In the wake of mandated lockdowns, stay-at-home orders and a pandemic that seems like it will never end, many of us are experiencing symptoms of stress, fluctuating mood swings, insomnia and all kinds of other mental and physical imbalances. We know this past year has been anything but easy — while at the same time, it’s been increasingly easy for many of us to feel like we are in a state of flux.
Your hormones are your body’s most powerful chemical messengers — and when they’re sending the wrong messages, this can lead to unfavourable results — such as stress, anxiety, mood swings, insomnia, weight gain and more.
Luckily, there are safe and holistic approaches that can help you recalibrate your body’s hormonal system. If you’ve been wondering if your body is out of balance, we’ve listed 4 common signs to look for. Lastly, we’ll review some ways in which naturopathic medicine can help you regulate your body again.
1. You feel extremely stressed and are experiencing mood swings
Mood swings are typically defined as a sudden or unaccountable change of mood. One minute, you might find yourself feeling happy, excited and optimistic about life — while the next, these feelings can be swiftly replaced with anxiety, anger or irritability. Fluctuating mood swings can hinder our ability to cope with daily stressors and tasks, in addition to negatively impacting our personal relationships, decreasing our productivity levels and so much more.
While many factors and situations can affect our mood, it’s not uncommon for fluctuating mood swings, extreme stress levels or an activation of the sympathetic nervous system to be caused by a shift in hormone levels.
Moreover, stress can have a myriad of psychological and physiological effects on the body — such as poor sleep habits, high blood pressure, fatigue and changes in appetite. Increased levels of stress causes cortisol levels to rise, which can further affect the overall quality of our behavioural and mental health.
2. You have trouble sleeping
If your hormones are out of balance, this can also lead to affected sleep quality. According to the National Sleep Foundation, women are much more likely to report experiencing sleep problems as a result of stress, anxiety or other mitigating factors.
Once poor sleep habits are adopted, this can unfortunately lead to a difficult cycle of mental and physical instability. Prolonged periods of sleep loss can easily lead to imbalanced cortisol levels. When cortisol levels are too low in the morning and too high at night, this can result in feelings of daily fatigue and nightly insomnia. Consequently, this can then cause difficulty with stress management, decreased levels of productivity and poor mental and physical health.
3. You have difficulty maintaining your weight
Your hormones control your metabolism, meaning they are inextricably linked to how much fat your body gains or burns. So when your hormones are off-kilter, this can easily result in rapid weight gain or overall difficulty with maintaining a healthy BMI.
Three hormones that are responsible for weight gain include:
Insulin: This hormone is secreted by the pancreas, which regulates glucose (sugar) levels and fat storage. Unhealthy eating habits (such as excess consumption of sugars or white refined flours) can lead to increased insulin secretion, which thereby leads to weight gain.
Glucagon: This is known as your body’s “fat burning” hormone, which often acts in opposition to insulin. When one hormone is up, the other one is usually down — which means that if your insulin levels are high, your glucagon levels are most likely too low and not properly burning excess fat.
Cortisol: As we’ve mentioned above, cortisol is your body’s stress hormone — which typically sees elevated levels during periods of stress. Unfortunately, cortisol usually works in tandem with insulin — meaning that when your insulin levels are high, your cortisol levels most likely are as well.
4. You’re experiencing acne and skin problems
Weight isn’t the only physical attribute that can be affected when your body is out of balance. Studies have shown that there is also a strong relationship between stress hormones and acne. When your body experiences increased levels of stress and anxiety, this can often lead to unwanted breakouts and decreased skin health.
One common culprit is a stress-related hormone called CRH (or corticotropin-releasing hormone). CRH binds to receptors in the skin’s sebaceous glands, which can then result in the production of excess sebum (or oil). Excess oil secretion is a common cause of acne, breakouts and skin inflammation.
How naturopathic medicine can help
Now that we’ve reviewed some of the most common signs that your body may be out of balance, how can a naturopathic approach help you optimize your hormone health?
Firstly, a naturopath will begin with listening to your concerns and holistic goals. Next, they may recommend hormone testing to properly diagnose your specific issues. Some treatment options may include:
Contact Yaletown Integrative Today
Yaletown Integrative is a new naturopathic medical group practice located in downtown Vancouver, BC. As passionate naturopathic physicians with a wealth of clinical experience, we are committed to helping you optimize your health again through naturopathic medicine.
To learn more about how we can help, contact the Yaletown team today. Start this year off by getting on a better path to wellness.
Have you been suffering from physical discomfort associated with muscle or joint pain? Do you feel off-balance, unmotivated, and lethargic? If so, you may have considered several remedies that promise short-term relief, while leaving you to deal with the recurring discomfort and pain in the long-term.
However, there are many forms of holistic therapies that can help you relieve this discomfort and improve your overall quality of life, without the negative effects associated with more invasive treatments. Acupuncture is one of those treatments, and many people have found long-lasting relief with this therapy.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that is performed by a certified practitioner. The goal of this practice is to restore your inner energy and life force, known as chi, which is believed to flow through pathways in your body.
