Healthy adrenals means a better life!
Adrenal fatigue is becoming increasingly common in our fast-pace society. The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and secrete cortisol and adrenaline in response to stress. This causes a cascade of activity in the body known as the “fight or flight” response. Adrenaline can be helpful in acute moments of stress as it boosts physical energy but is harmful when stress becomes chronic as it can lead to high blood pressure and rapid heart rate. Cortisol affects the immune system, brain function and digestion and can lead to impairment of memory and learning.
When a person is experiencing chronic stress the function of the adrenal glands can become impaired. When the adrenals are not functioning properly changes occur in metabolism, energy, immune function and the endocrine system which can lead to feeling dizzy, tired, depressed, and weak. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the pattern of symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue is called ‘Kidney Deficiency.’ It’s a very common condition and something we see a lot of in the clinic. It’s important to remember that you only have one body and you need to take good care of it so it serves you well in the years ahead.
Here are seven ways to give a little TLC to your adrenals
- Sleep. Make sure you are getting adequate sleep each night. Aim for 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Avoid watching tv or being on your computer in bed. Try to relax as the evening comes to an end by having a hot bath or listening to soft music. Dimming the lights an hour before you go to sleep will help your body get into night-time mode and make you fall asleep faster.
- Meditation. Try to set aside some time everyday to sit in silence. As little as five to ten minutes will make a world of difference and has been shown to reduce stress hormones in the body. If you have never meditated before or have difficulty sitting quietly, try listening to a guided meditation.
- Yoga. Practicing yoga leads to a greater awareness of your own body-mind connection. The gentle movement of yoga can reduce stress and frustration and lead to a sense of calm.
- Aromatherapy. Incorporate essential oils into your routine. Smelling lavender can reduce feelings of anxiety or worry. Spray a little in your room before bed or add a drop to your bath.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture is effective at alleviating symptoms of long-term stress and anxiety by increasing dopamine and serotonin (the feel good hormones) in the brain. Regular treatment gives the body and mind a ‘rest’ and decreases the physical effects of the stress-response.
- Massage. The feeling of ‘touch’ is so beneficial and can soothe nerves and induce a relaxation response in most people. Try booking a relaxation massage at the end of a busy day and allow your mind and body to relax before heading home.
- Caffeine reduction. Try reducing the amount of coffee you consume or replacing it with green tea. Caffeine is a strong stimulant and causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Lowering your caffeine intake will help the adrenals recover.
Any actions you can take to reduce stress in your life will help your adrenals to function better. Remember to slow down and take good care of yourself. Your body will thank you.