Too much pressure and screentime is playing havoc with our health. Beauty and wellbeing expert, Anita Murray of the award winning salon Edvard and Pink in Dundrum Town Centre, explains why we must watch out for the warning signs
We have all felt stress and anxiety at one time or another. Often times it can be a positive force; for example ahead of an important job interview or when we are working towards a deadline where a little bit of stress can stimulate you to really manage the situation effectively, rapidly and more productively. In such situations, these low-level stressors stimulate the production of important brain chemicals and strengthen the connections between neurons in the brain.
The problem we face in our modern society is when we experience and are exposed to stress over prolonged periods of time. The freedom to work and communicate anywhere, anytime, 24 hours a day keeps modern society as the constantly ‘logged-on’ workforce. Social media outlets ensure that we have access to a constant stream of all the stories unfolding globally, from the recent US presidential election news to the conflicts in the Middle East.
Prolonged stress can cause an outpouring of adrenaline, cortisol and other hormones
This contributes to damaged cells, which has a myriad of effects in itself – from weakening our organ functions, to causing our cells and connective tissue to break down and thus leading to premature ageing and even common skin problems like acne and roseaca.
We all know that ‘stress kills’ to a large extent. But, the question is how? The fact is that stress and adrenal fatigue is of no great mystery at all. Our body has a built-in mechanism to deal with stress. Two walnut-sized glands, called your adrenals, are found on top of each kidney. These little powerhouses regulate the functioning of every tissue, organ and gland in your body in order to maintain balance during stress and basically keep you alive. They also have important effects on the way you think and feel.
When we are under stress the adrenals produce cortisol which signals our body to enter a heightened sense of emergency. The production of cortisol is intended for the short term but with all the stresses of the 21st century, our adrenals continue to work harder than ever and can not distinguish between a real emergency and when we are just ‘stressed out’.
The resulting decreased ability to produce cortisol results in the body producing more adrenaline. This causes us to feel irritable, anxious, lightheaded and shaky. Nowadays we have managed to create all kinds of constant stresses for ourselves and our health then pays the price.
Adrenal fatigue, often touted as the 21st century stress disorder, is estimated to effect 80% of people worldwide (Dr James L Wilson). The condition has been greeted with both skepticism and understanding. A huge unregulated dietary supplement industry has sprung up to treat it, whilst many doctors dismiss the notion of adrenal fatigue altogether and maintain that there is no science to support the theory that long-term emotional, mental and physical stress drains the adrenal glands. For people diagnosed with it however, it can be a huge relief.
This year the Endocrine Society issued its first ever clinical guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of primary adrenal insufficiency and the most severe adrenal condition, commonly known as Addison’s Disease.
I believe that the awareness and understanding of these important little glands’ function will continue to grow. As well as being the ‘logged-on’ generation, the reality is that a lot of us are under pressure. Pressure at home and at work, financial pressure, family pressures, and all of those inner pressures we put on ourselves to live up to the high standards impressed upon us, can truly be overwhelming. As mentioned, a person’s mental and physical health can suffer as a result and with this, they will need to address their healing and wellness.
TACKLING ADRENAL FATIGUE
What we need to aim for in order to achieve short-term and long-term wellness is to activate the oxytocin system. The body needs to be taken out of this overwhelming cycle of being adrenaline-fuelled and from the unhealthy action of burning through sugar, which takes blood away from the vital organs and into our muscles.
I am a big advocate for wellness and mindfulness. I would suggest booking a massage, taking a walk and knowing when to switch off and enjoy the simple rhythms of life.
Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc and Magnesium are all important ones to supplement. Eat regular meals throughout the day. Avoid processed grains, sugars and vegetable oils and opt for plenty of green and brightly-coloured vegetables.
If you are stuck in traffic or late for an appointment, accept the fact that you can’t control the situation. What you can control is how you react to these situations, so take a deep breath and let it go.
GO TO BED EARLY
An obvious one; but staying up past 10:30pm will typically cause the adrenals to give you a ‘second wind’ and that tends to make it more difficult to sleep. You need seven to nine hours sleep every night to fully-restore the body and face the challenges the next day might bring.
My interest in optimum adrenal heath led me to discover spa brand ILA and their 100% organic treatment programmes and products. I tried the 75 minute adrenorestore treatment recently and I was really excited to experience immediate results. This strengthening therapy uses adaptogenic ingredients in a targeted scrub and abdomen wrap to keep adrenal function at optimum levels.
Naturopathic warmed adrenal packs direct the healing benefits of vetivert, pink cedarwood, ashwagandha and pfaffia where they are needed.
The therapist then performs a deeply relaxing Ku Nye massage. The treatment endeavours to impart strength and stamina, increasing the body’s natural resistance to stress and exhaustion as well as healing and balancing the endocrine hormones and the immune system. In the days following the treatment, I definitely felt more energised and focused.
I brought an ILA educator over to Ireland for a week and we have trained some lovely therapists in Edvard & Pink Dundrum Town Centre but hopefully this brand and specialised treatments soon becomes as accessible nationwide as it is available globally.
Find out more on www.pinkbeautyemporium.ie