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Dr Karen Massey Registered Psychologist Emergo Counselling Services
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Notes from Recent Courses Taken

April, 2009: Naturopathic Approaches for the Adrenal Glands and Stress and Kundalini Yoga

presented by Dr. Christine Perkins ND, Northwest Naturopathic & Bowen Centre, 403-282-9733

Dr. Perkin's Naturopathic approach to Stress emphasises the dangers to the body of unresolved, long term stress. Long term stress she reports leads to problems arising from enlarged adrenal glands, ulceration of the gastrointestinal system, and to shrunken lymph nodes, lymphatic structures, and thymus. She noted that although the thymus shrinks as we age, it still has a useful function throughout our lifespan. An important function of the adrenal glands is to release cortisol, but too much cortisol such as when you have an alarm "fight or flight or freeze" reaction is not good for the body. Examples of problems where there is too much cortisol includes immune system deficiency, thymus and spleen atrophy, and elevated blood glucose.

Dr. Perkin's views about stress and the adrenals mesh well with Dr. Karen's psychological approach. A book Dr. Karen recommends to clients for further reading on the topic of understanding the importance of the adrenals to our health is "Adrenal Fatigue: the 21st Century Stress Syndrome" by James L. Wilson (2001).

Dr. Perkin's emphasised there is a huge link between our gut and our immune system. One link is that food intolerances can negatively impact the functioning of our gut leading to problems such as feeling tired all the time because our adrenals are slowed down in their proper functioning. Examples of food intolerances that people typically have are to wheat/gluten, dairy and nuts. She noted that 60% of our sympathetic nervous system nerve ends in the stomach area. This information meshes well with what Dr. Karen discusses with clients in having them notice where they feel emotions. Often the client notices butterflies or other symptoms of anxiety and depression in the gut. A book Dr. Karen recommends to clients for further reading of the topic of understanding the connection of the gut to our emotions and our body is "Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural treatment for ADHD, Autism, Depression, Dyslexia, and Schizophrenia" by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD (2010).

Dr. Perkin's indicated that Adrenal Glands can be supported by naturopathic therapies such as Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids, Vitamin E and B, Magnesium citrate among others. In addition to these vitamins Dr. Karen follows the recommendation of Dr. Perkins by taking Ortho-Adapt over the counter product to support adrenals.

There are numerous lifestyle suggestions that Dr. Perkins has identified which are all similar to those suggested by Dr. Karen such as:

  1. find a breathing exercise that works for you and do it daily.
  2. Exercise at least 5 times a week, preferably daily.
  3. Eat at a regular time each day, including healthy snacks as your body needs routine.
  4. Avoid sugar and caffeine because they spike cortisol and then cause it to drop.
  5. Dr. Perkins suggests taking a 20 minute break between 3 and 5 pm by walk, nap, snack, relax or meditate.
  6. Bedtime before 10pm. Rise at the same time daily. Your body loves routine.
  7. Keep your radio 4 feet from you, no red lights showing because it negatively impacts the melatonin; remove all other electromagnetic devices from your bedroom.
  8. Eliminate, or at least reduce time spent with people that drain or "hope suck" your energy.
  9. Say "no" more often, especially if you are doubtful whether you should do something.

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