The Effects of Stress on the Immune System and How Reflexology Helps
Did you know that your immune system is linked to your stress level? Think back to a time when you were really sick. What was going on in your life then? Can you make a connection between your stress level and your health? Were you constantly on the go, overly worried, trying to meet a deadline, going through a major change? Were you feeling totally “stressed out”? If so, your body perceived this as a threat to its well-being and activated your sympathetic nervous system, or your “fight or flight” response.
When the sympathetic nervous system is activated, it is preparing the body to either fight or flee danger. This happens whether the danger is perceived or is an actual real threat to your physical being. In the case of a real physical threat, this is a good thing! A release of chemicals causes an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate in order to prepare the body to get away quickly. After the danger has passed, the chemicals are released, and the body returns to normal. However, if there is no real physical threat to the body, these chemicals build up causing inflammation and a suppressed immune system.
Your immune system is your body’s first line of defense against bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. Stress lowers the body’s ability to fight infection by decreasing the number of lymphocytes (the white blood cells responsible for fighting infection). The lower the lymphocyte level, the more at risk you are for getting sick. Stress also increases inflammation in the body which weakens the body’s defenses, making you more susceptible to colds, the flu, chronic disease, and even food allergies.
How Reflexology Can Help
Reflexology is a proven stress buster! By lowering stress, the body is able to calm the “fight or flight” response; the muscles relax, circulation is improved (more oxygen and nutrients are getting to the cells and organs, and toxins are removed), breathing is slowed, blood pressure decreases, heart rate decreases, and an overwhelming sense of well-being takes over as the body comes back into balance. A calm, balanced body is in better condition to defend you from the unwanted invaders that make you sick. So, add reflexology to your wellness plan and experience a less stressed, healthier YOU!