Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Follow up to first "How Oppression Makes You Sick" conversation

Thanks for those who were able to attend the "How Oppression Makes You Sick: Towards a Healthy Politics" event. It was great having some healers in the room. One of the things we talked about was Chronic Adrenal Fatigue. Here is a quote about it from a book called Oppression: A Social Determinant of Health.

This is from the chapter "People Under Threat" and was posted on the Facebook “event” page. And sparked a discussion.
 
“These worries, along with the stresses of everyday racism, sexism, homophobia and the impacts of colonialism have a profound impact on the body’s stress managing systems – the sympathetic adrenal medulla (SAM) and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal cortex (HYPAC), both located near the brain.”
 
“The SAM-HYPAC system is structured to deal with everyday stresses in addition to more acute stresses. The system regulates our bodies through short-term stressful times and helps us maintain overall wellness. The problem arises when long-term, chronic stresses, such as those described above, eventually overtax the SAM-HYPAC system. The adrenal system becomes overwhelmed and is unable to maintain physiological balance. The result is adrenal fatigue. Chronic adrenal fatigue causes depression, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, ulcers, chronic stomach problems, allergies and eczema, autoimmune diseases, headaches, kidney and liver disease, and overall reduced immunity (Varcarolis, 2008). These physical and mental health outcomes of adrenal fatigue are embodied in oppressed peoples. They combine with social and material deprivation and discrimination to create consistently unjust health outcomes and an everyday kind of physical and spiritual suffering that has gone unacknowledged for far too long.”

“The health care system is ill-equipped to engage in the anti-oppression practice necessary to honour the impact of chronic stress on the minds and bodies of oppressed individuals and families.”

Part of the discussion…

Question - Is there any herb or practice that can support our adrenal system? