Iris Healing Arts

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Nurturing Body, Mind, Soul, and Spirit

Iris Heal Site Logo

Nurturing Body, Mind, Soul, and Spirit

Integrative Therapies for Chronic Stress

Restorative yoga pose alleviates chronic stress.
Restorative yoga alleviates chronic stress.

Are you suffering from the effects of chronic stress? If so, you are not alone. Over 80% of people report high levels of ongoing stress related to various societal stressors. Additionally, the high prevalence of anxiety and stress causes significant health effects. This post addresses solutions to enhance your stress resilience. We may not always be able to reduce external sources of stress. However, we all can learn effective coping strategies and healthful solutions. Here, I present some integrative therapies for chronic stress that are beneficial, highly effective, and life-changing.

Many Integrative Therapies Help with Chronic Stress

woman listening to music. Music soothes chronic stress.
Music soothes the soul.

Many integrative therapies are supported by research to help increase stress resilience. These include yoga (see Resources, Psycho-Spiritual), meditation, cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and exercise. Additionally, strong evidence supports mind-body and energy medicine approaches such as massage, reiki, polarity therapy, and hypnotherapy. I have worked with all of these modalities throughout my career.

Other therapies with strong efficacy include acupuncture, homeopathy, tai chi, music, and sound therapy. Ecotherapy or nature healing is also essential for recovering from chronic stress. Please see my Blog, Nature Healing, for more information on this burgeoning therapy field. Because they are so therapeutic, I often suggest these to my clients, especially acupuncture, music therapy, and nature healing.

Holistic Nutrition and Plant Medicine Harmonize the Whole Being

Woman walking in woods with her dog-removing chronic stress.
Exercising in nature is uplifting.

As a certified integrative mental health professional, I focus on supporting and harmonizing the body, mind, and soul. My integrative and functional medicine training also informs my work with holistic nutrition and plant medicine.

Plant medicine (botanical, herbal, or phytomedicine) has been practiced since prehistoric times. Furthermore, due to its popularity, relative safety, and effectiveness, many current research studies support its use. Here is an interesting botanical research study.

Please see my Bio for more information about my professional experience and qualifications. Also, check out Services, Integrative Medicine for Mental Health,  and Botanical Medicine for more information about my work. Thanks.

Couple at huge waterfall holding hands
Healthy relationships nurture us.

When we work together, we will focus on your primary concerns. Most people are stressed in several areas of their lives. As part of my holistic therapy model, we may also focus on your nutritional status, blood sugar, gut health, and function. Or you may need support for your brain health and quality of sleep. Some may choose to prioritize relationship healing. Whatever your chief concern, I work intuitively and comprehensively to meet your needs.

And if you are using food or other behavioral addictions to suppress your emotions, I specialize in resolving these issues. Amazingly, flower essences and essential oils have proven invaluable. For information on my work with emotional eating patterns, please see my blogs, Holistic Nutrition Eases Stress Eating, and Essential Oils and Flower Essences. Thanks.

Balancing the Adrenal Glands Helps Resolve Chronic Stress.

Relaxing at Surry Beach enable intuitive healing.
Here I am relaxing in nature.

The integrative stress management approach also involves balancing the adrenal glands and stress hormones. Stress is defined as any disturbance that triggers the stress response. For example, stressors may include extreme cold or heat, psychological factors, sleep deprivation, work overload, physical trauma, relationship issues, and toxic exposures. The body’s stress response system comprises the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Prolonged stress triggers the HPA axis. Hans Selye discovered the General Adaptation Syndrome, which consists of three stages of the stress response: stage 1: alarm, stage 2: resistance, and stage 3: exhaustion.

Hans-Seyles General Adaptation Syndrome Chart

Stage 1 adrenal fatigue is the alarm phase and is short-lived. The body’s normal fight-or-flight response to danger is characterized by elevated cortisol levels. Stage 2 is the resistance phase, which allows the body to continue buffering extended stress exposure long after dissipating the initial fight-or-flight response. Hormones released by the adrenals, such as cortisol and DHEA, help support the “resistance” reaction. However, Stage 3 follows an extended period of stress that not only burdens the system, creating an imbalance in cortisol and DHEA production, but can result in mental and physical fatigue, nervous tension, irritability, and poor memory.

Integrative health consultations include evaluating what level of adrenal fatigue you may be experiencing to guide and support you effectively. For example, I would personalize any recommendations for whether you are in adrenal stage 1, 2, or 3. Fortunately, several integrative health options such as adrenal support nutrients and formulas, stress management, and plant medicines may be helpful.

