THIS MONTH WE ARE FOCUSING ON
ADRENAL & KIDNEY HEALTH
Repetitive stress exposure can wreak havoc on our hard-working adrenal glands, situated atop our kidneys. Our adrenal glands are normally prepared to handle both eustress (positive stress or stress that makes us happy or feeling accomplished) and acute negative stress (short term stress in the form of trauma, fear/worry or excess physical/mental/emotional strain). When short term/acute stress becomes longer term or transitions into more of a chronic state due to a series of repetitive trauma and strain, this can lead to burnout if left untreated or unmanaged. Burnout can include extreme fatigue, over or under active thyroid, inability to perform regular daily tasks or work and eventually other health issues. Wherever your body happens to be the most vulnerable is where you will notice compromised health. If you have trouble digesting food and experience poor absorption due to a leaky gut, this can lead to a more serious form of irritable bowel syndrome. If you have a weak heart due to excess stress, this leaves you more at a risk for heart disease or attacks. Weak lungs can lead to problems such as asthma or chronic lung inflammatory diseases. If our stress is left unmanaged and adrenals are in overdrive too long, this leads to adrenal fatigue, which leaves us feeling bedraggled, exhausted, nervous energy causing poor sleep and digestive issues. Our health really works in a domino effect and when one system fails and is left untreated, the next body system starts to weaken and eventually begins to deteriorate as well.
Another issue that can happen when adrenal fatigue becomes chronic and you consistently ignore your body’s warning signals, is this vicious cycle can simply become a bad unconscious habit. Meaning even when there is no stress and therefore no need for the adrenals to respond, due to constantly being overworked previously, they go into the adrenaline mode regardless of stress present or not. This then leads to a cascade of issues and can also become a mental concern as there is “perceived” stress present which will cause the same physical symptoms as if the stressful event actually occurred. This instance is where mind/body work or support from a therapist can be very helpful in assisting with physical symptoms.
How do we know if we have adrenal fatigue?
Our adrenals respond to stress in three different ways: freeze, flight or fight. Maybe you’re having trouble getting motivated or even getting out of bed. This could be pure exhaustion or the body is in “freeze” mode, where fear or pressure is causing the body to simply shut down. Maybe you’re in “flight” mode, where you can’t stop doing everything and anything leading to overworking, wear and tear and no restoration for proper repair. Lastly, maybe you’re in the “fight” category, and you experience intense anger and irritability, leading to problems at work, relationship issues etc. If you feel like you have lots of energy but it’s hard for you to slow down and pause, your heart is racing and you find it difficult to be mindful about what you are doing before doing it, this “fake” energy (which is really just your adrenals pouring adrenaline into your body that feels like energy) can lead to severe burnout and eventually other health conditions. Constant adrenaline output leads to excess cortisol in the body and this leads to problems sleeping, weight gain, irritability and gut dysbiosis (unfriendly bacteria thrive on cortisol and invade our gut, overbearing the good friendly bacteria that we all desperately need to maintain good gut health and proper nutrient absorption). You may also be experiencing perceived stress, as explained above, that is causing you to respond with freezing, fleeing or fighting.
What can we do?
If any of the above resonates with you, do this simple experiment:
- Breathe slowly through your nose and exhale out your mouth (important to inhale via the nose, not the mouth).
- Breathe in for 4, hold, breathe out for 4, hold
- Repeat this cycle 5-10 times or until you feel your heart slow down and your muscles feel more relaxed
Chances are you will either feel calmer and more grounded, allowing you to be more mindful about what you say and do (HUGE relationship saver) or you may all of sudden feel very tired, and your body is finally calm enough to realize it’s actually exhausted and you need a much a needed nap.
