9) ARTICLE - "Stress & health: wellness for body and mind" [2015.04.01]

Stress & health: wellness for body and mind

wellness, stress, reward, acupuncture, psychotherapy


Well being means for sure to manage stress conditions. Understanding what is stress, and how to prevent, is the first point. Then we should improve our life styles: such as diet and physical activity. Of course how we feel is important too, our surroundings and the related emotions. Some advanced techniques can always help: for example, acupuncture and psychotherapy.

More and more scientific studies and wellness systems are examining the interactions between stress and well being, and are trying to understand and to find some ways of treatment to be and stay at our best.
But what is stress? Stress is a physiological response that our body has in order to overcome a problem. It can lead to maximal parameters in order to fight at best during a particular occasion.
Of course it has biological bases: his central regulations take place in hypotalamus. The hormone released for such response is the CRH, that provoques the production and secretion of another hormone, the ACTH, from the pituitary to all our body. From that we have the production of cortisol, secreted by adrenal glands.
The effects of stress are a lot: at first we have an increase of the blood pressure, and of glycemia. Furthermore a chronical stress condition leads to toxicity: due to the hyperglicemia, and determined by the catabolic inbalance this can have as consequence, and a cellular oxydation (resposible even of cancers).
Another consequence is that the ormonal equilibrium disbalances toward stress hormones and not of physiological ones: deriving from that, the mood symptoms and the sexual and social dissatisfaction.
It is common known that the immunitary system is damaged by stress molecules: it can become both hyperactive and then disregulated. Many diseases are spreading in these dacedes: autoimmune diseases particularly (type 1 diabetes, reumathoid arthritis, celiac disease). Flogistic alterations are also found in depression, so psicho-neuro-immuno-endocrinology is becoming one of the sciences helping us understanding how we are.
Some studies are explaining how headache is related to a raised amout of request to our brain (with till a 300% blood flux in brain), that cannot always face to such conditions from a metabolic point of view and the disbalance leads to molecular lacks: acting on opioids could help (as the acupuncture headache preventive treatment contributes to demonstrate).
Even Mayo Clinic has focused the attention on the correlation between stress and many common and diffused diseases, such as: headache, gastric symptoms, some chest and heart disfunctions (called also “dysautonomia”), the trend to get colds and flus, psychological disregulations, being often angry and dissatisfied, have an unsatisfactory affective and sexual life.

The point to pay attention is that, by regulating our mind and ways of living, we can manage stress conditions, preventing them and solving them as well.
Acting on the REWARD system (neural pathways), that counteracts stress, can be done at many practical levels:
    DIET – many studies are done about sugar reduction or even deprivation: after 40 days rats see the first benefits in how they feel and behave with better blood parameters at first. We should avoid hypercalorical diets, and introduce always 1,5 liters of water at least; prefer vegetables and fruit, to guarantee the correct amount of fiber intake
    SLEEP – a good regular sleep is one of the main elements to improve to reduce the stress amount. We always say that 7 hours of sleep are a good quantity, or even more
    PHYSICAL ACTIVITY – doing a fitness training everyday for at least 45 minutes is good in inducing both relaxation and improvement of physical body shape (from which happiness). It is known that physical activity is good in the prevention of Alzheimer disease, and it acts both at a mental and somatic level
    RELAXATION TECHNIQUES – we can distress our mind with yoga sessions or tai chi trainings. Even meditation, in every form, is useful to relax mind and soul. Mental training could help particular needs, such as those of sport persons, based on both relaxation and visualization
Of course we could also manage stress consequences in great ways:
    ACUPUNCTURE – this very old system involves amazing theories developed through centuries in Asia (mainly in China, but also in Japan and Korea), and it is proved by the newest studies understanding how the stimulation of the opiate system, by needling specific cutaneous points, leads to a rebalancing of many molecules, particularly hormones and neurotransmitters
    PSYCHOTHERAPY – if well done, and taking in consideration the whole person, it can help you find a good mind approach to life after a stressful period (particularly if there are even body symptoms, that can be a physical expression of a more general spiritual bad feeling). Helping your psyche and mind will bring you more happiness, a better social life and a satisfying sexual life: of course love and sex are the main keys to see life in the right way, they bring to the increase of many molecules, such as oxytocin, that are related to how we approach to other people, and they of course also act at body level, by reducing pain and inflammation, and on the whole by improving how we feel and we are.

Maciocia, The foundations of chinese medicine

Dragoni D., Reward Pathway and Metabolism, Neuroscienze.net