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June 18, 2018  |  Login
Exercise and Stress Reduction
By James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.D.

You have heard the expression "Stress kills." There is some truth to this statement, although the way you perceive and respond to stress is more important. One crucial thing we can do as doctors and educators is to help people realize how stress is affecting their health and then recommend stress-reduction techniques to help people better handle their stress. In many instances, we have found that how patients handle stress makes all the difference between their healing or remaining ill.

Many people fail to see the connection between their health problems and how they handle their stress. Unfortunately, many doctors fail to see the connection as well. Research continues to show that how one handles stress is paramount to one's physical, mental, and emotional health.

The body responds to stress by releasing adrenal hormones, such as cortisol, DHEA, and other hormonal and neural chemicals, into the bloodstream. These "stress hormones" are powerful chemicals. When they are heightened or depressed for too long of a period of time, as a result of stress, a person becomes susceptible to disease. For example, high levels of cortisol are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and other serious illnesses.

The stress-reduction techniques in this chapter will help you to lessen the effects of stress on your body. Keep in mind that everyone is different, so you should choose the technique(s) that interest you most. As with anything, the more you practice them, the more helpful they will be in preventing and treating health problems. Many professionals in these areas can be of assistance.

You can use the following techniques to reduce the effects of stress and improve your health.

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