Stress - the culprit of 90% of all illness and disease
As indicated in several studies, including one by Stanford University researcher Robert Sapolsky, stress causes physical damage to the human body. In another study, experts at the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, found that 90% of all illness and disease is related to stress.
Under stress, the body produces the stress hormone Cortisol. This hormone is responsible for getting the body ready to fight the stressor or run away from it. In both scenarios our extremities (limbs) will need additional energy to fight or flee from the danger. Cortisol does exactly that; it drives blood and nutrients from the center of the body, where most organs reside, and takes it to the limbs so that the person can have more energy to run or fight the stressor. After the danger is gone, it takes about an hour for the body to get rid of the excess Cortisol running through the system and go back to normal.
While the fight or flight response is a natural reaction and a great mechanism that helped our ancestors stay alive, the truth is that this very response is making us sick. Being under constant stress robs vital energy and blood from our system. For example, our digestive system basically shuts down during stress. The thinking is that it is more important to have energy to run from an attacker than to digest food. The same is also true with our immune system. While under stress our immune system shuts down completely; it is more important to have energy to fight a saber-toothed tiger than to fight a virus. It is also interesting to note that our brains don't understand the difference between thinking about a bad experience or living it. The sympathetic nerve system will kick in and release Cortisol, regardless.
From a TCM point of view, when our Qi (vital energy) does not flow properly our health is compromised. There are many ways that our normal flow of Qi can get blocked: physical trauma, emotional trauma, stress, etc. In today’s society, stress is the leading cause of Qi disharmony. On April 25, 2019, The New York Times published an article saying that "Americans are among the most stressed people in the world". If it is true that 90% of all illness stem from stress, then we can treat 90% of all illness by simply treating stress before is too late.
My goal is to help my patients maintain a healthy flow of Qi, which in turn, will not only dramatically improve any existing condition, but it will also significantly increase the body’s own defense mechanism, making it more resilient.