Here is a link for one of the many labs that perform an adrenal saliva test to determine what level of adrenal fatigue you may be experiencing,

Recovering from Fatigue and Depression with Integrative Mental Health Care

Woman relaxing in forest with dog reducing stress-eating.
Give your body and soul what it needs.

In addition to adrenal fatigue, there are many other physical causes of fatigue to consider. For example, genetic predispositions are important to evaluate, but epigenetics is the key to taking back control of your health through lifestyle choices and inner work. For more information, see this excellent book Dirty Genes.

Also, depression and mood disorders often accompany adrenal fatigue. In addition to psycho-spiritual factors, these conditions may be correlated with an inflamed gut and brain, infections, sleep disorders, metabolic disorders, toxicity, or thyroid imbalances. Indeed, an integrative health model includes obtaining a comprehensive medical evaluation by your providers. This is especially important if you are suffering from fatigue or depression.

My contributions expand upon this by incorporating integrative mental health approaches that suit your needs. For example, as a part of my holistic therapy model, my training in functional medicine and holistic nutrition will enhance your recovery from depression and fatigue. This multidimensional approach aims to restore healing to your body, mind, and soul.

Flower Remedies are a Secret Key to Recovering from Chronic Stress and Illness.

Flowers in a bowl of water. Flower remedies alleviate chronic stress.
Flower essences nurture the soul.

For healing to occur, it is also essential to include the psycho-spiritual dimension. Wounds to the psyche (soul) are often at the root of health issues. Because of this, it is necessary to honor your soul’s needs, no matter your chief concern. For a more detailed explanation, please see Services, Dream Work and Blog, Spirituality

Additionally, flower essences are very helpful in resolving psycho-spiritual issues because of their direct effect on the psyche. These organic plant medicines are also very helpful in resolving chronic stress and its impact on your health. Importantly, flower essences combine well with any other form of therapy and are matched according to your specific needs.

For example, you may suffer from fatigue and exhaustion from grief and loss, soul-weariness and burnout, or compassion fatigue. Here are some examples of flower remedies that may be helpful: Olive is powerful in resolving mental and physical exhaustion, while Wild Rose aids psycho-spiritual burnout and apathy. Flora-Sleep optimizes sleep by combining flower essences with essential oils synergistically.

Cutting-Edge Therapies for Depression and Anxiety

meditating by the sea aids chronic stress
Meditation is very beneficial for recovering from chronic stress.

Because anxiety and depression often accompany chronic stress and fatigue, utilizing an integrative mental health approach is vital. So, in addition to your thorough medical evaluation, I offer my expertise in exploring what you may not have considered thus far.

In addition to Flower Essence Therapy, Aromatherapy, or the therapeutic use of essential oils, is a wonderful adjunct to other therapies.  See 15 Best Essential Oils to Relieve Anxiety and Stress HERE.

Furthermore, it is important to understand the connection between leaky gut syndrome and mental and physical illness. A ‘leaky drug’ directly causes a ‘leaky brain.’ For instance, toxins that pass the blood-brain barrier contribute to many neurological and psychiatric conditions. And a leaky inflamed brain cannot produce neurotransmitters properly.

Fortunately, healing a porous intestinal lining and balancing these chemicals in the gut and brain can be achieved with an integrative health model. I have specialized training in this area to support and guide you.

Wild rose bush. Take the Bach Flower Personality Test to see if you need Wild Rose.
Wild rose essence restores vitality.

You may also have heard that the gut has an enteric nervous system that is strongly affected by acute and chronic stress. Therapy and stress management tools of all kinds, including flower remedies, are beneficial as part of any stress management plan.

To nurture the psyche, here are some flower essences that help with depression: Gentian, Gorse, Sweet Chestnut, Mustard, and Borage. Additionally, Illumine is another effective essential oil and essence formula for resolving depression. For more information, see this research article on the validity of using flower essences for depression.

Additionally, a holistic health approach is optimal if chronic stress has led to or exacerbated anxiety. Here are a few flower formulas for consideration: Five Flower Formula, Post-Trauma Stabilizer, and Fearless. You may also want to check out these essences: Aspen, Mimulus, and Mariposa Lily.

Summary of Integrative Therapies for Chronic Stress

Wild flowers in green field
Flower essences and essential oils complement one another.

In summary, there are many avenues that may support your recovery from chronic stress and your healing process. However, if your energy is low, or you feel a need for nurturing some part of yourself to proceed, I will guide you with the most effective, cutting-edge tools to jump-start your recovery. I look forward to hearing from you and supporting you on your healing journey.

Iris Healing Arts
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