Essentially, the practitioner will insert tiny needles into your skin along these pathways, otherwise known as meridians. The idea is that the insertion of these needles into your acupuncture points will encourage your body to realign itself and re-balance its energy flow. Additionally, the needles will stimulate the immune system, promote blood flow to the area, and encourage pain relief and decreased tension.
What are the benefits?
There are many acupuncture benefits, including stress reduction and pain relief. Many people swear by this therapy as a means of reducing their muscle pain, preventing migraines and relieving menstrual cramps. Acupuncture has also been shown to help with chronic conditions as well, such as arthritis and plantar fasciitis.
Additionally, many find that the practice of acupuncture also helps them mentally by treating their anxiety and depression. The consensus is that this therapy has the power to calm individuals to the point where they leave the acupuncture clinic with a more peaceful and centred sense of self.
How many sessions will I need?
The number of sessions you will need depends on your particular situation and the area of discomfort you are trying to address. Typically, one or two treatments a week for two months is enough to relieve your discomfort and restore your quality of life in the long-term.
However, some individuals may need regular treatments if their discomfort is on the more severe side. Chronic conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, or carpal tunnel syndrome may require a weekly treatment schedule over a longer period of time.
Does it hurt?
In short, acupuncture does not hurt at all and causes no physical pain or discomfort. The majority of people do not feel the needles inserted or even realize that they are there. This is because the needles are extremely thin and designed that way so they cause no discomfort.
During the procedure, the practitioner may gently twist or move the needles to align them even further. Again, you will not feel your practitioner manipulating the needles and you will not feel them remove the needles once the procedure is over as well.
Schedule your first appointment
Acupuncture is a holistic method of stress reduction and pain relief that many patients find works for them. If you are struggling with various types of physical discomfort or low energy levels and you are looking for a natural and safe treatment remedy, then you should consider acupuncture as your next step.
At Yaletown Integrative Clinic, we have certified practitioners ready to meet with you, discuss your needs and schedule a plan for your acupuncture treatments. Give us a call at 604-697-0397 or book online today!
Anxiety is a common mental health issue. A person experiencing anxiety typically feels uneasy most of the time and this condition can usually be graded as either mild or severe.
Although almost as humans feel anxiety at some points in our lives, due to high-expectancy and other related factors, it could pose an incredible threat to the lives of many; if not checked.
Many other ailments associate themselves with anxiety. Most of these ailments include phobias, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. Here are some common symptoms a person suffering anxiety will exhibit:
What are Naturopathic Medicines?
Naturopathic medicine is a conventional medical approach to treating patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder or other similar conditions. Although the use of pharmaceutical drugs has been proven effective in reducing anxiety symptoms, there are immeasurable side-effects associated with their use.
For a surplus of reasons, a pharmaceutical approach to treating anxiety can sometimes lead to an increase in the level of mental illness. It has also shown possibilities of creating dependencies, rather than healing the main cause of the anxiety.
However, using a natural approach as prescribed by a naturopathic doctor for treating anxiety is both safe and effective in treating associated symptoms. Naturopathic doctors make use of different tools in treating anxiety, such as clinical nutrition, behavioural therapies and botanical medicine.
Naturopathic Treatments for Anxiety
For your personal and medical safety, naturopathic doctors will advise you and take you through various therapies. They will help you focus on any invasive factors that cause the body and mind to feel anxiety and then restore their normal healthy functions. Some of these naturopathic therapies include:
1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
The first method of relieving yourself of anxiety is by living a healthy lifestyle. Your naturopath will help you by giving you advice on healthy lifestyle choices to reduce and eliminate your anxiety.
2. Take supplements
Supplements or naturopathic medicine such as GABA, L-theanine, hops, lavender, adaptogens, passion flower and skullcap are helpful with reducing any form of anxiety. These supplements are prescribed based on a patient’s unique needs.
3. Take action to manage stress
There are many contributing factors to the stress levels and anxiety that a person may experience. As a human being, there are many stress factors you may experience daily — however, your ability to improvise and manage these stress factors will help you avoid them effectively.
Naturopaths are skilled at helping clients minimize stress on a large scale. When addressing any possible stress management solutions, they may make their assessments by asking you questions designed to address your anxiety treatment seamlessly. The naturopath will also consider your body, mind, environment and nutrition before making a decision on what treatment may be most suitable.
As mentioned earlier, visiting a naturopath is a great step to take if you notice that your stress levels are rising. A certified naturopathic doctor will be able to evaluate your lifestyle and help you take the appropriate measures going forward.
4. Get regular exercise
Regular exercise is another effective method in reducing anxiety. By reducing more endorphins, getting proper exercise releases cannabis-like brain chemicals that can promote greater feelings of well-being. Exercise is also a great way to take your mind off of any underlying worries, thereby reducing any feelings of anxiety or stress.
Contact Yaletown Integrative Today
Want to learn more about our naturopathic medicine? Our passionate team of naturopathic physicians are proud to serve at your go-to clinic in downtown Vancouver, BC.
To learn more about the various benefits of naturopathic medicine and how we can help you, fill out our contact form and book an appointment with our team today!