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Stress and immunity – What You Should Know and Do

Stress and immunity – What You Should Know and Do

How exactly does stress from the mind end up affecting the immune system?

“Some kinds of stress — very short-term, that last only a matter of minutes — actually redistribute cells in the bloodstream in a way that could be helpful,” says Suzanne Segerstrom, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky who has conducted studies on stress and the immune system. “But once stress starts to last a matter of days, there are changes in the immune system that aren’t so helpful. And the longer that stress lasts, the more potentially harmful those changes are.”

The fight-or-flight response (short-term stress) goes something like this: When a villager in Africa sees a lion charging at him, for example, the brain sends a signal to the adrenal gland to create hormones called cortisol and adrenaline, which have many different effects on the body, from increasing heart rate and breathing to dilating blood vessels so that blood can flow quickly to the muscles in the legs. Besides helping him run away, this type of acute stress also boosts the immune response for three to five days (presumably to help him heal after the lion takes a swipe at him).

When humans experience stress, our bodies react the same way that animals’ bodies do. Once the lion is gone, a zebra or gazelle’s stress level will return to normal, but humans have more trouble getting back to our routines after a stressful event, whether it’s a car accident or a divorce. We’ll think about it, dream about it, and worry about it for a long time, and that sets us up for long-term problems, says Robert M. Sapolsky, a Stanford University stress expert and author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.

Over time, continually activating the stress response may interfere with the immune system. How this affects your disease risk, Sapolsky suggests, depends partly on your risk factors and your lifestyle, including your degree of social support.

Was Grandma right?

immunity-boost-MINIAs we have seen, many studies show that stress can impact different facets of the immune system. Some suggest that stress slows recovery from illness or makes us more likely to catch colds. But can stress actually make us sick, or shorten our lifespans? Our immune systems are so complicated, and a person’s immune response affected by so many factors, it’s understandably a difficult area of study. In addition, it’s hard to find stressed-out volunteers willing to expose themselves to viruses to see if they’ll get sick or not.

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In the meantime, there is enough evidence to convince us that we should find healthy ways to keep our stress levels down, which is advice we got from our grandmothers: Eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep. Start boosting your immunity with this easy guide.  In addition, we now have ample evidence that methods of avoiding or decreasing stress promote cardiovascular health and wellness. Breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, socialization, Qi-gong and Tai-Chi are just a few of the methods that have been proven to enhance quantity of life by managing stress. Try alternative therapies such as Reiki to help you restore calmness into your life.  Create a positive energy space with this unique Healing Lavender Spray and be in harmony with the art of zen living.

“Stress is inevitable,” Spiegel says. “The trick is to learn to manage it, to find some aspect of our stress and do something about it. Don’t think in terms of ‘all or nothing’ but in terms of ‘more or less.’ ”

References

Full Article from Consumer Health Today

Immunity Boosting Guide

Mind Body Green

Interview with David Spiegel, MD, Stanford University

Interview with Suzanne Segerstrom, PhD, University of Kentucky

Suzanne C. Segerstrom et al. “Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry.” Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 130, No. 4, 2004.

Ronald Glaser et al. “Stress-induced immune dysfunction: implications for health,” Nature Reviews: Immunology, Vol. 5, March 2005.

Robert M. Sapolsky. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, Third Edition. Owl Books, New York, NY. 2004.

Sephton SE, et al. “Diurnal Cortisol Rhythm as a Predictor of Breast Cancer Survival,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), Vol 92; No. 12. June 21, 2000.

Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser et al. “Chronic stress and age-related increases in the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Vol. 100; No. 15. July 22, 2003.

Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser et al. “Hostile Marital Interactions, Proinflammatory Cytokine Production, and Wound Healing.” Archives of General Psychology, Vol. 62, Dec. 2005.

Ronald Glaser et al. “Chronic stress modulates the immune response to a pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine,” Psychosomatic Medicine, 62:804-807 (2000).

Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser et al. “Chronic stress alters the immune response to influenza virus vaccine in older adults,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Vol. 93. April 1996.

Julie M. Turner-Cobb et al. “Social Support and Salivary Cortisol in Women With Metastatic Breast Cancer,” Psychosomatic Medicine, 62:337-345 (2000).

Bruce S. McEwen. “Protective and Damaging Effects of Stress Mediators.” The New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 338:171-179.

S. Cohen, D.A. Tyrrell, and A.P. Smith. “Psychological stress and susceptibility to the common cold.” The New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 325:606-612

Tim Lee, PhD and Angela McGibbon, MD. Immunology Bookcase: Immunology for Medical Students. Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The Mayo Clinic. Stress: Constant stress puts your health at risk. September 11, 2010.

Graham JE, et al. Hostility and pain are related to inflammation in older adults. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 2006 Jul;20(4):389-400.

Alzheimers Association. Fact sheet: Anti-inflammatory therapy.

© 2014 – 2015 POSITIVE reiki.  All Rights Reserved

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8 Herbal Teas You Should Know About

Herbal teas are known for their refreshing flavour and calming properties. They are prepared either by mixing herbs with tea or by simply brewing the herbs. Besides being gentle and readily available, they are also associated with number medicinal and therapeutic properties. Here is a list of top 8 herbal teas with great health benefits you can brew and enjoy.


Peppermint tea

Peppermint tea is mild and is very refreshing. The main component of the tea is peppermint oil which contributes to all the therapeutic effects. The tea is rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium and contains very low calories. It is best known for its properties to soothe the stomach and promote digestion. A warm glass of peppermint tea can also help to effectively relieve nausea [1]. You can easily find dried peppermint leaves in ayurvedic stores and even in some drug store.

