Virginia Satir, a famous family therapist, once said:
“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”
There are moments in time when no present in the world could boost the sense of belonging, of being accepted and appreciated for what you are. Hugs are designed for that, as they are simple and pure manifestations of empathy.
So what’s the science behind it?
Hugs improve levels of oxytocin, promoting feelings of contentment, reducing anxiety and stress,
allowing you to restore your emotional balance. Oxytocin also helps by lowering both our heart rates and our cortisol levels
(cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart
A hug is one of the easiest ways to show appreciation and acknowledgment of another person.
Think about it, how many times have you just felt better from a good hug?!
Affection also helps
in the reduction of stress which prevents many diseases. The University
of Miami School of Medicine has carried out more than 100 studies into touch
and found evidence of significant positive effects, including faster growth in
premature babies, reduced pain, decreased autoimmune disease symptoms, lowered
glucose levels in children with diabetes, and improved immune systems in people
Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the solar plexus chakra which stimulates the thymus gland, regulating the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.
With almost 70% of
communication being nonverbal, the interpretation of body language can be based
on a single gesture and hugging is an excellent method of expressing yourself
nonverbally to another human being or animal.
Hugs stimulate the brain
to release dopamine, the pleasure hormone. Low dopamine levels play a
role in the neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s as well as mood
disorders such as depression. Dopamine is responsible for giving us that
feel-good feeling, and it’s also responsible for self-motivation!
Hugging releases endorphins and serotonin into the blood vessels. When released, these improve feelings of pleasure and negate pain and sadness. They also decrease the chances of getting heart problems, help fight excess weight and prolong life.
Even the cuddling of pets has a soothing effect that reduces the stress levels. Anyone with a pet will know this already!
Hugging for an extended time lifts our serotonin levels, lifting our mood and creating feelings of happiness.
But as we became more and more confined in our in our own lives, with stress for jobs, worries and social norms, we also got uneasy to ask or to offer hugs, despite their health enhancing effects.
So don’t hold back, give a someone a hug today, it’s good for their health and yours
Even if you don’t say this often, there are definitely
periods of our lives when we all feel exhausted. I’ve certainly had stretches of time where I
feel as if I’m running on the hamster wheel, not getting anywhere with what I
have to do, but feeling exhausted as a result.
In fact it’s thought that 80% of us will undergo adrenal fatigue multiple
times in our lives.
Feeling tired and exhausted seems to be a natural state of everyday
life for many of us nowadays, and as a result we reach for stimulants such as
caffeine and sugar to keep us going. But
these quick fix pick me ups actually make the matter much worse.
The primary gland in the body to cause fatigue are the
adrenal glands and the biggest thing to impact them is stress. We’ve all heard of the term ‘fight or flight’
and stress of any kind can put our body’s into this state for long periods of
time, leading to what we refer to as adrenal burnout.
Stress comes in many forms, both physical and emotional and many of us are used to having a low level of stress in our lives and may feel we thrive on it. In addition to this, different stages of our lives, such as pregnancy and child birth and the menopause, put additional strain on our adrenals as they are required to work harder during these times. This may mean our usual levels of stress become overwhelming and we need additional support.
Let’s look at some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:
- You crash in the early part of the day, or
throughout the day.
- You feel tired all day, but more alert at home
in the evening. This happens when your
adrenal glands hold on to energy reserves in case an emergency arises.
- You’re exhausted but can’t sleep. The body needs adrenal hormones to help with
sleep, so a lack of these will cause sleep issues.
- You feel tired even after a night’s sleep. Again this is because of the adrenal
hormones needed to aid sleep.
- You are continually sweaty. This is a result of the entire endocrine
system being under stress and having to work harder to compensate for the
- You feel thirsty all the time and cave
salt. Cortisol affects the electrolytes
in your blood and results in nervous system problems.
- Blurry vision or difficulty focusing. Again this is down to a flood of cortisol,
which dehydrates the body. You may also
find dark circles around the eyes, which is an adrenal sign.
- Craving stimulants. This is usually a sign of
needing a quick energy boost for the lack of adrenal hormones. Alas the crash afterwards forces the adrenals
to over perform and then become exhausted, which over time makes the issue
Many of us can recognise a number of these symptoms as present in our lives. So how do we go about avoiding this and boost our adrenals, so that they perform at their optimum for us?
How to avoid fatigue:
- The most obvious but possibly hardest is to
avoid long term stress and extreme stress as this sets up the over production
- Avoid artificial stimulants such as caffeine,
energy drinks and drugs that give you an artificial boost.
- Strong negative emotions are another strain on
the adrenals. Fear, anxiety, anger,
grief. Anything that makes you feel bad emotionally. Positive emotions will give you a boost!
- Eat regularly.
Eating 3 times a day will cause your blood sugar to drop and this forces
the body to use hormones such as cortisol to keep it ticking over. This puts strain on the adrenals and little
time to recover. Snacking every couple of hours on foods such as apples, dates,
avocados will help keep blood sugar levels stable.