Regardless of whether you are experiencing fight, flight or freeze mode, these steps in this order can help you move in the right direction and away from ill health:
1) MIND/BODY WORK
This can be as simple as slow deep breathing to start, as suggested above. You must do this throughout the day (minimum 3 times per day as a routine and whenever you notice you are in one of the above stress modes). If you find this too difficult or you can’t remember to do it, I suggest doing some work with a practitioner:
b. Counselling or Coaching – Claire De Boer – safehavenbc.com – now working at Salt
c. Somatic Yoga/Breath Work – Edi Spanier – edispanier.com – online group and in person private
2) STRES RELIEF/THERAPY
a. Sensory Deprivation/Floatation Therapy
– With 800-1000 pounds of Epsom salt, this therapy forces your muscles to relax inducing a deep restorative state of calm for the mind. An excellent method to restore your adrenal glands without any effort.
b. Massage Therapy
– There are so many types of massage from all over the world, choose whatever suits you best to take you away for an hour or two and let all the focus go to your hard-working body – our therapist at Salt Wellness uses special techniques to relax muscles and soothe the nervous system.
d. Halo (Salt) Therapy
– Use our Salt Bed to nurture your insides and outsides. The magnesium content will relax muscles, your digestive system and your mind. It will also produce better and longer sleep which expedites and aids all healing.
3) MINDFUL EXERCISE
a. Walking every day (Min 20 min up to an hour)
b. Somatic Yoga and Movement – Edispanier.com
c. Osteopathic approached Pilates – Karen Andelucci – Birthrightinvestment.com – group and private
d. Training with a rehabilitative specialist
e. Restorative or Yin yoga
f. Avoid intense exercise in the beginning – Focus on mindful exercise that you can do slowly.
g. Too tired to work out? – Use an infrared sauna to burn calories, detoxify excess cortisol and unfriendly bacteria, condition your heart with no effort cardio and ease tight and sore muscles.
Nourishing adrenal diet
Focus on foods that nourish the adrenals and kidneys. Kidneys process toxins for delivery via urine. When these get overloaded, we can experience toxifying symptoms. Detoxifying herbs such as dandelion help relieve the burden on the kidneys and assist in removing toxins from the body. Toxic build up also puts strain on our adrenals so the following diet can assist with both:
a. Herbal teas
– Such as RAW DANDELION tea for kidneys, chamomile, lemon balm, lavender or stress relief blends for adrenals (important to avoid caffeine as much as possible or limit; if using decaf, opt for swiss water processed to avoid chemicals in regular decaf)
b. Water water water
– Dilutes toxic waste in kidneys and helps flush them out faster; assists cells to heal more effectively and efficiently, helps with high blood pressure and muscle cramps
c. It is important to avoid the following so your adrenals and kidneys can heal:
- white sugar
- white flour
- fried food
- processed food
- fast food
- artificial sweeteners
d. Focus on the following to nourish and repair:
- lean meats (organic chicken, grass fed beef)
- fish (wild)
- eggs (organic)
- legumes (chickpeas, black beans, lentils)
- raw nuts and seeds (brazils, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds)
- leafy greens and colorful vegetables (in particular kale, swiss chard, romaine)
- whole grains (wheat and gluten can be hard on adrenals if digestion is compromised; experiment with gluten free grains such as quinoa, brown rice and oats)
- Probiotics and raw sauerkraut; homemade kefir
- low-sugar fruits (lemons, granny smith green apples, strawberries, blueberries)
- sea salt in moderation
- healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil
- All fresh herbs (dill, thyme, oregano, basil)
1. B complex with the methyl forms of B12 and B9
3. Algae supplement such as spirulina or chlorella or quality greens powder
4. Vitamin C
5. Probiotics (Multi-strain)
Have some patience and determination and you can make yourself feel better. We are all different and everyone has a different pace. Just remember to be kind to yourself and pay attention to and honour your body’s limitations.
THIS MONTHS WINNER!!!
This month’s wellness winner is Michelle Chernoff! Please book your complimentary float within the next 30 days and enjoy!
See you next month for our third month of wellness featuring AWESOME DIGESTION!