All chronic illnesses create an enormous amount of stress but not all illnesses effect the ‘stress response’. Several studies suggest that the two systems that govern how the body responds to stress – the HPA axis and the autonomic nervous system – are operating abnormally in chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) patients. These studies indicate that the ‘fight or flight’ ( sympathetic nervous system) response appears to be turned on and the ‘rest and digest’ (parasympathetic nervous system) response appears to be turned down.
Meanwhile the levels of the main HPA axis factor, the adrenal hormone cortisol, which produces energy for the body to use during a stressful situation tends to be lower than normal. This suggests that chronic fatigue syndrome patients stress response is activated at the very time their bodies are too depleted to handle it. No wonder so many ME/CFS patients are so exhausted! Their systems are on but there’s no gas in their tanks.
Is your body unable to code effectively with every day stressors?(One study suggested ME/CFS patients are either always in or close to being in “stress response mode”.) Does your heart race? Do you have trouble gathering your thought? Concentrating? Do your muscles feel tight? Do you have upper body pain? Sleep poorly? Feel irritable? Have mood swings? Does your body over-react to normal substances? Each of these symptoms can occur when a body spends too much time in ‘stress response’ mode and too little time in the healthful, healing, relaxation, i.e. ‘rest and digest’ mode.
The stress busters section is about finding ways to get the body and mind to relax and heal. This, more than any other section of the website, is about quality of life. No claims are made for complete recovery but plenty of claims are made for improved health and quality of life.
This is a new section for the Phoenix Rising website. As it grows you’ll be surprised at just how many ways there are to rein in the stress response and put the body back in ‘healing mode’.
The Stress Busters
Aromatherapy – Aromatherapy uses carefully applied smells to relax the nervous system and reinvigorate the immune system. Take a deep breath and plunge into Vick Alfords tips on using Aromatherapy to relax and heal.
- Part I: Introduction
- Part II: The Essential Essential Oils for ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia
- Part III: Using and Buying Essential Oils