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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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© POSITIVE reiki 2014 – 2015

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.

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What It Means To Have Blocked Energies

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A very good excerpt on what it means or feel like when our energy is blocked. Below contains examples where we can all relate to in various ways. Read on to understand more your source of energy.

Have you ever noticed that when you are mentally and emotionally drained, food doesn’t help that much? Conversely, if you look at the times in your life when you were in love, or excited and inspired by something, you were so filled with energy that you didn’t even want to eat. This energy we are discussing does not come from the calories your body burns from food. There is a source of energy you can draw upon from inside. It is distinct from the outer energy source.

How Your Energy Shifts
The best way to examine this source of energy is to look at an example. Let’s say that you’re in your twenties and your girlfriend or boyfriend breaks up with you. You get so totally depressed that you start staying home alone. Soon, because you don’t have the energy to clean up, everything ends up sprawled all over the floor. You can hardly get out of bed, so you just sleep all the time. You must be eating, because there are pizza boxes lying all around. But nothing seems to help. You just have no energy. Your friends invite you out, but you decline. You are simply too tired to do anything[…]”
“Most people have been there at some time in their lives. You feel that you have no way out, and it seems like you will stay there forever.

Then suddenly, one day, the phone rings. It’s your girlfriend. That’s right, the one who dumped you three months ago. She’s crying as she says, “Oh, my God! Do you remember me? I hope you’ll still talk to me. I just feel so terrible. Leaving you was the worst mistake I ever made. I see now how important you are to me, and I can’t live without you. The only real love I ever felt in my life was during the time we were together. Would you please forgive me? Could you ever forgive me? Can I come over and see you?”
Now how are you doing? Seriously, how long does it take you to get enough energy to jump out of bed, clean up the apartment, take a shower, and get some color back in your face? It’s practically” “instantaneous. You’re filled with energy the moment you hang up the phone. How does this happen? You were completely drained. For months and months, you had no energy. Then out of nowhere, in a matter of seconds, there is so much energy it blows you away.

Sudden Burst of Energy
You can’t just ignore these enormous shifts in your energy level. Where exactly did all that energy come from? There was no sudden change in your eating or sleeping habits. Yet when your girlfriend comes by, you end up talking all night and going out to see the sunrise in the morning. You’re not tired at all. You’re together again and you’re holding hands and these rushes of joy just won’t stop overwhelming you. People see you and they remark that you look like a bundle of light. Where did all this energy come from?
What you’ll see, if you watch carefully, is that you have a phenomenal amount of energy inside of you. It doesn’t come from food and it doesn’t come from sleep. This energy is always available to you. At any moment you can draw upon it. It just wells up and fills you from inside. “When you’re filled with this energy, you feel like you could take on the world. When it is flowing strongly, you can actually feel it coursing through you in waves. It gushes up spontaneously from deep inside and restores, replenishes, and recharges you.

Why You Don’t Feel The Energy Anymore
The only reason you don’t feel this energy all the time is because you block it. You block it by closing your heart, by closing your mind, and by pulling yourself into a restrictive space inside. This closes you off from all the energy. When you close your heart or close your mind, you hide in the darkness within you. There is no light. There is no energy. There is nothing flowing. The energy is still there but it can’t get in.

Blocked Energy
That is what it means to be “blocked.” That is why you have no energy when you’re depressed. There are centers within that channel your energy flow. When you close them, there is no energy. When you open them, there is. Although various energy centers exist within you, the one you intuitively know the most about opening and closing is your heart. Let’s say that you love somebody, and you feel very open in their presence. Because you trust them, your walls come down allowing you to feel lots of high energy. But if they do something you don’t like, the next time you see them you don’t feel so high. You don’t feel as much love. Instead, you feel a tightness in your chest. This happens because you closed your heart. The heart is an energy center, and it can open or close. The yogis call energy centers chakras. When you close your heart center, energy can’t flow in. When energy can’t flow in, there’s darkness. Depending upon how closed you are, you either feel tremendous disturbance or overwhelming lethargy. Often people fluctuate between these two states. If you then find out that your loved one didn’t do anything wrong, or if they apologize to your satisfaction, your heart opens again. With this opening you get filled with energy, and the love starts flowing again.

