Jun. 5, 2019

How Stress Works

One thing Reiki does is reduce stress.  When you are without stress, you are at peace, and I feel strongly when you bring peace to someone's life, you can bring peace into this world...  However, stress reduction is not a luxury, or a superfluous act, reserved only for those with time or money.  It is a necessity.  Why?  Because stress makes us sick; accounting for 90% of all illness.  Here's how:

We are made of trillions of cells, and our bodies act the same as an individual cell.  When you place cells in a petri dish with nutrients, the cells open up, moving toward the positive growth signal emanating from the nutrients.  When you place cells in a petri dish with toxins, the cells close off and move away from the threatening, negative signal.  Cells cannot be open and closed at the same time.  In other words, cells can either be in growth-mode or protection-mode.

Our bodies are the same. 

When we perceive a threat (or a stressor), the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) Axis is stimulated.  When the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that interprets perception) sees stress, it wants to tell the whole body "something's going on", so it sends the signal to the pituitary gland (i.e. "the master gland"), which sends signals to the adrenal glands causing a "Fight or Flight" reaction (i.e. sympathetic nervous system response) by releasing stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol.  

Stress does 3 important things to us:

The first thing stress hormones do is cause the blood to go to the arms and legs (preparing to run or fight).  If the blood is going to the arms and legs, where was it before?  In the viscera (your gut).  What is the function of the viscera?  Growth, health, and maintenance.  So when the blood leaves the viscera, because stress hormones squeezed the blood vessels in the gut closed, protection-mode is enabled, and growth is shut off.  Growth is imperative to our health, given our cells are dying every day and need to be replaced (for example, the lining of your gut is replaced every 3 days).  So when daily stress floods your body with adrenaline and cortisol, it inhibits your ability to replace cells at a normal rate, causing you to get sick.

Another fun thing stress does... when you're in "Fight or Flight", the stress hormones shut off functions not needed in "Fight or Flight" - your body's immune system.  When a tiger is chasing you, your body is directing its energy to not being eaten vs. a bacterial infection you may have.  Now, the important thing to note here is... when you get sick, you don't "catch" something, the gross truth is you already have a plethora of bacteria, germs, parasites, viruses, etc. in your body right now.  The only reason you're not sick is because your immune system is strong.  Turn off the immune system due to stress, and you can no longer fight off these toxins (i.e. "opportunistic organisms").

The third thing stress does... it dumbs us down.  When we're in "Fight or Flight", we do not use conscious reasoning, we use reflex behavior.  Aside from adrenaline & cortisol squeezing the blood vessels in the gut, causing the blood to go to the periphery, when these stress hormones are released into the body, they also squeeze the blood vessels in the prefrontal cortex (which regulates complex cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functioning - i.e. consciousness), pushing the blood to the back of the brain for reflex behavior.  When you're under stress, you're less intelligent.

In summation, stress not only inhibits cell growth, it reduces immune function, and makes you less intelligent.  Given the above examples, it would be hard to argue that stress reduction is a luxury.  Rather, it's your armor to keep you healthy, strong, and functioning in today's stressful world.

It is important to note that according to a research study at Hartford Hospital (in Hartford, CT), Reiki reduced stress in patients by 94%.  Therefore, Reiki prevents illness by reducing your stress.  

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