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Effects Of Stress On The Body

Stress. You sure hear that word a lot these days. But do you really know what that little innocuous word really means in relation to your body? This article describes exactly what effect stress has on your body and why it is essential to break the stress cycles in your life whenever possible.
When you come under stress or anxiety, it sets off an alarm reaction in your body. Your body's fight or flight mechanism starts to function and triggers your adrenal glands to dump their load of adrenalin into your bloodstream. Adrenalin increases the rate and strength of your heartbeat and raises your blood pressure in anticipation that you will either fight off the threat or run from it. Adrenalin also speeds up the conversion of glycogen into glucose to feed extra needed energy into your muscle tissue.
Your body doesn't really care if the threat (stress) is from a physical or an emotional source. To your body, a threat is a threat and it only knows one way to deal with it. So if your body is stressed over and over again, it never has an opportunity to return to normal function and continues to stay at the red alert level with the heart rate and blood pressure climbing higher and higher to compensate.
Prolonged periods of time on red alert begins to burn so much energy though that it starts to result in periods of severe fatigue. You are too tired to work, too tired to play, eventually to tired to care that you are too tired!
You are depressed, get headaches, can't concentrate or focus, are cranky and even achy all over. It doesn't take that long before this gets bad enough to begin to have an impact on your whole immune system. Then your body's ability to fight off illnesses is lowered, which explains why people under a lot of stress are often sick with one thing or another. The wear and tear of constant stress has even been clinically linked to adult onset diabetes, hypertension and heart disease now, especially in women.
"Okay, now I'm stressing out because I don't know what to do about my stress!!"
Don't worry, aromatherapy is a quick and effective way to combat the effects of stress! Essential oil aromas cause the involuntary nervous system to kick in, triggering emotional and physical responses through the limbic system in your brain. So now you can use different oils to achieve a desired effect:
To relax: lavender, clary sage, sandalwood, ylang ylang, chamomile, rose, neroli, frankincense, orange, cedarwood and geranium.
To focus: basil, juniper, rosemary and peppermint.
To energize: basil, bergamot, lemon, grapefruit, orange, peppermint, rosemary, and thyme.

But does aromatherapy really work?

According to published reports in The Journal of Advanced Nursing, patients in an intensive care unit that received aromatherapy experienced significant mood improvement and decreased anxiety. Another study from Tullamore General Hospital in Ireland found that aromatherapy improved the sleep of patients as well as decreased the stress on patients in their Coronary Care unit.
Aromatherapy is so much more than just smelling good. The use of aromatherapy to fight the effects of stress has finally begun to mainstream into the medical community, removing the perception that it's just some weird new age hippie fad. The bottom line is that you can break the stress cycle to benefit your overall health 'quickly, easily and without side effects.
Oh yeah, you'll smell good too!

About the Author: Buffy Hall, RN Ret. worked as an RN for 12 years before retiring due to complications from rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. She is a long time student of natural healing and alternative therapies and practices many of them in the management of her own chronic illness. You can contact her anytime at

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