the harmful ones caused by a frenetic modern culture and bad individual life style choices.

The mind and the body are linked.
How you feel emotionally can determine how you feel physically.
“Bitterness only hurts oneself. If you hate you will give them your heart and mind. Don’t give those two things away.”
  Nelson Mandela
     (When asked how he survived years of imprisonment without growing bitter)
The diagrams given below show the hypothalamic-pituitary axis and how certain emotions induce / release of hormones into the physical body, triggering the development of a host of diseases.
hpa-axis The hypothalamus is the small cone-shaped structure within the brain that plays a central role in controlling our autonomous nervous system (ANS), responsible for regulating homeostatic metabolic processes in the body. Examples of homeostatic processes include sleeping, eating, thirst, blood pressure, body temperature, and electrolyte balance. The hypothalamus is located under the thalamus, one of the most evolutionarily ancient parts of the human brain, which is located directly at its center.

The hypothalamus controls the nervous system by synthesizing and releasing neurohormones at regular intervals. Different neurohormones represent distinct signals to the rest of the nervous system. The hypothalamus serves as an interface between the limbic system, endocrine system, and the autonomous nervous system.
As part of the endocrine system that regulates hormones, the pituitary gland controls many of the other glands through secretion. Our "master gland," the pituitary makes some hormones, but also acts as an intermediary between the brain and other endocrine glands. Our hormones and the pituitary gland accomplish many homeostatic and specialized functions, like bone growth and uterine contractions.

Neurons carry messages regarding the production of hormones between the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. Both are located at the base of the brain, nestled in a rounded part of bone, carefully protected. They are connected by a bunch of neurons called the infundibulum. Together, they work to regulate all the hormones that circulate in the bloodstream, controlling things like growth and hair pigmentation. Hormones are the long-distance messangers that can inform cells when to become active or stay dormant. The pituitary gland controls the thyroid, adrenal glands, ovaries and testes, even though it's only the size of a pea.

There are different parts of the pituitary gland that have selective functions. The posterior lobe, called the neurohypophysis, releases the hormones vasopressin and oxytocin, but doesn't produce them. Vasopressin is an anti-diuretic that controls how the kidneys absorb water. Oxytocin is a special hormone only present during childbirth to speed contractions.

The anterior lobe of the pituitary gland is called the adenohypophysis. It produces a variety of hormones, such as prolactin that stimulates lactation in women. Melanocyte spurs the body to produce melanin for skin and hair pigmentation. Follicle-stimulating hormone indicates where and when hair should grow during development. The very important growth hormone controls bone growth to determine height, especially active during adolescence. Hormones control glands as well. The thyroid reacts to thyrotropin, the adrenal glands are stimulated by adrenocorticotropin, and the sex glands are affected by luteinizing hormone. The pituitary gland is responsible for many stages and aspects of our maturation.

What is stress?

It is fashionable to use the word stress whenever “something unpleasant happens”. A busy executive says I am highly stressed out about the meeting, an over worked housewife in a bad mood remarks “I am tense – stressed out”. We all talk regularly about being under stress.

Dr Hans Selye has defined stress as the non-specific response of the body to any demand made on it. Stress is the state you are in and not the agent that produces it which is called as the stressor.

The effects of stress on the body are numerous and are risk factors for a number of medical conditions. However, a small amount of stress, especially in a dangerous situation can have certain beneficial consequences. One frequently reads of people who are able to do extraordinary things under stress, like lifting cars to free trapped children. Constant, or chronic stress, on the other hand, is often associated with health risks instead of benefits.

When one experiences stress, there are immediate effects on the body. The brain begins to produce higher levels of hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and cortisone. It also halts the production of chemicals like dopamine and growth hormone. These latter hormones, especially dopamine, are necessary for mood balance.

Other effects of stress on the body include an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and a redirection of blood flow to the muscles and brain. Normal digestive patterns tend to slow down because less blood flow is directed to the digestive tract. Chemicals that help form platelets also are released, and one may note perspiration, and tense muscles as effects of stress.

Stress doesn’t merely occur in bad or dangerous situations, but also occurs in happy or exciting situations. For example, a ride on a fast rollercoaster quickly puts the body into a stressed out state, even if one enjoys the ride. Warnings on exciting rides about not riding the rollercoaster if one has heart conditions are there for good reason. It may not be a good idea to stress the heart with a suddenly elevated heart rate and the greater risk of developing blood clots. This could lead to sudden fatal arrhythmias, heart attack or stroke.

There are also cumulative effects of stress on the body. The longer and the more frequently one experiences stress, the more likely one will start having health problems. Some long-term effects of stress include: disruption of sleep patterns, headaches, stomachaches, weight gain or weight loss, and accumulation of fat around the abdomen. Some studies have focused on how the hormone cortisol tends to stimulate fat storage around the stomach. Even more serious are the facts that chronic stress can lead to poor heart health, high blood pressure, and increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

Effects of stress on the body can also lead people to coping strategies that worsen their stress and their health. For example, some people smoke, overeat, or abuse alcohol or drugs as a reaction to stress.
These strategies may seem to temporarily relieve stress, but they then contribute to overall poor health and risk factors for disease. Such methods of coping can snowball with stress into much higher risk factors for heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

People who deal with a high degree of stress may also develop certain conditions that are stress-based. Chronic stress can lead to persistent insomnia, panic attacks, and anxiety disorder. These long-term effects of stress can alter a person’s ability to function appropriately, to work effectively, or to fully participate in their lives. Further, in an effort to combat effects of stress, many turn to medication. However a spoonful of meditation is superior to a handful of medication!
Mind Body Connection : Influencing the Immune System


It was not until the 1970s, however, that documented evidence of a physiological link between the mind and body was firmly established. One of the earliest such came from a study of rodents in labs at the University Medical Center, and led to the development of a new, hybrid field of study now known as psychoneuroimmunology, generally (and mercifully) shortened to "PNI."

