Rushing to answer the phone, I smashed into the corner of the desk with my little toe. After releasing the energy with a few swear words and doing some Reiki on my foot I saw the redness and swelling that indicate inflammation. Even with the pain and throbbing I had a moment of gratitude for my body doing its job.
Inflammation is the body’s way of protecting us. It comes in two forms, acute and chronic. My toe is the acute kind, in response to an injury the body dispatches an army of white blood cells to surround and protect the area, the blood cells release a chemical that causes an increase in blood flow to the area. All those cells and extra blood flow cause swelling, redness and warmth.
My body’s acute inflammatory response to the injury is the first step in healing. Swelling causes the injury to be immobilized and the increased blood flow helps clear the area of excess fluid and damaged tissue at the same time it brings in fresh blood cells and other necessities to begin repairs.
Inflammation in response to an injury is necessary and healing, but today’s epidemic of chronic, low-grade inflammation actually destroys the balance in your body.
Chronic inflammation is not easily visible and occurs in response to a toxic environment. Those toxins can include stress, food allergies or sensitivities, environmental toxins and poor diet.
Emotional stress causes an inflammatory response, only instead of blood cells rushing to one part of the body they flow all over in the blood stream because they can’t find the invader. Psychological, emotional or physical stress raises the level of cortisol in the body and create chronic inflammation.
The tricky part about chronic, stress related inflammation is that your body doesn’t know the difference between real and imaginary. If you think you are in danger (worry) your body will react with the same chemical response as a real-life threat.
Constant worry causes inflammation in the body.
But stress isn’t the only cause of unwanted inflammation in the body. Here are some triggers:
~Food allergies or intolerances
~Lack of sleep
~Lack of down time
~Disconnection from nature
Used in the right way, inflammation is beneficial to the body but it can also be destructive. It can cause the immune system to turn on itself and create autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases and lupus. Scientific tests suggest that chronic, low-level inflammation may be the cause of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. It can also cause anxiety and depression.
Medical terms that end in “itis” refer to inflammation such as arthritis, bursitis or appendicitis. The word “inflammation” traces back to the Latin for “set afire.” Anyone that has suffered from one of those “itis” illnesses will tell you that it feels hot and fiery.
In her book “Heal Your Body”, Lousie Hay describes the energetics of inflammation as fear, seeing red and inflamed thinking.
Fortunately, there are natural ways to reduce inflammation. Before considering a course of harsh, pharmaceutical medications why not try gentler, more natural ways first..
Eat good food: Identify and eliminate food allergens. Get plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Plant based proteins like beans and nuts are a good addition along with fish and healthy fats.
Reduce stress: Choose a way that works for you. Spending time in nature, meditation, breathwork, yoga, massage, energywork, exercise or hobbies. Just make sure that it is relaxing.
Make sleep a priority: Keeping to a schedule can help regulate your sleep. Also limit the use of electronic devices right before bed.
Take the right herbs: Hemp oil is scientifically proven to reduce inflammation. (Click here for my blog Healthy not High about Hemp oil) Turmeric, Ginger, White Willow Bark, Devil’s Claw and Black Pepper all have anti-inflammatory properties as well.
Work with a wellness coach: Sometimes you need a new perspective to see the path. I can help you balance your life, health and energy to reduce inflammation and increase happiness.