Alternative Solutions and Mental Health: Part 2

GutBrainConnection

The Brain-Gut connection is one that many people take for granted. Stress, anxiety, anger, happiness, and all other emotions effect the gastrointestinal tract, as it is sensitive to emotion. This is where feelings in your stomach like “butterflies” come from. It is a direct reaction from your emotional state, triggered by your brain and received in your stomach.

  • The brain and stomach have direct effects on each other. This is presented in many different ways.
  • Troubled intestine sends messages to the brain which can lead to emotional turmoil (stress, anxiety, depression).
  • Troubled brain sends messages to the intestines and stomach causing intestinal trouble (nausea, stomach aches and pains).
  • Brain notifies the stomach that you are hungry, stomach provides the digestive juices needed to digest the food before it arrives.

With the above things considered, it is often times hard to determine whether the intestinal problems are a product of emotional turmoil or the cause of emotional terminal. This is especially evident when you experience gastrointestinal upset without obvious physical cause.

Stress has a large part to play with GI upset. It might explain the nausea before giving an important presentation, or the stomach pains during times of high stress. This does not mean that all GI illnesses are just “all in your head”. They are however linked. Psychological symptoms influence the physiological symptoms and the physiology of the gut itself.

environmental-toxins

Environmental toxins also play a large role in the overall wellbeing as well as the wellness of the brain and mood. Many toxins in our environment are able to pass the blood-brain barrier, making the brain more susceptible to their toxic effects. Chemical toxins, drugs, radiation from cell phones and cell phone towers all cross the blood-brain barrier and cause toxic stress. Toxic stress leads to mood changes and disorders caused by the imbalances in the brain because of the excess or lack of the proper hormones.

So what does all of this information mean? The important thing to remember is that there is a strong mind-body connection. With this connection comes many ways in which the mind and body effect each other. It is also important to remember that because of this mind-body connection, it is important to look after the entire self, not just the physical or psychological separately.

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Fibromyalgia and Alternative Therapies

Fibromyalgia is a complex condition that can be very difficult to understand. It can have an impact on virtually every part of your body. And with an array of symptoms that are not visible on medical tests, it is not often easy to diagnose or treat.

fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition that can deeply affect a person’s life in many different ways. It is known to take a healthy, happy, well-functioning person, and turn them into someone wrought with constant pain and fatigue, robbing them of the initiative to complete even the simplest of daily routines. It greatly affects the overall well being of the person, as people suffering with Fibromyalgia are much more likely to suffer from depression as well. The depression is likely linked to the physical symptoms and the lack of an ability to maintain routine when the pain is unbearable. The symptoms of Fibromyalgia are very much in line with those of depression, which can further delay the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.

So what treatments are out there for fibromyalgia? There is a varying degree of treatments from western medicine to adjustments in diet and workout. Not everything works for everyone. However, choosing an alternative to the medications that are offered by your regular family physician can allow for overall wellbeing, as well as pain relief.

medication

Western Medicine approaches fibromyalgia through pain medications, as well as using strategies to improve sleep and exercise conditioning.

Those following with the energy-based approach believe that the root cause of fibromyalgia is sensitivities to substances (both natural and man-made (i.e. vaccines and medications, as well as chemicals in everyday items)). The energy-based approach focuses on acupuncture as the chief reliever of the pain and anxiety/depression based in fibromyalgia.

While depression is linked heavily with fibromyalgia, those following the psychological approach suggest that depression can amplify the pain caused by Fibromyalgia. Cognitive behaviour therapy can improve the symptoms of depression greatly, by helping the patient identify the sources of stress that magnify their depression symptoms.

taichi

Those choosing the nutrition-based approach choose to take supplements to help with sleep, hormones, immunity, and nutrition. Regular exercise is also a large part of this approach.

Dr. Fred Hui, a licensed and practicing MD in Toronto, approaches Fibromyalgia as a chronic flu. Dr. Hui treats fibromyalgia with a combination of I.V. treatments and other therapies to improve sleep, nutrition, and the various toxins in the body.

Treatment of Fibromyalgia is based on what is best for each patient. Many find success with each of the above listed treatments; however, not every treatment is suitable for every patient. It is important to keep in mind that it is your body, mind, and soul in these treatments. Trying different treatments is your choice, and exploring your options is an important part of the process.