There can be many causes of stress (work, illness, family or just life in general), and stress can have many effects on our lives (sleep problems, digestive complaints, headaches). With many causes and as many symptoms, stress can be difficult to treat without help. By treating the whole person and not just the symptoms the herbalist can often make a significant difference.
Stress itself is not an “illness”, it may be the appropriate response to an important situation, it is only meant to occur sporadically though. The stress response evolved to help our ancestors survive in stressful situations (such as being chased by a wild animal), it puts us into fight or flight mode. To aid us in our fight or flight the stress response increases blood flow to our skeletal muscles and away from the digestion, it increases the heart rate, dilates blood vessels and heightens our senses. It is then easy to see how it can affect blood pressure, digestion, headaches and more. In modern times we now have people who are “permanantly stressed”, busy lives, high pressure work, caffeine, long term illness and more can lead to our stress response becoming exhausted or our ability to cope with stress being overcome. Stress then becomes a problem, and ever present in our life. While low long term levels of stress may not be causing us any problem a new stressful situation or illness may suddenly seem overwhelming.
The herbalist can prescribe herbs that allow you to cope with stress better (including a group of herbs called adaptogens), herbs that can reduce some of the detrimental effects of stress (herbs to help with headaches, sleep, energy levels or digestive complaints).
They can also advise on techniques, lifestyle and dietary changes or even other therapies that can contribute to better, healthier lifestyle.
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