- Avoid eating too much meat. The fat in meat will put a strain on your
pancreas and liver, eventually creating insulin resistance. This is turn makes it difficult for your body
to maintain stable glucose levels, which your adrenal glands then need to
regulate by creating additional hormones to compensate.
Supplements and herbal support:
You could take an all-round adrenal support supplement, which contains a range of vitamins and herbs to optimise the glands function. Or if you prefer, you can take individual supplements as noted below:
- Ginseng: More suited to men, but women may take it. Will balance the adrenals, increase stamina, energy and libido. Helps to protect the adrenal glands from overreacting to stress.
- Borage: Anti-inflammatory properties, supports adrenal cortex. Helps revive and renew adrenal glands particularly after steroid treatment.
- Discorea: Excellent for restoring the endocrine system. Anti-inflammatory and blood purifier.
- Passiflora: quietens the nervous system, aids sleep in those who are stressed and overwrought.
- Skullcap: a wonderful herb for anxiety and nervous tension.
- Liquorice: can support underactive adrenal glands and boosts the entire endocrine system. Seen as a natural steroid. Will balance the levels of cortisol and cortisone. Can be taken as a tea.
- Vitamin C: Lowers inflammation in the body and soothes the adrenal glands.
- Magnesium: Lowers anxiety and calms overactive nervous system, reducing adrenal stress.
- Chromium: Helps balance insulin levels and improves the strength of the adrenal glands, thyroid gland and the pancreas.
- Selenium helps to normalise the immune system, thyroid function and protects the body against stress.
- Ashwagandha: helps balance the production of testosterone and cortisol. A great supplement for use during the menopause.
- Astragalus: strengthens the immune and endocrine systems
- Lemon Balm: replenishes the nervous system and helps regulate the production of insulin
- Rhodiola: optimizes adrenal function.
My two essences Calm and Energise contain a combination of many of the above herbs and are worth considering as an easily accessible support. Have a browse through my shop page for more information on them.
Of course, there are many homeopathic remedies which can be considered too!
Do get in touch if you’d like my help and support
With Gratitude, Sophie x
would your response to that question be?
Is your daily medication, which you take to reduce your blood pressure,
stop your menopausal symptoms, reduce your asthma symptoms, whatever the
medication is for, could it be undermining your healthy diet, by depleting your
body of the vitamins and minerals it needs.
The answer is yes!
of whether they are prescription drugs or over the counter medication, without
hesitation, they will be stripping the body of what it requires on a daily
basis to maintain a level of health and wellbeing.
So, now not only do we need to think about eating enough fruit and veg every day, we also need to think about what shortfalls there may be as a result of medication. Enough already!
Let’s look at a few examples of this
Antibiotics are widely taken across the world and it is commonly known as a medication which depletes the body of beneficial gut flora, the friendly bacteria in our guts. In addition to this, antibiotics will also steal from our body’s stores of B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and iron.
Blood pressure medication will remove a large number of vitamins and minerals from the body. Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, potassium, melatonin and zinc.
How about HRT and other hormonal medications? These will deplete the body of beneficial gut flora, magnesium, zinc, vitamins C and B.
A simple pain relief pill, taken for a headache perhaps, will deplete the bodies’ stores of vitamin C, Folic acid and iron.
Regardless of what the medication is for, the effects will be a shortfall of essential nutrients.
But what does this mean to our general health? The symptoms of these shortfalls in vitamins and minerals are varied.
Vitamin C, which we all think to take when we need to boost our immune system, is responsible for the integrity of connective tissue in the body. A lack of the vitamin will result in frequent infections, lack of energy, bleeding gums, slow wound healing and poor skin.
Vitamin D, helps to support bone health. A shortfall will lead to muscle cramps, arthritic pains, tooth decay, hair loss, excessive sweating and a lack of energy.
A lack of Zinc in the diet will cause infertility issues, poor sense of taste and smell, skin issues, frequent infections, poor appetite and depression. A sure sign that you have a Zinc deficiency are white marks on your nails.
The big one, which the majority of us are short on regardless of what medication we take, is magnesium. Magnesium is a natural tranquiliser, soothing and cooling the nervous system and brain. A lack of this mineral causes muscle weakness and pain, insomnia, depression, high blood pressure and an irregular heart beat. It can also lead to constipation as it is a natural laxative.
Can I just nip to the shops and buy a cheap multivitamin?
When clients come to see me for nutritional advice, I always suggest they buy the most expensive vitamins they can afford (such as those made by Cytoplan). It’s the one area that I advise not trying to scrimp and save on. Vitamins from the supermarket may seem good value, because they are inexpensive, but this is because they are full of cheap fillers such as corn starch and chalk, which in themselves cause problems in the body.
Our bodies are literally under attack every day. From the environments we live in, our stressful and busy schedules, the pesticides used for foods and the chemicals added to foods and water. It would be a tall order to try and remove all of these from our diets and eat clean, organic foods, avoid medications and pollutants every day for the rest of our lives. However, making a few small conscious changes to your everyday life will have long term benefits for our body’s various organs and our quality of life.
And of course, I’m here to help