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What Is Stress?

Stress. Can you get rid of it? No way! Stress is inescapable.

No one can live without experiencing some degree of stress all the time. Crossing a busy intersection, exposure to a draft, or even sheer job are enough to activate the body’s stress mechanism to some extent. Stress is not even necessarily bad for you; it is also the spice of life, for any emotion, any activity causes stress. But, of course, your system must be prepared to take it. The same stress which makes one person sick can be an invigorating experience for another.

With too little stress we’d be bored to tears; but with too much we’d develop emotional and physical disease. Properly handled, however, stress can mean a life of challenge, excitement and growth. For example, the biographies of famous scientists, explorers, artists, writers, entertainers, businessmen and others reveal that times of intense personal stress are also times of insight, creativity, accomplishment and personal growth.

It’s often said that stress is one of the most destructive elements in people’s daily lives, but that’s only half-true. The way we react to stress appears to be more important than the stress itself.

The only way to get rid of all stress in our lives is by dying, so you have no real choice. You can either grow, thrive and heal in the face of stress or be reduced by it to illness and disease.

What Causes Stress?

Things that cause stress are called stressors. The world is full of stressors. That can be as simple as a speck of pollen in your nose or as complex as a first date; as uneventful as going out for a walk or as dramatic as facing surgery.


What Happens When You Face Stress?

  1. First, your body quickly prepares itself for confrontation. This is the “call to arms”-the alarm reaction. Messages stream from your brain to your endocrine (hormonal) system in a “fight or flight” response. If the stress stops, you revert to normal.
  2. If the stress continues, you go into the stage of resistance. Your body tries to adapt to the stress; it puts up the barricades, so to speak. You run from or fight the threat; you tense your muscles; you raise your body temperature, you struggle to prevail.
  3. If the stress still continues, you may pass into the stage of exhaustion. Your body cannot continue indefinitely to be primed for action. Your system falls prey to anxiety, ill-health and chronic dis-ease (disharmony).

Chronic Stress

In olden days you’d see a lion, a tiger or a bear and run away from it, or you’d fight it and kill it so it would become your dinner (or you its dinner, in which case you would definitely kiss all earthly stress goodbye). But what of your boss or spouse? What about making a living and paying bills? You can’t run away and you can’t kill, you have to stay and cope. Living in this world of not quite fight and not quite flight, causes you to carry around unresolved, chronic stress much of the time. With chronic stress you can never completely relax, your muscles are always tense, energy is drained, and your body and mind become fatigued, more susceptible to colds, infection, ulcers, digestive troubles, high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis, heart disease and premature aging. This unresolved stress slowly robs you of health and vitality and ultimately, of life itself.


Companionship is one of the most effective means of coping with and reducing emotional stress. NASA research has shown that married astronauts were more emotionally stable than their single counterparts. Furthermore, recent research has indicated that having a pet helps one to combat stress; studies have shown that dog owners have less stress because of the calming effect of their pets.

Elderly pet owners visited doctors less than their same-aged counterparts who had no pets.


A person under intense psychological stress is more likely to have a weakened immune system. In a 1988 study, students were divided into three groups; one worked crossword puzzles, one was given relaxation training, and one received relaxation and visual imagery training in which they pictured their powerful and strong immune systems attacking weak flu and cold viruses. Group one showed no increase in immune cells: group two showed a slight increase: and group three a significant increase after only one hour of training.

Among other techniques for stress reduction is meditation which many practitioners have claimed is able to affect a wide spectrum of ailments, particularly tumors and infectious diseases.

The Chiropractic Approach

Chiropractors relieve your body from one of the most destructive stresses you may experience: the vertebral Subluxation complex. The vertebral Subluxation complex is a dangerous stressor that can damage your nerves, weaken your health and exhaust your energy stores.

There is no neurotic problem, which does not manifest in each aspect of the individual’s function. As an important structural element in the body, a weakness in the backbone must be reflected in a serious personality disturbance.

Doctors of chiropractic are the only professionals specialized in the correction of the vertebral Subluxation complex.

The Subluxation As A Stressor

Subluxations cause damage to your nervous and skeletal systems, fatiguing and weakening you both physically and emotionally. Your ability to deal with life’s stress is compromised, and this paves the way for sickness and disease.

Many diseases are actually not so much the direct results of some external agent (an infection, and intoxication) as they are consequences of the body’s inability to meet theses agents by adequate adaptive reaction.

Studies have shown chiropractic’s ability to reduce anxiety levels. Chiropractic care, by removing vertebral subluxations from your body, can improve the function of your nervous system and promote better adaptation to environmental stress, whether physical or psychological.


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