Let’s all be honest with ourselves for a second. Every single day we are all guilty of taking things for granted; especially the things that surround us; or the things we are exposed to & use on a daily basis. We rarely take a second to consider how or where these amazing concepts & ideas originated from.
Some of these things that go “unnoticed” are a huge part of our daily lives yet we fail to even spare them a thought beyond their practical use. They become our proverbial “Bitch”… ??
A great example is the birth & evolution of the smart phone, or the “iPhone” as I like to refer to it. This incredible device was pioneered by the late Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple, and is probably the single biggest game changing inventions since the birth of the internet, that we all use & rely on, every single day of our lives. So much so that most can practically run 80% of their lives from it yet most of us don’t spare it a second thought.
In the spirit of putting out high quality, original & meaningful, educational based material; I wanted to go a little deeper into the concepts of a another legend, who’s work played a massive part in the development of Mineral Balancing Science using HTMA, that we all know and love today.
Hans Selye, MD & PhD was a Hungarian endocrinologist born in 1907, died in 1982, and was referred to as “The Father of Stress.”
Dr Selye was the first person to give a plausible scientific explanation for how biological “stress” occurs within the body. He actually borrowed the term “stress” from physics to describe an organism’s physiological response a perceived stressful event in the environment.
One of my favourite quotes from one of his books that links his stress theory to ageing is…
“Every stress leaves an indelible scar, and the organism pays for its survival after a stressful situation by becoming a little older.”
Dr Selye eloquently explained his stress model, based on physiology and psychobiology, by coining the term the “General Adaptation Syndrome” or (GAS) for short. This states that an event that threatens an organism’s well being, a stressor, leads to a three-stage bodily response:
THE 3 STAGES OF THE “GAS”
1: The Alarm stage
Upon perceiving a stressor, the body reacts with a “fight-or-flight” response and the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated as the body’s resources are mobilised to meet the threat or danger. We see this on a HTMA as an elevated Na to K, & low Ca/P. This is the body’s inflammatory response to stress. By triggering the release of aldosterone, sodium is then retained in the kidney which in turn activates the adrenal cortex. This shows up in the hair as an elevated Na level
During the alarm stage, thyroid and adrenal hormone secretion increases way above normal which in turn temporarily increases energy levels within the body. Blood pressure, pulse rate and blood sugar levels all increase, and reflexes are quickened due to a stress-induced drop in Ca & Mg, as indicated on a HTMA by lower than normal calcium and magnesium levels. This occurs due to the increase in the solvent elements, Na & K which dissolve out Ca & Mg. Symptoms associated with this stage of stress are high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, anxiety, nervousness, & insomnia.
2: The Resistance stage
The body resists and compensates as the parasympathetic nervous system attempts to return many physiological functions to normal levels while body focuses resources against the stressor and remains on alert. We see this on a HTMA as an elevated K, which rises to keep pace with the elevated Na level. The rise in K is the body’s anti-inflammatory response to stress to dampen the fire so to speak.
During this stage of resistance, there is a dramatic reduction in alarm reactions, as full resistance to the stressor is developed. This is the bodies attempt to maintain homeostasis in the presence of the stressor which initiated the alarm reaction. If the stressor prevails, then the mechanisms involved in supporting this stage of resistance will weaken, and the endocrine activity is heightened. High circulating levels of cortisol begin to produce pronounced effects on the circulatory, digestive, immune, and other systems of the body.
3: The Exhaustion stage
If the stressor or stressors continue beyond the body’s capacity, the resources become exhausted and the body is susceptible to disease and death. This is why the Na/K ratio on a HTMA is often referred to as the “Life/Death Ratio.” Although, in my opinion; way too emotionally loaded terminology to be using with clients; it indicates the importance of the Na/K ratio in relation to how far away from homeostasis the body is, and its ability to recover from its current stage of stress.
Below is a visual that illustrates the stress envelope, as the body travels through the different stages of stress. Notice the drop off at the end. This is why so many people I work with have a hard time getting well as they are stuck in a term i coined “The pit of exhaustion”
So what has all this got to do with HTMA?
Well, the late Dr Paul Eck & Dr Dave Watt’s, were the 2 pioneers of Mineral Balancing Science. The inception & evolution of their work over the last 40 years was heavily based on the early stress concepts of Selye. It led to their discovery in how minerals dynamically moved in unison to the stress response & stages of stress. We have the late Dr Selye to thank for the genius legacy of work that he left behind, which enabled the 2 modern day genius’s; Eck & Watts to discover how minerals were heavily linked to the stress response.
