Are You Sympathetic (part 2) 

 February 17, 2015

By  Steve Hoffman

So last time we talked about some of what goes on in your body when you are under stress.  So again, I’ll ask the questions: What is the problem with being under this constant, low level of stress that we are under these day? Well, our bodies were not designed to be under this type of stress for such extended periods. We end up with adrenal exhaustion, many of us walking around “wired and tired”. That constant low level of stimulation makes it hard to go to sleep, even when we are exhausted because of all of the stress hormones that we produce throughout the day. When our bodies are stimulated with adrenaline, it makes us crave things like sugars, refined foods and simple carbohydrates that satisfy the need for a quick energy burst, but then leave us crashing and wanting more (and who comes riding to the rescue but the processed food industry!). This cycle sets you up for weight gain, mood swings and even diabetes, heart disease and a host of other health challenges. When we don’t get enough rest and digest time, our bodies don’t properly repair themselves, simple strains can become chronic issues.  Our immune systems do not get rebuilt overnight when we are supposed to be resting, leaving us open to colds and flus or even worse. It is a well know fact that if you had chicken pox the chicken pox virus stays dormant in your body. As long as your immune system is strong the virus will remain dormant, but under times of stress the virus can re-assert itself resulting in shingles.  If your immune system can’t keep that at bay, what else might be slipping by? OK, I hear your: what can I do? I’ve listed a few natural remedies below that can help.


  • B Complex: B vitamins are warming and energizing. They build Qi and blood.
  • Tyrosine: precursor to norepinephrine (often deficient in chronic fatigue)
  • 5HTP: precursor to serotonin, for deeper sleep, weight loss, anxiety

Adrenosen by Health Concerns and Adrenotone by Designs for Health are both effective adrenal tonics for fatigue due to adrenal burnout.


I recommend getting 20-30 minutes of exercise 4-5 times a week. Exercise will help balance your body by burning through the extra stress hormones that you have produces throughout the day and by producing some much needed endorphins. A mix of cardiovascular (as simple as walking) and restorative exercises (yoga, tai chi, qi gong) is best.


Yes, I said the “M” word. This may seem boring or time consuming, but those who develop a meditation practice often comment about how much more time they seem to have. This is because they can focus and complete more tasks without “spinning their wheels”. If you regularly practice meditation, you can get yourself in a meditative state very quickly, so that even five minutes aside during a stressful day can make a huge difference.

There are many wonderful treatment options for stress, including acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. While this article is not intended to fully cover this issue, it can give you a starting point to take control of your situation while living in these challenging, stressful times.

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

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