What do the following signs and symptoms have in common?
Weight gain, high blood pressure, poor short-term memory, irritability, impaired immune function, fatigue, poor concentration, irregular periods, insomnia, recurrent infections, depression, osteoporosis and diabetes.
Well they are some of the signs and symptoms of Cushing’s disease. Cushing’s disease is a very serious condition and is caused by the body making too much cortisol because of a pituitary tumour or medication.
Isn’t it interesting that many of the so-called disease of the West are included in that list?
What if all these problems are caused by too much cortisol? We refer to this as cortisol dominance.
What causes cortisol to be produced? Stress!
Combat Stress with Better Posture
A certain amount of stress is good for us. It often leads to strength and growth and gives savour to our lives. The body has a natural capacity for some stress known as the elastic limit. As the name implies when the stress is removed the body will bounce back. When the amount of stress goes beyond the elastic limit then the body will not bounce back by itself.
Empty your Bucket
Think of the elastic limit as an internal bucket. When stress happens it goes into the bucket. So long as the bucket doesn’t overflow then the stress stays within the body’s elastic limit. Stress only becomes a problem when the bucket overflows.
What Goes Into the Bucket?
There are at least sixteen different classes of stressor which stress the body. We tend to think of emotional difficulties as the main cause of stress but the list actually includes:
1 Pregnancy. For the nine months of pregnancy there are constant nutritional and hormonal demands on the female body. As the foetus grows the woman’s centre of mass is altered which puts additional strain on the lower back, organs and the whole of the postural muscles. For the partner this is often also a time of stress.
2 Inflammation. Infections, and indeed any other source of inflammation, put an immediate strain on the immune system, especially the thymus gland. In people with a long history of stress the thymus gland may well have atrophied slightly. The body then struggles to deal with infections putting even greater strain on the body.
3 Surgery. It may take up to two years to recover fully from surgery, especially when performed under a general anaesthetic. This is the case even for what might appear to be minor surgery, e.g. knee repair.
4 Physical Trauma. Accidents and injuries don’t just affect the local area; the whole body gears up to deal with the affects. In the case of serious injury there may be organ damage or loss of blood.
5 Environmental Challenges. These are numerous and on the increase and put a constant stress on the system. Common culprits are synthetic chemicals, from pharmaceuticals, pollutants, food additives, pesticides and toiletries etc., geopathic stress. electromagnetic fields, food sensitivities.
6 Immunological Reactions. Vary from rheumatoid arthritis to AIDS to reactions to prescribed drugs and vaccinations. Ultimately they lead to an impaired immune system that can go into overdrive and become oversensitive.
7 Insufficient Rest. This can be overwork, physical or mental, e.g. having to have 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet; not enough sleep or down time.
8 Strong Emotions. Strong emotions of any kind can lead to an over reactive system. Negative attitudes and negative people.
9 Malnutrition. Lacking a vitamin or mineral, which is extremely common, leads to a chemical reaction not being able to function properly.
10 Severe Exposure. To heat, sun, cold or humidity is a stressor on the system.
11 Sugar. In any given situation the presence of refined sugar in the system may increase the stress hormone adrenalin production by as much as 400%.
12 Oxygen Free Radicals. The body produces oxygen free radicals, but we are also exposed to an ever increasing number of them in our society. These can be in the form of pollution outside and inside the home, pesticides and additives in the food we eat, toiletries and cleaners we use. As we age our bodies' abilities to deal with these free radicals diminishes and so their effects increase.
13 Dehydration. Everything takes place in the body in an aqueous environment. If we are dehydrated then all the body fluids are more viscous. This makes every activity more energy draining.
14 Immobility. When we sit for more than three hours in total in a day then adhesions may start to form in the spinal column. These inhibit the free movement of the facet joints, which in turn stops the proprioreceptors from sending the "positive" signals that switch off the stress response.
15 Poor Posture. When there are postural distortions the nociceptors send "negative" signals to the brain which result in the activation of the stress response.
16 Gravity. If we are correctly aligned we are able to deal with the constant affects of gravity. Once we have lost the Physiological Efficient Posture then the constant gravitational field becomes a stressor on the system.
It doesn’t matter what you take out of the bucket so long as you take out enough to stop it from overflowing!
Core Postural Alignment
This is where Core Postural Alignment comes into the picture. It increases proprioceptor activity (14) and helps the body to correct postural distortions (15). It also corrects the displacement of the Primary Alignment which makes gravity a stressor (16).
The latter is very important as you can never escape gravity and if there is a displacement of the Primary Alignment then gravity becomes a constant stressor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. In fact some people think that this is the largest stressor precisely because we can never escape from it.
But Core Postural Alignment does even more.
Autonomic Nervous System
All the body’s processes over which you don’t have conscious control are governed by the autonomic nervous system. From the digestion of your food to maintaining a constant internal environment to the body’s repair and housekeeping - all are controlled by it.
There are two branches called the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
The sympathetics are in charge when we are using our resources and gears us up for action. The parasympathetics are in charge when we are replenishing ourselves and resting.
When we are stressed, by whatever stressor category, the sympathetics are switched on and it is this high sympathetic tone, as it’s called, which makes it difficult for the body to heal itself. High sympathetic tone is more commonly know as the “fight or flight” response or the stress response.
Core Postural Alignment potentiates the parasympathetic system which switches off the stress response.
So not only can regular Core Postural Alignment help with the 3 stressors outlined above but the other 13 as well because it helps to switch off the stress response.