The Immune System
After working in overdrive for over a year and burning the candle at both ends, my body was more susceptible to getting an infection. My immune system was comprised twice in a 6 month span. I say all of this to educate, considering that working in a profession dedicated to health and wellness; my health was comprised. Days, weeks and months go by at the blink of an eye sometimes and we forget to take care of ourselves. This is just a gentle reminder to think of our bodies and to remember to treat them well and in return they will treat us well. With that said, I am privileged to work with amazing health care providers at Dalhousie Health and Wellness; who helped me to realize, I needed to slow down. They reminded me to take care of me. Starting with getting regular massages (you think as a massage therapist, I would know this for myself; haaaa) Also, the wonderful Naturopath Dr. Donata Girolamo, who I work with helped my immune system; through acupuncture and naturopathic remedies. The treatments helped to amp up my immune system. Allowing my body to fight back! The immune system is a composition of specialized organs and cells that protect the body against infection and the growth of malignant cells. Stress can cause health problems and worsen the immune system. Three stages happen when we come into contact with stressful situations. The Alarm stage occurs first, which provides a burst of energy, then the body responds to the distress by sending a signal to the hypothalamus (part of the brain, responsible for the production of many of the body’s essential hormones) with a burst of energy. In the, Resistance stage, the body attempts to resist or adapt to the stressor; the adrenal cortex continues to release glucocorticoids (bodies natural steroid, helping the body respond to stress and regulating body’s use of fat and sugar) to help the body react to the stressor until the stress is resolved or the body can no longer resist. Lastly, the Exhaustion stage, when the body’s energy is depleted. With stress, the adaptation or resistance stage keeps going, causing physical symptoms to develop. The body consumes a lot of energy during this stage, but has no chance to refuel and rebuild. Insomnia is frequently experienced, contributing to feelings of fatigue, anxiety, fear and tension. When we are affected by stress our bodies induce hormonal activity that can suppress some aspects of the immune response; in addition cortisol levels elevate in those who are stressed which increases susceptibility to colds and flus. Massage therapy appears to increase the activity of the immune system by reducing stress levels improving immune function. Acupuncture helps to balance and calm the body’s natural fight or flight responses.