Stress? it is part of modern life, we cannot live without it? We can all relate to feeling stressed. It impacts our health, our sleep, our quality of life. It is estimated that stress plays a part in 95% of all diseases. In extreme cases, stress can have devastating effects on our brains, our bodies and on our lives.
Stress goes beyond just impacting the 9–5 office worker. In sports, controlling or not controlling stress is what wins or loses competitions.
New advances in technology to measure stress are changing the way we treat stress, using more natural, non-invasive techniques. Once you have a good understanding of how stress is impacting your brain and body, personalised treatments specific to you can be carried out.
In September, Dublin Quantified Self meetup group hosted Dr Tammy Verlann and Peter Ross from the Life and Balance Centre, based in Rathfarnham, Dublin. Tammy, a trained chiropractor, has been treating patients for the last 15 for stress and related illnesses.
During the evening we got a live demonstration of how the Life and Balance team would treat a client suffering from stress. First, to determine how stress is impacting the client, the team use the Neuroinfinit Stress Response unit, cutting edge technology that accurately gauges overall stress levels.
- Heart Rate
- Breathing Rate
- Heart Rate Variability
- Skin Temperature
- Skin conductance
- Muscle Tension
- Brain waves
Take the brain measurement for instance. The NeuroInfiniti will measure four frequencies of brain waves to determine how stressed the person is. Each frequency represents a different state the person is in, from most relaxed to very stressed and agitated?—?almost like gears in a car from fourth gear being fast to first being slow.
During the evaluation, clients are asked to do mentally demanding tasks and given stimuli to elevate their stress levels. Depending on how stressed a person is, and the brain and body will react differently. From those reactions, we can see how best to target treatments.
Measuring stress like this also has another important purpose. Often we don’t know how stressed we are. If we don’t know, we can’t measure if we’re getting better or not. Over the course Tammy’s career as a therapist, she has found that getting patients more aware of their stress levels is a crucial part of the treatment.
How can Chiropractic Therapy Help Treat Stress?
When we know what’s going on inside the body, it makes it much easier to treat the stress. Chronic stress manifests in the body in many ways. Your sympathetic nervous system is activated by the stress response. The nervous system also has a parasympathetic function, this is when growth, healing and repair occur. However in times of stress the sympathetic nervous system over runs the parasympathetic system, and it cannot do its job as well. The Nervous system becomes out of balance with a dominance of the sympathetic fight or flight state. Chiropractic therapy brings the nervous system back into balance so you can digest your food properly, you can rest or sleep well, you have more energy during the day and you are generally in a more balanced state.
Chiropractic therapy also has the advantage of being natural and drug-free.
Home Stress Self-Care
Chiropractic therapy is only one of the tools available to manage stress.
Biofeedback training is a process where people can use body monitoring equipment to train their bodies to become more relaxed. Devices can monitor many things including heart rate and breathing. Using breathing techniques prompted by the device, users relax into a more relaxed and meditative state.
HeartMath is a portable device that has some biofeedback elements that can be used with any smartphone or tablet.
The Life and Balance Centre recommend the use the HeartMath device with many clients in their clinic.
Can we Live A Life Free of Stress?
While living a life totally stress-free may not be possible, using the latest technology along with tools like chiropractic therapy are powerful ways to reduce overall stress levels. Changing the way we manage stress really can change our lives.
Life and Balance Centre
Quantified Self in Dublin
You can find Quantified Self Dublin on meetup, on Twitter and on Facebook. Our next meetup will be on sleep.