Have you experienced any stress this week? Likely, the answer is YES!
When you are stressed it is really easy to move into hormonal havoc, with your stress hormones interrupting the finely tuned hormonal balance that operates throughout your whole body system. Your hormones are highly sensitive, and are therefore highly responsive. This is great news for those of you who work consciously to maintain balance in your life through exercise, nutrition, down time, and play time as each breath or thought can help can help move you back towards calm and relaxation. However, because your stress hormones are so highly sensitive, they can also get locked into a pattern of stress response where even if you try to relax, you simply can’t. How many of you know what it feels like to have a continual list going on inside your head or all the things you should do, have done, will do, or need to do. You lie on the sofa to take 10 minutes out and before you know it you are more stressed while you grab for a pen and paper or reach for your phone to write down the growing list. Or maybe you are hit by a lethargy and reach instead for a large glass of wine and the Netflix remote to binge on more box sets. This is hormonal stress kicking showing up! And a powerful place to start shifting this in the body are the adrenal glands.
Sitting on top of the kidneys and responsible for the production of adrenaline, the adrenal glands are responsible for our fight, flight, freeze response. In Chinese medical philosophy, they are governed by a system called Triple Warmer which is an energy channel (meridian) and a key player in the protective systems that keep us alive when we are in life-threatening situations. When our Triple Warmer energy perceives we are in a life-threatening situation a series of physiological and energetic processes are enacted that result in us moving our whole-body system into an emergency response reaction. At this point, adrenaline begins to be pumped into our body, triggering cholesterol and estrogen (other stress hormones) to also activate.
One really important fact here is that generally, your body has to choose between making stress hormones and making reproductive/sex hormones. Anytime Triple Warmer rolls out the protective systems then it is stress hormones that begin to rule your body. This is one of the reasons that women can get so hormonally out of balance when they are experiencing long-term stress….the stress knocks out the equilibrium of the reproductive/sex hormones and can send the whole hormonal system into disarray; irritability, sleeplessness, fatigue, polycystic ovaries, fibroids, thyroid imbalance..the list can go on and on. It is a blessing that women’s hormones cycle so regularly as women tend to see the results of stress in their system quite quickly (over a timeframe of only a few months). As long as you are empowered to make the necessary changes (and that is what energy medicine gives you), then you can move your hormonal system back into balance, vitality and health. During the menopause, the adrenal glands begin to take over estrogen production so keeping them healthy before , during and after this powerful stage in life is vital. For more information about how to do this join Prune in her 12 week online program, The Mighty Menopause.
The affect of Triple Warmer setting off the protective alarm is the same in men’s systems, with testosterone getting out of balance and leading to a build up of tension, intensity, overwhelm and sometimes aggression. But one of the challenges with men’s hormones is that the symptoms of imbalance can take longer to show up which means that by the time they do they can be deeply entrenched patterns, such as prostate cancer. Such deep patterns take more work and time to change back into ones of health.
So how do you know if your fight/flight/freeze is engaged and your adrenal glands are overworked? Stress knocks us so off balance, it is addictive and accumulative. This means that even when you know you are stressed, tired and should be looking after yourself, you instead find that you are doing even more work or that suddenly it is imperative that you completely clean the house. You lose your centre and you lose your balance when the adrenal glands are producing adrenaline and cortisol in excess.
When I see someone whose adrenal glands are working too hard then it looks like their whole system is buzzing. Think of how you feel when you feel affected by caffeine…that buzzing feeling deep inside that seems to work throughout all of your cells. Now think of the visuals of that. It is like the aura, the organs, the meridians, the skin, the brain…all are buzzing with an slightly crazed electrical energy, released by the adrenal glands to help you to fight, flee or freeze in order to resolve your perceived life-threatening situation. But if your stressor is your work, your home, your relationship, your financial situation, or the stories told by the media, then your poor adrenal glands are never getting a break. They are working 24/7.
At first it looks like the whole system is buzzing, ready to burst out. Then, after a few weeks or months, it looks like the system is internally collapsing. The best image I can think of is for you to think of your adrenal glands as a black hole that are consuming vast amounts of your energy.
At this point a level of fatigue is settling in and even after a ‘good night’s’ sleep’ you’ll wake up tired. Many people will be turning to sugar at this point as sugar can keep fuelling the adrenal glands in their desperate attempt to keep producing adrenaline. And it will be sugar that never satisfies (which in turn of course plays havoc with your metabolism and your over all energies as the sugar toxifies your system)
If the situation doesn’t alter significantly, then after several months most people will start heading towards adrenal burnout, which is a full system collapse. This can take months or years to come about and months or years to heal from. I work a lot with people who have ME/CFS and without exception they are experiencing adrenal burnout.
So, interested in loving your adrenal glands right back into health and balance? There are many videos that I have up on my youtube channel that are specifically geared to working with triple warmer and the adrenal glands. Here are my favourite three:
and the Triple Axis hold for hormones If you are working with stress and compromised adrenal health then this is great to do every few days for several months until you feel that you are back on track with your true health and vitality. You can make such a huge difference to your health, your vitality and your whole life by helping balance your adrenal glands.
With love, Prune