Felten's own big surprise happened in1981, at Indiana University School of Medicine, where he was then on the faculty. That was the day he and his team of researchers discovered a hard-wire connection between the body's immune system and the central nervous system under control of the brain.

Using special fluorescent stains to trace nerves to various bodily locations, including bone marrow, lymph nodes, and the spleen, the Felten team had discovered a network of nerves leading to blood vessels as well as cells of the immune system. The researchers also found nerves in the thymus and spleen terminating near clusters of lymphocytes, macrophages, and mast cells, all of which help control immune function.
Further research by the Rochester group has since documented the ways in which the brain sends signals to the immune system--by finding receptors on the surface of immune-system cells that act as keyholes to accept chemical neurotransmitters released by the nervous system, as well as identifying new "keys," neurotransmitters that would talk to cells of the immune system. A stimulus such as emotional stress can trigger the release of the nerve-fiber chemicals, which then tell the immune-system cells what to do.

The University Medical Center is now viewed by many as the primary site for the study of brain behavior and immunology," Felten says. "And not only are we in the forefront of research,
but we teach our doctors and nurses to treat patients as human beings, not just as slices of anatomy. I never heard the word 'healing' the whole time I was a medical student; here we don't just dismiss it that way.

If we pull the weed out of the ground a new crop grows in no time. When it comes to treating certain physical symptoms, we often just take off the 'top of the symptom'. Mankind has become smart or so it thinks so. We try to get rid of the immediate pain or to settle the immediate upset stomach or to immediately relieve the muscle cramps.

...... The problem comes back ... we again take the pills or liquid... The problem appears again .. another round of treatment is taken ..... and so on ... week after week and month after month and year after year. We constantly supress the symptoms with stronger and stronger medication, without understanding the root cause of the disease i.e. mental stress.
Simple superficial symptoms arising out of functional ailments become chronic. Slowely deeper pathology develops leading to the development of serious organic illnesses.

Gradually layers of stress are added one by one increasing the complexity of the disease. This is because we have not understood the ROOT of the local symptom and did not take a HOLISTIC view of the patient / person.
  arrow   back-pain

Dr John Sarno, a professor of clinical rehabilitative medicine at the New York University School of Medicine has treated thousands of patients of back pain. Dr Sarno wondered why the level of back pain in an individual did not match the severity of the pathology e.g. a severely herniated inter-vertebral disc would cause moderate pain whereas a back muscle spasm would cause severe pain. On questioning his patients he discovered that a whopping 88% of his patients had history of tension induced reactions. The back pain sufferers also experienced other symptoms like colitis, migraine, hay fever, eczema, sleep problems, etc.

On further research he found that stress / tension impacted the blood circulation to the back muscles causing the blood vessels to constrict, thus reducing the blood supply and oxygen to the tissues. This chronic ongoing constriction of the blood vessels produced another negative consequence - an accumulation of metabolic waste matter in the muscles. Ideally the waste matter is carried back to the kidneys and bowels for excretion but because of the constriction it accumulates.

Not only the lower back was affected, but other muscles of the body also showed signs of spasms. This made Dr Sarno conclude that the chronic back pain resulted from chronic mental stress, anxiety, suppressed anger and worry.

WHEN ONE EXPERIENCES STRESS, there are immediate effects on the body. The brain begins to produce higher levels of hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and cortisone. It also halts the production of chemicals like dopamine and growth hormone. These latter hormones, especially dopamine, are necessary for mood balance.

Other effects of stress on the body include an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and a redirection of blood flow to the muscles and brain. Normal digestive patterns tend to slow down because less blood flow is directed to the digestive tract. Chemicals that help form platelets also are released, and one may note perspiration, and tense muscles as effects of stress.
Happines in life   If this link has helped you to rise above devastating emotions (anger, fear, guilt, depression), and guides you to focus on four areas essential to emotional well-being : truth, forgiveness, peace and joy it would not only change your life but also save it.

Homeopathy and the Mind

The science of homeopathy understands the depths of the human mind and the effects our emotions have on the human body. Various mental states like fear, anger, hatred, jealousy, grief, etc. are understood and specific remedies are indicated. When a patient consults a homeopathic physician, a detailed case history involves understanding the intricacies of the human mind. Homeopathic remedies help in stabilizing the hypothalamic pituitary axis acting at the psycho-somatic level.

My assessment, every stressed out person in today’s hectic life wants his mind to be peaceful and attain happiness. Many of the common emotional stressors in life are anger, hatred, resentment, fear, guilt, shame, disappointment, etc. Most often a person realizes that the above stressors have affected his health only after he encounters a serious illness.

Someone suggests yoga and meditation, some others suggests physical exercises and walks, others say do Art of Living Courses. But unless a person understands the following points, no amount of meditation, yoga, walking can help.

Most people lament about the past, crib about the future and forget about the present (Swami Vivekananda) LIVE IN THE PRESENT.
Dr Marolia's understanding of the Art of Feeling, Behaving and Living in today's times.

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