Much of the modern ideas about stress were discovered by Hans Selye. He was a Hungarian endocrinologist who did a lot of work with animals during the 1930s. He realised that stress could be divided in to eustress and distress. Eustress is “normal” stress that all living things are subject to and help to keep a balance between the internal and external environment. It is “good” stress, having a positive effect. Examples of this include the excitement of winning a race or game, the happy feeling of being loved, the excitement when you bought your first car, the accomplishment of a challenge. Distress is abnormal stress, “bad” stress, having a negative effect. Over a period of time it can lead to disease – “dis-ease”. Distress can come in many different forms: physical, (eg illness/job), mental, (eg relationships, work, death of a loved one), chemical, (eg poor diet, pollution, smoking). Selye, through his experiments, came to realise that effects in the brain effected the whole body, especially the endocrine glands, leading to an increase in various hormones. The distress could be acute, (ie short lived), or chronic, (ie long lasting).
So what can we do about distress? Some things are obvious – eat well, exercise, don’t smoke, avoid tense situations. Remember one of the aphorisms on the entrance to The Oracle of Delphi: “Nothing to Excess”. We can also utilise the skills of professionals. Various therapies can prove highly efficient in combating stress: massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, naturopathy, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, counselling.
If you don’t have a clinic near you try joining a Yoga or Tai Chi class. This can often be found at sports and leisure centres or through your LEA, (Local Education Authority). These ancient systems offer a wonderful mix of physical and mental exercises that prove beneficial to the whole body. Having practised Yoga since my late teens I have found it particularly useful with its emphasis on breathing and relaxation.
A lot of the factors that cause distress raise the level of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are implicated in a lot of the illnesses so prevalent in the modern western world – cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer. Antioxidants successfully reduce the amount of free radicals in the body. But how do we know the level of antioxidants in the body? There is a revolutionary new scanner the Biophotonic Scanner that can measure the concentration of antioxidants in someone. It does this in a rapid, non-invasive, painless way that is more accurate than blood or urine tests. There are only ten of these scanners in the country outside of Nuffield Hospitals. The Broadstone Clinic is proud to announce that it has one of these scanners.