A Holistic Approach to Stress

Did you know that emotional stress is considered one of the six leading causes of death alongside cancer, coronary heart disease, accidental injuries, respiratory disorders, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide? Stress is defined as a change in physiological state that is characterized by increased heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, muscle tension, and release of hormones and insulin. These changes in the body occur in response to perceived threats or changes in one’s daily life. Several studies have shown that chronic stress impacts every system of the body and that 75% of all doctors’ visits arise from stress-related symptoms. Stress often manifests through the body in the form of headaches, back pain, heart problems, digestive issues, and sleep problems. The elevated cortisol levels associated with stress also exert a suppressive effect on the immune system, which increases one’s susceptibility to illness or disease. At Natural Health Options, clients are offered a tool-kit for addressing stress. One way to measure stress levels is through Holmes and Rahe’s Stress Life Inventory or through Dr. Lynn Feinman’s Mind Body Assessment. After measuring one’s stress level, clients are taught various mind body practices to relieve their stress, including, breathing techniques, progressive relaxation/visualization, yoga, meditation, and exercise. Naturopathic interventions also include nutrients and herbs. Adequate intake of b vitamins and minerals like magnesium, which nourish the nervous system and calm the muscles of the body. Additionally, Herbal Nervines, like chamomile, and Herbal Adaptogens, such as ginseng, nourish the nervous system and help the body adapt to stress.