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The perception of modern medicine is that pharmacology, surgery and other treatments “cure” diseases and heal the sick. What many don’t realize is that medicine cures nothing. They simply help to allow your body to heal itself.

Most of us live in a chronic state of “fight, flight or freeze” - our body’s response to ongoing stress or feelings of being under attack. Our current world and lifestyles put us in this state, feeling hyper vigilant and constantly “on guard”. This is also the way our body responds to disease and injury. Heart rate and blood pressure are raised, the inflammatory cascade is triggered, blood sugar elevates and abdominal fat increases - all to protect us from the oncoming trauma our body perceives. This is a disease state, which over long term threatens our health and our longevity. To heal ourselves, we need to realign our neuro-endocrine systems so that we are in a healing state.

Our sympathetic nervous system prepares our body for stress or danger by increasing secretion of adrenaline like hormones which place us in that fight or flight state. In this state  neither can we heal our diseases and injuries, nor prevent our body from  developing new ones - hypertension, heart disease, collagen vascular disease flare-ups, increased cancer cell growth to name a few.

To heal or to remain in our healthiest state, we must shift our nervous system to the parasympathetic state, where our body’s defense systems shift from high alert to a state of relaxation. In a relaxed state, blood pressure decreases, blood sugar stabilizes, the GI tract relaxes, our brain impulses slow down, anxiety is reduced and healing begins.

In summary, stress increases our propensity for disease, and limits our ability to heal. Relaxation promotes healing and limits disease. How do we get there?

The first thing that must be done is to reduce ongoing stress. Anxiety is pathologic for our bodies, and may come from momentary stressors, or be due to past traumas that are yet to be resolved. Appropriate mental health is crucial to reducing stress and anxiety.

To maintain this relaxed, healing state, we must engage our internal endorphin and endocanabinoid systems, to help achieve the balance our body craves in order to heal. Simple measures like moderate exercise or improved sleep hygiene may be enough to keep our bodies in a relaxed, healing state. Yoga and meditation are, of course, great for engaging one’s parasympathetic nervous system. Care for the essential nutrients in your life - relationships, occupation, activity and spirituality - is essential to maintaining the healing state.

If you’d like to discuss personalized methods for optimizing your health, please reach out. Until I hear from you, I wish you good health.

Dr. John Monaco

MONACO Wellness


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