I’m sorry it’s been so long since I joined you in the blogging world. Has it really been a year and a half? Well, that makes total sense. A year and half ago is exactly when my mother entered her “Last Days” as she called them. She even called them “LD” for short (yes, she was able to have humor about it, can you believe it?). For four months, she was able to do less and less, the last two she was completely bed ridden, and I was doing more and more to take care of her. After her death in December of 2014, I entered a year of grieving and executing her estate. I took a couple of weeks off work here and there, but not much.
You might guess that this was pretty hard on me. I don’t think I fully realized how hard until last fall when my back went out. I ended up with a herniated disc in the low back, and it’s taken 6 months to recover (minimum time for a disc to heal, and I did it without an injection or surgery, instead using frequent acupuncture, chiropractic, swimming… that’s another blog!)
From a Chinese Medicine point of view, I’ve had kidney deficiency. This translates in modern lingo to Adrenal Fatigue. I often see it in middle aged women trying to do everything, like me. So besides bringing you up to date on what’s going on with me, I thought I’d share with you how Adrenal Fatigue develops and what to do about it.
Stress and doing too much, not getting enough sleep… sound familiar? We all have a certain amount of this in our lives, or bouts of it, but when it goes on for long or becomes too extreme, this can deplete and even exhaust the adrenals, little blobs of glands sitting on top of your kidneys. The adrenals produce cortisol and other such hormones and are especially involved in the fight or flight response. You’ve probably heard something about this at some point in your life. We’re meant to have the adrenals kick in during extreme situations, for brief periods of time, when we need to fight or flee. When we get stuck in the response for long periods of time and the adrenals keep kicking out adrenaline, after a while they can just get worn out! This can mean an exhaustion that takes more than a good night of sleep or a weekend to recover from.
Some of the effects of stress and Adrenal Fatigue on a body include:
- Reduced adrenal hormones; for example cortisol, which has anti-inflammatory properties. This can mean more pain.
- Constant fight or flight, anxiety, insomnia means decreased blood flow to the internal organs. They don’t work as well.
- Loss or no digestive enzymes and stomach acid (HCL) means food decomposes rather than digesting leading to gas, bloating, and constipation.
- With less HCL production, bile flow is not stimulated from the liver. It can overload and become toxic.
- Less bile plus HCL can also lead to an overgrowth of yeast and bacteria, histamine reactions from rotting food, and a suppressed immune system.
- If things get really bad, it can lead to break downs such as IBS, Crohn’s, liver dysfunction, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, or worse.
So don’t let it get this far!
So let’s say, like me you’ve already fatigued your adrenals some. How do we back out of it before it leads to more severe symptoms? As I mentioned, this relates to the kidney system in Chinese Medicine. First and foremost, Acupuncture can relieve stress, and the kidneys like rest and routine. This means slowing down, saying no, watching your schedule so you don’t get over extended. Also, going to bed at a regular time and not too late (best is no later than 10pm, definitely not past midnight), getting up at the same time every day, having meals at regular times. We also need to get blood to our internal organs and help the digestive system and liver for a while. This means exercise and cleansing. Chinese herbs are great for this as well and can also help nourish the adrenals.
- Get Acupuncture to relieve stress. Also try meditation and yoga.
- Follow a regular routine of sleep and meals. Get 8 hours of sleep, preferably at 10pm.
- Get aerobic exercise at least 3 to 4 times per week.
- Supplement to help digestion and decrease inflammation. Increase omega-3 oils with 3 to 4 grams of fish oil per day, B-complex, you may also need digestive enzymes for a while.
- Cleanse with lots of pure vegetables, whole grains, and a Chinese herbal formula.
- Get a custom Chinese herbal formula from me or your local master herbalist to rebuild your kidney, adrenal, and digestive systems.
And last but not least get out and have some fun! Better yet, take a vacation! Surround yourself with love, and be gentle on yourself!
Take care, I’m sending healing energy!