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How Homeopathy can Help you Deal with Stress

by June Sayer(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 176 - November 2010

The word stress conjures up many things for many people. One description from Chambers Pocket Dictionary defines the word stress as physical or mental overexertion, so let us first take a look at how the body is programmed to deal with stress.

The human body has the ability to respond to changes within the environment, the ability to digest nutrients and dispose of the by-products of metabolism; for the body to be able to do this, it needs to be in a state of balance. Internal balance within the body alongside ever changing external factors is achieved through a process known as homeostasis, from the Greek 'staying the same'. The stable balance is achieved through control centres in the brain and hormones. As an example, the digestive system allows nutrients to pass through the wall of the small intestine into the bloodstream and the kidneys filter blood, water and waste products.

The control of homeostasis is governed by a receptor that reacts to changes within the environment which we term stimuli or stressors. The stimuli trigger a response that is sent to the control centre in the brain for analysis and action. Once received and analyzed, an instruction is relayed to the body, requesting the body to either reduce or increase the effect of the stimulus. The majority of times the message is to reduce the effect and this is called negative feedback.

When all the body systems are in balance we feel well and homeostasis is taken for granted. If this co-ordination breaks down we begin to feel uncomfortable, and as the body ages and the organs do not function so efficiently, the effect this has on homeostasis could lead to ill health. Homeopaths refer to the term disease as dis-ease where the body is in a state of discomfort, or imbalance or where homeostasis is out of sync, and aim to bring the body back to balance through the use of homeopathic remedies.

Stress is not all bad and can be beneficial to the body for example: walking and weight bearing exercise can strengthen the bones, muscles and joints, but over-exertion could reduce the benefits.
Other stressors that we find ourselves being subject to are:

  • Physical (heat, noise);
  • Chemical (food, hormones);
  • Microbiological (viruses, bacteria);
  • Physiological (tumours, abnormal functions);
  • Developmental (old age, genetic changes);
  • Psychological (emotional and mental disturbances).
You are familiar with certain stressful conditions such as anxiety. The apocrine glands in the skin respond to stress by secreting sweat that has a characteristic smell due to the fact that the secretions contain human pheromones. This substance acts as a form of communication to members of the same species to bring about certain behavioural responses. The eccrine glands are the ones that respond to psychological stress and these glands are numerous, being found on the palms, fingers and soles of the feet.

When we are under stress such as pain, low levels of sugar in the blood, emotional disturbances or even extremes of temperature, the body releases hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline as a direct response to the sympathetic nervous system. The body is then prepared for immediate action - the 'fight / flight' response -blood pressure and heart rate increase, the blood in the intestines is shifted to the muscles, sweating occurs and alertness is more defined.

Long-term effects of stressful situations can lead to imbalances in the body. It is common for homeopaths to come across a variety of illnesses manifested by the body that have a background of stress. Recently a client presented for an appointment and explained that she was feeling nauseas. During discussions she went on to say that prior to the nausea she had experienced intestinal cramping. There had been no change to her eating pattern or bowel habit and the only reason that she felt it could be put down to was as a result of an stressful situation that she had recently experienced and was still unresolved. The cramping eased and she was left with nausea. Delving into the case further the previous few months had been one of inner turmoil for her and she acknowledged that she was left with feelings of anger and grief. I prescribed the remedy Ignatia due to the fact that alongside the nausea she had become very emotional.

Ignatia is just one of the homeopathic remedies that can be thought of for the stress associated with grief. It deals with the superficial type of grief that can make you feel emotional and tearful and even irritable. Headaches can appear and disappear suddenly and are worse for the smell of tobacco, from coffee, or alcohol. The pain associated with the Ignatia headache is as if a nail were driven through the side of the head or boring pains deep in the brain accompanied by nausea. Abdominal cramps and spasms can also be found within the proving of this remedy. Ignatia is suited to sensitive, nervous type people who have high ideals and overwork themselves. I am pleased to report that following the remedy this lady feels much better and is more focused on dealing with the ongoing situation.

People deal with stress in a variety of ways, including smoking drinking and overeating. Excess eating can lead to obesity and ultimately joint pain as the body supports excess weight. Smoking and drinking deplete the body of nutrients than can lead to ill-health; ultimately when pains occur using over-the-counter pain relief will only serve to mask the pain and put more strain on the digestive system as it filters unwanted by-products from the body. These are not solutions to the stress; they are only masking symptoms and leading to further problems later in life. Not all unwanted stress can be removed immediately, and learning to work through it in a natural manner leads to a better outcome.

There are a vast amount of symptoms that can be associated with stress such as IBS, Migraines, Anxiety, Depression to name but a few, and homeopathic treatment will help you deal with the symptoms of stress that you are experiencing. Taking up exercise and meditation can also be beneficial as a way of helping you learn new coping strategies.


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About June Sayer

June Sayer DHom (Med) MARH MRHom DNTh DIridol Homeopath Nutritionist Reiki Master/Teacher became fascinated by homeopathy after seeking treatment for her children and herself some 23 years ago; this dramatic change in their overall health led her to train as a homoeopathic practitioner. She qualified from the Hahnemann College in 1992 and has been in practice since that date. She is one of the founding directors of the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths and has a practice in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex where she enjoys training individuals in the art and practice of homoeopathy. She may be contacted on Tel: 01621 730664;   


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