Bio-electrical Aspects of Stress
Bio-electrical Aspects of Stress
Stress comes to us, conceptually, as a mechanistic metaphor: a force that acts upon a body to distort, compress, twist or pull apart. And stress is also the deformation resulting from such a force. Stress is the cause and stress is the result. Hans Selye brought to the physiological realm his discovery of "stress" as the cause of deterioration in lab rats. Despite the acceptance of Selye's physiological context, "no one has produced a universally accepted description." Perhaps the important component missing from the stress dialogue is the bio-electrical factor The speculation that follows condenses a research report on the bio-electrical aspects of the immune system.
When Selye took "stress" from mechanical physics and applied it to physiology, a loss of precision occurred. Mechanical stress can be measured exactly, and entered into formulas that reliably predict outcomes. The strategy of Selye lacks predictability. Attention to psychological co-factors, while immensely relevant, has not helped quantification. When research moves ahead into the bio-electrical area, as I believe it will despite resistance from funding institutions, the measurement of stress -- both as a cause and effect -- becomes theoretically more possible. The micro level of nerve transmission and muscle density resistance should be available to sensitive instruments designed for the purpose of measuring subtle electromagnetic fields and waves.
But enough of this futuristic speculation, let's look at what's happening now. The highly generalized definition of stress that works for me is "anything that puts a system out of balance or equilibrium," and "the out-of balance part of a system."
Paul St. John refers to the "tension-stress-pain syndrome" in his work at the Neuromuscular Pain Relief Institute in Largo. Recently he agreed that it is a feedback loop. When strained muscles refuse to return to equilibrium, this syndrome feeds on itself like audio feedback. Whether caused by sudden stress, or long-term stress, the resulting pain may only subside to a tolerable level. Then it hangs on.
Neuromuscular massage breaks this loop effectively. The Law of Facilitation states that when impulses are start over neurons, the increase in intensity, duration and repetition lowers resistance. Resistance can be expressed in ohms, a function of density, and nerve transmission can be expressed in terms of voltage and amperage -- on a micro level. But this is more art than science at this time. Deep tissue massage activates the pain receptors along with other nerve tissue that usually characterizes this therapy. Often, however, even very long term problems can be remediated in one hour.
If the feedback loop is not too firmly established it may be broken by a topical analgesic. Whether the topical is a stimulant, such as eucalyptus, or an irritant like drug store remedies, the sensation increases nerve transmission, bringing about some facilitation relief. Even better is a topical analgesic that helps restore equilibrium by increasing conductivity as well. "Energy medicine," Paul St. John says, "is the future of Medicine."
Turning now to enzymes, we see that the current excitement in nutrition centers around enzyme therapy and anti-oxidants. The bio-electrical aspect of anti-oxidants, free radical scavengers is apparent from ionic polarity. They have extra electrons with which they can neutralize the electron deficient free radicals. In the case of enzymes, though, the bio-electrical component is more subtle.
Catalysts are said to have a negative ionic polarity in gross chemical reactions, but not in more complex organic biochemical processes. The typical picture that we see of the latter kind is the "key-in-the-lock" image. The enzyme is the key that unlocks the large peptide chain and enables a necessary process to take place. But the RNA chain along the enzyme molecule has alternating polarities. These polarities may be just as important as the RNA message and may be the transmission channel of the messages. I believe that certain electrical fields strengthen the action of enzymes and those enzymes, in turn, strengthen the equilibrium that enhances the whole organic system.
A new and particularly exciting approach to metabolic equilibrium has been discovered by enzymologist, Dr. Dicqui Fuller. Her forthcoming book about "body balancing" reveals findings from more than 3000 cases. An astonishing correlation can be seen between the fat distribution of specific body types and particular enzyme deficiencies. What remains speculative is the bio-electrical fields associated with these types. Dr. Fuller's discovery of the enzyme correlation may be the first clue to this puzzle.
The power of the metaphor doesn't always get the respect it warrants. The mechanistic/physiological metaphor of stress, for example, can make as feel burdened when under stress -- it weighs on us, pressing in, vise-like. And yet, we are advised to alleviate this burden only by using our thoughts in a process of self-programming. This advice presupposes that stress is bio-electrical! When under stress, our nervous system has static, short circuits, outages, overloads, mismatched power values. But the brain triumphs as the bio-electrical organ par excellence. Using our brain constructively and creatively we can manipulate these stress effects, reroute them, dampen them and energize our own system. It pays to choose a self-empowering metaphor!
By Elan Chalford