What does it mean to be « sensitive »? More and more, people are describing themselves as sensitive or hypersensitive. In health, this statement can mean different things. There is emotional sensitivity, whereby psychologically we are easily triggered and reactive, either emotionally or through behavior. There is physical sensitivity, whereby we are sensitive to cold, heat, wind, rain, etc. And then there is chemical sensitivity, whereby many adverse events occur from coffee, nicotine, alcohol, medications, etc.
Naturopathic medicine aims to consider all of these sensitivities as one package. Are we emotionally sensitive because of a chemical sensitivity, or vice versa? Is it all in our head or all in our body??
There are 5 organs of detoxification: the lungs, kidneys, gastro-intestinal tract, liver, and skin. These organs function together in order to balance our level of toxic burden. Depending on our lifestyle choices, certain organs may be working harder than others.
The avoidance of chemicals and toxins in our environment is almost impossible. Furthermore, we are also experiencing heightened exposure to electro-magnetic frequencies with the extensive networks of wireless and cellular telecommunications. How does this impact our health?
Certain people will feel no effects, while others will. The combination of choices and genes determines our degree of sensitivity. However, if we look at multiple chemical sensitivity, and the growing field of environmental medicine, we can take another look at the effects of stress on our bodies…
People with multiple chemical sensitivities will often express strong cravings and addictions to food and caffeine. They experience stimulatory and withdrawal symptoms similar to a drug addiction, however without the drug! The stimulatory phase is expressed with hyperactivity, jittery, talkative, anxious and then later during the withdrawal phase will experience fatigue, confusion, brain fog, changes in body temperatures.
When looking at environmental toxicology and the effects on our health, it first targets the immune system, then neurological, and finally endocrine. Frequent colds and flus, allergies, auto-immune conditions, muscle aches and pains, nerve pain, headaches, menstrual irregularities, blood sugar regulation, etc. And funny enough, this is the same effects of what is termed « psycho-neuro-immunology ».
I am continually intrigued by holistic medicine and environmental medicine. I think we are at the front of a new wave of health and medicine. I hope that more research and integrative clinicians will be as well!!
I will write more on this topic in upcoming entries, but wanted to open today with some food for thought…