There is a very good reason why stress appears first on the list of conditions that we treat. If you have an interest in health and how it works, you already know that stress is an underlying and unifying mechanism behind nearly all our long term health problems.
Just look at the list of conditions we treat at Genesis Wellness:
After stress comes arterial disease. What role does stress play in arterial disease? Whether it be high blood pressure, ischaemic heart disease, poor circulation in the legs, or circulatory problems in the brain causing strokes of various kinds, there is clear evidence linking stress with all kinds of arterial disease.
Hormonal problems make a fascinating study. We are used to thinking of disorders either of the reproductive hormones, or of the thyroid gland, of growth related hormones, of insulin production, or of the function of the adrenal glands. Yet none of these hormonal systems operates in isolation. They are all related not only to one another, but to the overall controlling system, the system of psychoneuroendocrinoimmunology, in which all the control functions within the body are integrated in a purposeful homeodynamic system of self-regulation. Our response to stress is a huge modifying factor on how this system functions.
Digestive disorders are very fundamental to functional medicine. The GAPS (guts and psychology syndrome and its close relative, the guts and physiology syndrome), are potent causes of an astonishing number of inflammatory, degenerative, autoimmune and otherwise unexplainable health disorders. Imbalances of the intestinal bacterial population, maldigestion, the growth of inappropriate organisms in the gut (even very small numbers), reactions to the variety of foods, abnormal leakiness of the intestinal wall, and disorders of the movement of the gut wall, can have a profound effect on many aspects of functioning in distant and apparently unrelated parts of the body. Stress affects all aspects of digestive function. Enzyme secretion, intestinal motility, intestinal bacterial population, and many other factors are known to be influenced by emotions and states of mind. The rich supply of neurones within and around the intestines constitutes what in some quarters is called the third brain. In fact the gut and the heart have extensive and highly interconnected nervous systems in which the flow of information to and from the brain is very high and goes in all directions when everything is functioning healthily and well.
Chronic pain, pain that is no longer serving its purposeful function of drawing attention to a dangerous or problematic situation, requires intervention at multiple levels. The experience of pain produces an emotional stress response, which in many people aggravates and locks in the mechanisms producing the pain.
Over the years stress management and stress impact reduction have been shown to have a positive effect on longevity and on healthspan extension. Recent research, using a genetic test considered by many to be the ultimate biomarker of body ageing (telomere length testing) has demonstrated very clearly the very profound effect of stress as an accelerator of body ageing.
Our experience has been that the treatment of all these groups of illness (as well and enhancement of wellbeing and healthspan) is made easier, faster, more effective and more permanent if the stress component is addressed effectively.
Most people do not realize how big a role stress is playing in their illness, and more importantly, do not realize just how much benefit – even in purely physical health problems – they can receive from the mind-body stress impact reduction methods that we use.
And now for the really good news: A definition of stress which I find particularly useful goes as follows: “Stress is the body’s reaction to perception”. It is really exciting to discover how much we benefit from changing our perception of the factors that are stressing us, and totally releasing their capacity to affect us. Even more exciting is the recent research showing that the impact of stress on our bodies (measured in this case by thickening of arterial walls) is virtually abolished if our perception of stress itself and its dangers becomes a healthy one!
Mind-body methods of stress impact reduction are much faster, more consistent, and more potent than psychological and relaxation-based approaches. Our synthesis of some of the best of the best methods is a real revelation to those who experience it.
We cannot prevent life from giving you stressful experiences, but with the potent mind-body strategies that we teach, you can thrive in an extraordinary way in the face of whatever life throws at you.