When you are searching for an endometriosis natural cure, you may have found a plethora of information around what foods you should eat, what herbs and other supplements you could take, or perhaps you have ventured into homeopathy or essential oils. But all too often, most of these things fall short of your hopeful expectations that you will find relief from this chronic disease. Read on to find out why.
There is something that doctors are not telling you.
Doctors and surgeons are trained in a particular way, and that is to treat symptoms rather than causes. They do this with drugs and surgery. They are not trained in nutrition (unless they have specifically gone out to get extra qualifications in this area) and they are most certainly not trained in how your level of stress affects your symptoms, and what role stress may have had in causing the condition in the first place.
If you have a disease in your body, you are under stress whether you are consciously aware of it or not.
One of the key things to understand when you are faced with a serious debilitating disease like endometriosis (or any disease for that matter), is that your level of happiness and life fulfillment is directly linked to the wellbeing in your physical body. We have been conditioned to believe that it is only our external enviroment that has an impact on us and therefore our happiness level. You may think ‘Oh if only I didn’t have this disease, then I would be happy’. But the truth is, at a deep level, this is like putting the cart before the horse.
Our internal feelings and habitual ways of thinking as well as our external experiences in life affect our biology.
This is actually something the medical field knows about, but there is still a disconnect in how medical practitioners treat their patients when it comes to treating their illness. It is not the fault of doctors, they are trained in a way that deals best with emergency situations, and that is why we need them. But when it comes to chronic illness, they don’t have time to look at all the root causes that are linked to your condition. This is why it becomes crucial that in conjunction with utilizing the expertise of our doctors and gynaecologists or other medical practitioners, we must also take matters into our own hands by training ourselves to take more control of our internal enviroment both on a physical and emotional level. Doctors can only do so much. The majority of the healing must be done by us.
Studies around stress and endometriosis.
A study published in the Reproductive Sciences journal in 2012 concluded that stress prior to endometriosis most likely contributed to the development of the disease, and it stated that their results ‘…fill an important gap in knowledge of the endometriosis field, by providing evidence supporting the involvement of stress-activated neuroinflammatory mechanisms in this chronic, painful disease.’.
Read the full study here.
A study at University of Siena and University of Naples Federico II in Italy proposed that ‘…..high levels of perceived stress caused by symptoms cause a neuroendocrine disequilibrium thus contributing to the progression of the disease.’ In other words, not only does prior stress contribute to the disease, but the stress caused by the symptoms of the disease itself, make it even worse. It also went on to say that ‘ Inflammatory comorbidities (in other words, linked medical conditions) may be associated with elevated stress in endometriotic patients (inflammatory bowel disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue) and even autoimmune diseases (thyroid disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis).
Read the study here.
Stress is linked to higher inflammation in the body.
Knowing that endometriosis is an inflammatory disease, an effective treatment option to reduce the painful symptoms is to look at ways you can decrease your stress and therefore inflammation in your body. Diet can play a role in this, but before you go and make big changes with your diet, which can actually elevate your stress levels due to the new habit you must form and the social factors involved, in my experience with my own endometriosis
, it was much more effective to look for ways to decrease my stress first and thus reduce my over all inflammation in my body without changing my diet. This is not to say that you should not bother looking into changing your diet later, but lets take one step at a time. Often we try and make too many changes at once in our desire to feel well, and it gets too overwhelming and therefore we end up where we started.
The first step: Deep breathing techniques decrease your bodies stress levels and therefore over all inflammatory response.
As part of your over all management of endometriosis, deep breathing cannot be ignored, but it is not suggested by most doctors or other health practitioners because on the surface it seems too simple. However, it is one of the most powerful stress reducing activities you could do, and if you are serious about looking at alternative ways to put your endometriosis into remission, deep breathing is the most simple and foundational place you can start.
Deep breathing and other meditation based practices have been proven to reduce the stress hormones known as adrenalin and cortisol. When the body and mind are under prolonged stress, often cortisol levels can be too high. When they are too high it can have a negative impact on the immune system (which is known to be related to endometriosis), as well as the cardiovascualr system. If the cardiovascular system is affected, then our body and brain are getting less oxygen than they could be, which affects our mood, our pain response and therefore our over all stress levels. It is like a self perpetuating loop that gets worse unless we take steps to intervene.
Read a study on how deep breathing and stretching reduce stress hormones in patients presenting with post traumatic stress disorder here.
The key is to make deep breathing part of your overall lifestyle.
You didn’t develop endometriosis over night, so you are not going to find a quick fix to the disease either. Therefore, consistent practice of deep breathing over an extended period of time is mandatory. However, after just a few minutes of practicing it, you will immediately feel a shift in your emotions and mind and over time really begin to feel more physical benefits where you feel more comfortable in your body and have less pain. This is because you are activating the natural pharmacy that your body already has, and over time you will be literally changing your biochemistry into a more hamonious state.
Deep Breathing Exercise.
- Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight (when you are starting out, it is helpful to have your back supported with a pillow behind your lumber spine.) Begin by just noticing your breath coming in and out naturally, without trying to ‘do’ anything to it at first. Just observe where you are in your body. Is your breathing easy at this point? Does it feel shallow? Or is it deep? Are you able to let go of your belly? Or do you have a tendency to try and hold your belly in? Just observe where you are to start out with.
- Close your eyes and this time as you breath in, imagine the breath coming all the way down into your uterus. Allow your lower belly to expand. Let the breath go naturally as you exhale. Take a few more breaths like this and notice how over time it feels as if the breath is coming in throughyour lower belly and as you continue to inhale, it fills up your upper belly and then fills your chest.
- As you exhale, the movement in your torso reverses and gently pull your lower belly in towards your spine to squeeze out the last remaining air. Pause here for a bit, then when it feels right, allow air to flood back into your body where the movement starts from your lower belly once again. Pause once more at the top of the breath, then slowly exhale right down to the last drop if air.
- Make sure you have no tension in your neck and shoulders. The movement is initiated from the belly. Relax into your jaw and tongue. Relax down your face, and let go of any extra effort you feel you need in order to create this movement. The longer you stay with this breathing, the deeper the breath will become. Your breath is like a wave that starts at your lower belly, and travels to your upper chest, then back down again.
- By pausing at the top and the bottom of the breath, you give your body time to transform the oxygen molecules into something that can be more fully utilized. You are helping your blood become more alkaline rather than acidic. You are reducing the stress hormones in your body, and enhancing the immune boosting hormones. Your biochemistry is shifting into a state of more balance that paves the way for more positive emotions which further enhances the immune system. Ensure you are exhaling all the the air out as you gently pull your lower belly towards your spine.
- Stay here for as long as you feel comfortable. If you feel your breath is beginning to be a little laboured, spend more time on the pause at the end of your exhale, or it might be an indication that you are ready to end your practice session for today. Just go with what feels right. When you are ready, open your eyes and take a little stretch. Notice how you feel now in comparison to when you started this exercise.