Friday, June 12, 2009

Anxiety, Adrenal Support, and Alternative Therapies

I created my website ( and launched my personal exploration of alternative healing about two years ago. A few products I tried early on included: a natural treatment for anxiety called Serenity+ by Genuine Health. Containing extracts of Ashwagandha root, Passionflower, Oat straw and Rhodioloa rosea root, this product is intended for stress management, to promote "a sense of calm" while reducing "nervousness and agitation."

I also began trying a few different products for adrenal fatigue beginning with a special homeopathic blend by a local natural pharmacy called "Finlandia Adrenal." I had gone in intending to buy licorice root for the purpose of balancing swings in blood sugars, but a helpful discussion with a staff member there (who has tried this product herself) changed my mind. I have read about adrenal fatigue before and find it easy to see how this might be a contributing factor to my ongoing fatigue and emotional imbalance. Responsible for helping us maintain and balance our hormone levels, blood sugars, immune system function and more, the adrenal glands (manufacturers of adrenaline) can become stressed, leading to a host of problems.

A few other strategies I've incorporated since then have included:

Acidophilus - Life Brand (digestive ailments can prevent the absorption of essential nutrients; this is a common side effect of antibiotic use)
AdrenaSense by Lorna Vanderhaeghe (continuing with the adrenal support in the form of nourishing and stress-combating herbs)
Flamma-Force by Prairie Naturals (designed to reduce the inflammation associated with painful conditions such as fibromyalgia)
Multi+ daily glow (most of my doctors, and most recently an in-depth naturopathic assessment, have agreed that a good multi-vitamin is necessary for maintaining good health)
Recovery Formula by Purica (another fibromyalgia-focused herbal blend)
Holy Basil (for combatting anxiety and stress)
Allergy and Borage - herbal blends by Finlandia Natural Pharmacy (for ongoing sinus issues)
5-HTP - Natural Factors (a natural alternative to antidepressants/anxiety medications, and some studies have found this useful in treating migraine headaches)

Always interested in the mind-body connection, I have learned to observe myself more carefully to determine what's really going on when I get feelings such as anxiety. Am I really anxious, or am I just interpreting my body's signals as anxiety, when in fact I may be having blood sugar issues or a response to caffeine? Is my feeling of extreme fatigue related to the dietary changes I've been making, an indication of depression, or a sign that I'm catching a viral illness? Trying to root out the cause of chronic health issues is an ongoing challenge and one that can increase feelings of hopelessness if you let it. However, we are fortunate to have access to a wealth of information, as well as alternative therapies, when illness is detracting from our quality of life.

I heartily encourage all of you to become your own experts when it comes to creating better health. Don't try to go without professional medical advice, but take an active role in designing the right treatment for you. It may help to map out your past medical issues - do you see any patterns? What is your body trying to tell you? Help may come through more natural channels than you expect. One essential strategy for relieving numerous ailments is to drink more water! Another big one is re-learning to breathe properly (a factor I had not noticed until a massage therapist coached me on it) - it is common when we are chronically stressed to let our breathing become too shallow, which impacts numerous systems in the body. Becoming more mindful of these important basics is a good beginning - then take it one step at a time from there.

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