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KayMcDonnell(Listowel Therapy Centre)

Reduce your stress hormone



Funny name, huh? “Stress hormone”. Well it may sound funny, but there actually is a thing called the Stress Hormone, otherwise know as Cortisol. Cortisol is produced by your adrenals and its levels rise when you are under stress. This can be any kind of stress from physical, to emotional/psychological.
Cortisol is a nasty little hormone for muscle building. It goes around and breaks your muscles down so they can be used for fuel! (inconsiderate thing!) It also interferes with protein synthesis. As if that’s not bad enough, it also commands your body to store more fat!

How can you stop Cortisol from screwing up your body building?

Simple, take out your adrenals!...OK, only kidding. Here are some PROVEN ways to reduce the release of Cortisol to ensure maximum muscle growth:

  • Make sure you get enough sleep. At least 8 hours a night and possibly more. Naps during the day also help.
  • Reduce your stress in any way possible. Meditate, do Yoga, go for walks, listen to relaxing music.
  • Exercise but don’t over do it. Nice and easy and steady does it.
  • Don’t get wound up. All too often people believe they “have” to confront others or “get it out of their system” or go beserk! You don’t need to. All this sort of behavoiur does is make you more stressed and angry. Calm down. Don’t get excited. Relax.
  • Manage your time better. Don’t worry about the past or the future. Live in the present.
  • Eat well. Make sure you get lots of B vitamins in your diet. They are excellent stress reducers.
  • Don’t overindulge in sugar. Reduce sugar intake and keep it steady.
  • If you can, reduce and/or cut out caffeine drinks.
  • Take products like Rescue Remedy (Bach Flower Remedies) if you find yourself getting wound up all the time.
  • Reflexology and Massage Therapy plays a huge part working with the release of cortisol in the body..
Chronic stress occurs “when demand exceeds your capabilities,  “Chronic stress is a nagging situation that won’t go away.”

The red flag of the effect of stress is the obesity epidemic. The primary culprit in the scenario is cortisol.

In a dangerous situation, your adrenal gland spits out adrenaline which jolts you into high-level performance to get you out of a short-lived fix. If your stress level remains high, the gland thinks this is a prolonged battle and spits out a super-adrenaline called cortisol.

Here’s a thumbnail description of how cortisol works,  Faced with a long battle, cortisol turns down the dial on non-essential body functions such as the immune system, digestion and sexual function.
The next job is to send a lot of fuel to the muscles. The fuel mainly is a sugar from carbohydrates or protein that’s been changed to glucose in preparation for a fight. Cortisol does this until it senses the danger has passed.

But in modern society, the stress never ends. So the cortisol keeps coming.

After a few hours, the pancreas thinks the extra-high blood sugar is from a big meal. It spits extra insulin into the blood so cells will use the food. The blood sugar then drops rapidly and you get hungry and overeat.

The cortisol sees more fuel and rushes it to the muscles. But by this time the muscles are already saturated and have no place to put that fuel.

Cortisol and insulin fight for dominance. High insulin levels eventually result in the body depositing all of that extra sludge into fat cells around the waist, resulting in dangerous and unsightly belly fat. Insulin aims the extra nutrients at belly fat because under normal conditions, belly fat tells the pancreas to speed up or slow down – sort of the accelerator or brake for the pancreas.

Cortisol only takes orders from the adrenal gland, which takes orders from the hypothalamus in your head, which takes orders from your brain, which takes orders from you sitting there stressing over the tax bill, the boss and the moron who was tailgating you.

“It’s the (proverbial) vicious circle, “Once you get the high insulin level, that causes the body to deposit fat in the stomach rather than elsewhere.”

Muscle cells refuse to metabolize nutrients so the extra food is stored in belly fat cells. They fill to enormous capacities as they try to clear the bloodstream. The resulting sludge blocks blood vessels, resulting in cardiovascular disease.

The pancreas stops working properly, which can result in diabetes. The digestive system doesn’t handle food properly, which results in indigestion and leaves you vulnerable to ulcers. The immune system fails to catch malfunctioning DNA at the molecular level, creating pre-cancerous cells.

Experts say exercise is the first line of defense against stress and its by-products. It’s a simple formula: If your body sees artificial threats, give it artificial combat.

Reflexology can be a natural, low cost option to offsetting the effects of stress on heart and overall health. Reflexology endeavors to treat the body, mind and spirit as a cohesive system by getting to the cause of disease not its symptoms. Reflexology possesses the capacity to cancel out the effects of stress while it helps the body to reach a place of deep relaxation where it can balance the body systems.

Through the relaxation process the body is more capable of dealing with the stresses placed on it by daily living and those associated with illness. Reflexology gently nudges the body towards improved functioning of the system by improving lymphatic drainage and venous circulation, simulation to the nerve pathways, and muscle relaxation.

Reflexology therapeutically reduces stress and tension throughout the body’s systems to improve blood and lymph circulation, increase nerve supply to the cells and release toxins from the body’s tissues. It is believed to encourage the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones, well documented in their ability to relieve stress.

These physiological benefits facilitate improvements in the body's assimilation of nutrients, elimination of wastes and immune system stimulation. Reflexology supports the body in its process of self-healing and maintaining the balance that leads to good health.

Plus, reflexology feels great and nearly everyone is a candidate for reflexology--even people who are not candidates for traditional massage therapy due to physical restrictions or who may be inhibited about disrobing. With reflexology, all you remove is footwear.

1 Comment to Reduce your stress hormone:

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