Based on my own empirical experience working with clients, and in the spirit of evolving the definition of “stress” itself; I feel that the traditional definition of stress as we know it, which simply leans towards a physical event or a mental state requiring the body to respond aren’t the only two major triggers.
In the world we live in today, there are so many stressful influences coming at us from all different directions. One I feel is equally as big is the types of food we consume.
One man’s food is another man’s poison.
Obviously this statement applies to women too.
This is why you hear me going on about “Biochemical Individuality” all the time.
In addition to the nutritional stressors that also often go “unnoticed” that drain & deplete the immune system; I see individuals choosing to make up for the “Adrenal shortfall” by turning to stimulants such as alcohol, junk food, drugs, medications, cigarettes, refined sugar and energy drinks in and attempt to offer temporary relief by the stimulation of the weakened glands. Little do they know that these stressors are painting an even bigger picture of stress within the body.
Whether the stress is perceived by the body as good or bad, passive or active; the response by our bodies is intended to preserve life, as it’s the innate pre programmed survival mechanism. It will do this at the expense of the tissues. It still requires a hormonal response by the stress glands whether the stressor be perceived as good or bad.
The human stress response involves many components, as Selye’s work portrayed. Here’s a summary or the stress mechanism…
First, the brain initiates the most immediate response signalling the adrenal glands to release epinephrine and norepinephrine. Then, the hypothalamus and pituitary activate another part of the adrenals, releasing cortisol. This is followed by the nervous system initiating behavioural responses like alertness, focus, reduction of pain receptors and the inhibition of reproductive behaviours and desires.
The sympathetic nervous system then kicks in to increase the heart rate, blood pressure and release fuel to help fight or get out of danger as it redirects blood flow to the heart, muscles and brain, away from the gastrointestinal tract and digestive processes. To accommodate these demands there is a vast increase in energy production and utilisation of nutrients and fluids in the body. In a healthy functioning body; once the stressful situation has passed, the brain signals the responses to be “turned off” and finally recovery and relaxation allow the body to re-establish balance in all systems, replacing lost nutrients and eliminating waste products accumulated during the process.
As a physique athlete, avid gym goer, and professional practitioner; a training programme or custom designed client health restoration plan is only as good as ones recovery.
The key element in this stress response that I feel is missing in our modern day stress paradigm is “RECOVERY”
If you or your client aren’t recovering then something isn’t right.
While the evolution & initiation of the stress response in our species originated from threatening events like getting chased by a grizzly bear; these days there are way more recurring stressful events such as being stuck in traffic, relationship problems, financial pressures, job stresses, negative self-talk, poor physical conditioning, artificial blue lighting, nutrient poor diets, nutrient deficiencies, heavy metal toxicities, inadequate sleep, GMO foods, environmental toxin accumulation and so on.
In fact, these types of stressors each day can string themselves together rendering the stress response to be “turned on” all of the time. This is also referred to being fixed in a “Sympathetic state”
This “Biological Pressure Cooker” effects a huge % of the population who experience physical symptoms due to stress. I believe that modern day stress is the up stream culprit of many of the down stream complaints I see every day working with clients.
I have huge respect for the great work of people like Dr. Selye and his General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) and its application in clinical practice. Perhaps “GAS” could also stand for Guidelines Against Stress and could help us maintain healthy stress levels and responses by encouraging and educating each patient to identify and decrease unrelenting stressors. Also, we can help by re-pleating stress-induced nutrient depletions, healthy detoxification pathways and adrenal function.
In summary, it’s important to manage & mitigate unnecessary stress as much as possible. This aids in preventing further mineral depletion as well as allows that important missing factor in the stages of stress that I mentioned earlier called “RECOVERY”
The word “stress” gets a bad wrap and the true meaning of the word is often misunderstood.
Dr. Selye emphasised in his books that stress should be viewed as neither good nor bad. In fact, we need a certain amount of stress, or our bones will demineralise and our muscles will atrophy. More importantly, without stress, life is not worth living as adaptation is part of survival.
Dr Paul Eck once said – “What’s at the high end is at the low end, it’s just for a different reason” In other words, too much stress, or too little stress are both capable of potentially shortening ones life.
Homeostatic Balance is everything.