How many times have you experienced these dynamics in your life? “You have a wellspring of beautiful energy inside of you. When you are open you feel it; when you are closed you don’t. This flow of energy comes from the depth of your being. It’s been called by many names. In ancient Chinese medicine, it is called Chi. In yoga, it is called Shakti. In the West, it is called Spirit. Call it anything you want. All the great spiritual traditions talk about your spiritual energy; they just give it different names. That spiritual energy is what you’re experiencing when love rushes up into your heart. That is what you’re experiencing when you’re enthused by something and all this high energy comes up inside of you.

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The Energy Belongs To You
You should know about this energy because it’s yours. It’s your birthright, and it’s unlimited. You can call upon it any time you want. It has nothing to do with age. Some eighty-year-old people have the energy and enthusiasm of a child. They can work long hours for seven days a week. It’s just energy. Energy doesn’t get old, it doesn’t get tired, and it doesn’t need food. What it needs is openness and receptivity. This energy is equally available to everybody. The sun does not shine differently on different people. If you’re good, it shines on you. If you did something bad, it shines on you. It’s the same with the inner energy. The only difference is that with the inner energy, you have the ability to close up inside and block it. When you close, the energy stops flowing. When you open, all the energy rushes up inside of you. True spiritual teachings are about this energy and how to open to it.”

If you have experienced or are experiencing any of the blocked energies, understand that Reiki can help with releasing the blockages.

Read more on Chakras, Colors and What they mean.

Excerpts From the Book: Jefferson A. Singer. “The Untethered Soul.” New Harbinger

 

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Quiz: Are Your Chakras Blocked? Experiencing health problems or feeling stuck?

It could be a sign that one of your seven major chakras is blocked.

Chakra is a Sanskrit word that means “wheel.” In traditional Eastern medicine, it is believed that the body contains seven major “energy wheels” or chakras. They are responsible for keeping your mental, physical and spiritual health in balance. If you’re experiencing health problems, it could be a sign that a specific chakra is blocked. See the following quiz to find out which chakras might be causing you issues.

 

Root Chakra

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When your Root Chakra is blocked you are more susceptible to colon issues, lower back pain, varicose veins and emotional issues around money and survival.

  • Do you tend to get constipated easily?
  • Do you often feel fatigued?
  • Would others describe you as “ungrounded” or “spacey”?

If you answered, “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a blocked Root Chakra.

 

Sacral Chakra

539657_418423854913242_500971289_nYou can identify a blocked Sacral Chakra by infertility issues, hip pain, sexual dysfunction and arthritis.

  • Do you have problems with you reproductive organs, such as painful menstruation?
  • Do you feel like your creativity is blocked?
  • Do you wish your sex life was different?

If you answered, “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a blocked Sacral Chakra.

 

 

Solar Plexus Chakra

willpowerYou are more likely to have stomach issues, ulcers, liver issues, eating disorders and a lack of confidence when you’re Solar Plexus Chakra is blocked.

  • Do you have problems with digestion?
  • Do your blood sugar levels fluctuate easily?
  • Do you struggle with issues surrounding will power or self-esteem?

If you answered, “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a blocked Solar Plexus Chakra.

 

Heart Chakra

healing-heart1If you have a blocked Heart Chakra you should look out for heart problems, asthma, allergies and lung disease.

  • Do you have heart disease or high blood pressure?
  • Is it difficult for you to empathize with someone who is going through a difficult time?
  • Does intimacy frighten you?

If you answered, “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a blocked Heart Chakra.

 

Throat Chakra

1310bThe Throat Chakra affects your ability to communicate and can contribute to thyroid issues, as well as esophageal and mouth problems when blocked.

  • Do you have thyroid problems or do you get a sore throat easily?
  • Is it hard for you to express how you feel?
  • Do you feel like your mind and hear live in two different worlds?

If you answered, “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a blocked Throat Chakra.

 

Third Eye Chakra

7917360_f520Your Third Eye Chakra influences the pituitary gland, hormone levels, eyesight, intelligence and intuition.

  • Do you have headaches?
  • Do you have a tendency to have hormonal imbalances or get depressed?
  • Do you have poor intuition?

If you answered, “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a blocked Third Eye Chakra.

 

Crown Chakra

fibromyalgia_RF5468731_sleep-issuesA blocked Crown Chakra can cause spiritual discomfort and insomnia.

  • Do you have difficulty with your sleep/wake cycles?
  • Is it difficult to meditate?
  • Do you feel disconnected from your own body as well as others?

If you answered, “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a blocked Crown Chakra.

 

 

If your experiencing any of above symptoms, you may benefit from a Reiki Crystal healing treatment. Contact info@positivereiki.com for a free consultation.

1400536116237

 

 

 

Original quiz from Dr. Oz