Feeling Burnt out? You could have adrenal fatigue. How Massage can help:
You’re constantly fatigued, feel like you’re dragging, and even minor stress leaves you overwhelmed. You depend on caffeinated beverages, sodas, and salty foods to get you through the day and maintain a stable mood or energy level. And at the end of the day, no matter how tired you’ve been, you find yourself with a “second wind” of energy that keeps you up at night. Sound Familiar? You may be part of 80% of the population who suffer from adrenal fatigue.
More than just feeling tired, adrenal fatigue connotes an actual weakening of your adrenal function, and can cause many unwanted side effects ranging from weight gain to hair loss.
What Is Adrenal Fatigue?
Your adrenals are two glands that sit on top of your kidneys. They help regulate nearly every hormone in your body, one of which is cortisol, the stress hormone. When you undergo a period of prolonged or chronic stress your adrenals can potentially become too overwhelmed to properly regulate your hormones, including cortisol.
When your body isn’t properly regulating stress you’ll become irritated by small things. Instead of having energy during the day and being tired at night, cortisol fluctuations will leave you feeling exhausted at work and an insomniac at night.
What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue does not occur overnight. The Mayo Clinic reports that chronic, long-term stress is the most likely cause of adrenal fatigue. The belief is that when under prolonged chronic stress, your adrenals can’t keep up with your body’s constant fight-or-flight response. Because of this, they fail to regulate your body’s hormones properly. Other potential causes of adrenal fatigue may include: Surgery, trauma, or injury, chronic inflammation, infection, illness or pain, Overwork, including physical or mental strain or Long-term sleep deprivation.
What Are the Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal insufficiency can be diagnosed with something called an ACTH stimulation test, which measures changes in cortisol levels in the blood. A cortisol test will identify if your body’s level of this hormone are normal. Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue include: Chronic fatigue, feeling tired all day but you get a “second wind” around 11 pm, Shakiness or elevated heart rate as an overactive response to minor stress, Frequent insomnia, Reduced libido, Difficulty losing weight, Excessive thirst, Chronic pain or body aches, Constant cravings of salty foods, Hair loss, Muscle weakness, or Suppressed immune system.
How Massage can help you recover
Because hormones and neurotransmitters have such wide-spread impact on our health and well-being, the benefits of massage can be powerful indeed.
It’s absolutely vital for adrenal fatigue sufferers to take extra care in helping their bodies manage stress on a daily basis. Recovering from adrenal fatigue includes taking stock of your physical and mental well-being and making significant lifestyle changes that promote a regular sleep schedule, proper nutrition, and reduced stimulus from stressful situations.
A few Simple Changes in Your Lifestyle
Of course, massage alone won’t fix Adrenal Fatigue – its part of a bigger picture for a more mindful lifestyle that takes care of your needs and helps support your body in the healing process. A few changes you can incorporate into your lifestyle to recover your adrenals:
1. Go on a caffeine detox. Eliminate all caffeine from your diet until your adrenals are normal. This will help reset your cortisol levels.
2. Revamp your diet. Eliminate excess sugar from your diet. Eating excess sugar creates blood sugar spikes and dips that cause the adrenals to work harder. Focus on eating regular meals of colored vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.
3. Create a regular, early bedtime. Aim to get to bed at 10 o clock, before you get a second cortisol surge. Practicing “proper sleep hygiene” is an idea that’s become increasingly important in our fast-paced world, and part of that means keeping a regular bedtime so you train your body to sleep better.
4. Meditate. Aim to manage stress in a more proactive way. Instead of waiting until something upsets you to try and calm down in the moment (which can be difficult, especially when your adrenals are taxed,) begin every day with a 10-minute meditation. This will regulate your breathing, calm your mind and body, and help you better manage any stress that comes your way before it overwhelms your adrenals.
5. Massage therapy has been extensively studied and discussed in medical literature. It lowers cortisol levels, and increases serotonin and dopamine – perfect for defusing that adrenal fatigued brain on high alert (fight or flight) so that your hormones can come back to a more normal balance. (source: The International Journal of Neuroscience)
If you suspect you have adrenal fatigue, give some of these natural treatments a try and be your own advocate with your doctor. If anything, adrenal fatigue shows us that how we take care of both our bodies and our minds can have major consequences on our health.
Body & Soul Massage in Salem Ma offers the highest quality Massage and Bodywork. For more information about our services or our monthly Meditation Group visit our website: www.bodysoulsalem.com or call 978-825-0040.