Steps to brew – For 1 cup peppermint tea:
In boiling water, put 2 tablespoons of dried peppermint leaves
Let it steep for 15-20 minutes and then strain
You can add some sweetener according to your taste and enjoy your hot cup of tea


Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea is mild and reviving. It is found very powerful to treat a number of maladies. It has sedative properties that can relieve both sleeplessness and anxiety. Here’s how you can deal with anxiety disorders. It has also been shown to be helpful in relieving skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema[2]. Dried chamomile flowers can be found in most grocery stores.
Steps to brew – For 1 cup chamomile tea:
In a cup of hot water, put 2-3 tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers
Allow it to infuse for a few minutes
With the help of a strainer, strain the liquid into another cup
You can add some honey or lemon juice according to your taste


Lemon balm tea

This herb belongs to the mint family and has been used for centuries to treat indigestion, anxiety and sleep disorders. This herb is good for the digestive system and is helpful in reducing flatulence and indigestion. Being antispasmodic in nature, it is also effective in easing menstrual cramps. Lemon balm is a medicinal plant and can be found in any ayurvedic store and or healthy supermarkets like Wholefoods or Choices.
Steps to brew – For 1 cup lemon balm tea:
Add a teaspoon of the dried herb into boiling water
Now steep it for 10-15 minutes and remove the leaves using a strainer
You can sweeten the tea with honey


Ginger tea

Ginger tea is known for its prized medicinal benefits. It is best known for its ability to fight nausea. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to relieve muscle soreness after exercise. Drinking ginger tea during periods can also be helpful in reducing menstrual pain.
Steps to brew – For 1 cup ginger tea:
Slice ginger into thin pieces
Now bring a cup of water to boil and add the ginger slices
Let it steep for 10 minutes, then strain the water to remove the ginger
Add honey or fresh lemon juice, as per preference
Alternately, you can also add some ginger to your tea leaves, steep for a few minutes and then strain.


Lavender tea

Lavender is known for its bright purple flowers and pleasant aroma. Lavender is an antidepressant, expectorant analgesic and an antiseptic. Lavender tea is primarily used to ease anxiety, insomnia, stress and depression. The tea is also good for relieving indigestion and nausea [3]. You can find Lavender tea in most health food stores like Finlandia or Wholefoods.

Steps to brew – For 1 cup lavender tea:
Bring a cup of water to boil and put 2 tablespoons of dried lavender flowers
Now allow it to steep for good 4-5 minutes
Strain and serve the lavender tea with honey or sliced lemon
Lavender tea bags are also a convenient way to enjoy lavender tea.


Lemongrass tea

Lemongrass tea has a strong lemony fragrance. Lemongrass contains a lot of volatile oils that are rich in antioxidants and can protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to reduce pain in conditions such as arthritis. Lemongrass tea leaves are easily available at grocery stores. Dried lemongrass can also be found in ready-to-use tea bags from stores.
How to brew – For 1 cup lemongrass tea:
Add 2 tablespoons of tea leaves in boiling water
Steep it for 10 minutes until the tea becomes golden-brown in colour
Strain and add honey to the tea if you have a sweet tooth


Rosehip Tea
Rosehip is the fruit of rose plant that is typically red or orange in colour. It not only has beauty benefits, but it can also ward off many diseases. Being rich in vitamin C and flavonoids, rosehip tea has good antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can play a role in preventing arthritis, heart diseases and cancer. It is also a rich source of vitamin A which is an immune system booster [4]. You can find rosehip fruit in stores. You can also directly brew the Lipton rosehip tea if you can’t find the fruit.
Steps to brew – For 1 cup rosehip tea:
Boil a cup of water in a bowl and place a handful of dried rosehips in the bowl of boiling water
Leave the rosehips in the boiled water and let it steep for 10-15 minutes
Strain the water and drink the tea immediately before it gets cold


Sources:
Original article
[1] Tate S. Peppermint oil: a treatment for postoperative nausea. J Adv Nurs. 1997Sep;26(3):543-9. PubMed PMID: 9378876.[2] Srivastava, J. K., Shankar, E., & Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with
[2] Srivastava, J. K., Shankar, E., & Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Molecular Medicine Reports, 3(6), 895–901. doi:10.3892/mmr.2010.377[3] Moss M, Cook J, Wesnes K, Duckett P. Aromas of rosemary and lavender
[3] Moss M, Cook J, Wesnes K, Duckett P. Aromas of rosemary and lavender essential oils differentially affect cognition and mood in healthy adults. Int J Neurosci. 2003 Jan;113(1):15-38. PubMed PMID: 12690999.
[4] Roman, I., Stănilă, A., & Stănilă, S. (2013). Bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of Rosa canina L. biotypes from spontaneous flora of Transylvania. Chemistry Central Journal, 7, 73. doi:10.1186/1752-153X-7-73



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Healing the Female Reproductive Tract – Whole Food Eating Guide

[veggies] [fruit] [beans & legumes] [grains]  [pcos] [pms] [nuts & seeds] [fats & oils] [fish]….what to do?

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Holistic healing for your body is not only through the mind and spirit.  It has a lot to do with your whole life style and the choices that you make.  What you eat, the activities you choose, your mindset, your energy, the people you are with….

Healing needs to happen in the mind and soul first before the physical body.  Whole body healing is a great deal also about what you eat.

Your body’s cells depend on the food you eat to reproduce, repair, and thrive.  Whole food makes ‘whole, healthy’ cells.  Processed, refined package foods, and junk fast foods (think Supersize Me, a documentary movie on the ills of fast food eating & living) create cells that are degenerated, and less healthy than the original parents cell.  A lifetime of non-whole food eating and your cells have progressively degenerated many, many, many times.  This is degenerative disease.

Read this interesting article here about grouping of whole foods – Your Whole Food Eating Guide: http://wisewomenredtent.com/2014/05/27/healing-the-female-reproductive-tract/