I’m back from a couple very intense days in the San Francisco Bay Area. I drove up from Ventura County on Friday. (Funny, the trip didn’t take anywhere near as long as it seemed to all those years ago when I used to make the same trip in my bone-rattling 1969 VW Bug.)
The purpose of the trip was to spend two days learning what I needed to learn to get certified as a Medical Hypnotherapist. The class was taught by my new friend Seth-Deborah Roth (visit her site hypnotherapyforhealth.com). After the usual meet-and-greet with the other students, we got down into the guts (ha-ha) of medical hypnosis. I’m amazed at the huge amount of material we covered.
I suppose that the biggest “take away” for me is the degree to which bad stress underlies many/most/all the somatizing that our bodies do. This is to say that the mind-body is really a chemical soup, and our very thoughts introduce additional chemicals into the mix. Good thoughts produce endorphins, which make us feel good. Bad thoughts and stress elevate cortisol and adrenaline.
The abundance of cortisol and adrenaline result in “allostatic overload.” This fancy name for “bad stress” has some directly attributable effects: elevation of blood fats; atherosclerosis and hypertension, increased insulin resistance, which in turn leads to heart disease, stroke and kidney failure; suppression of the immune system; bone damage; muscle weakness; depression; memory loss (and actual brain damage); and other gastrointestinal disease processes.
Now when we compound the accumulation of bad stress with other counter-productive behaviors (like smoking and over-eating), it’s amazing to me that most of us make it to adulthood. It’s a tribute to the robustness of the body that it is as hearty as it is, given all the horrible things we do to it.
More musings later on this and my other blogs: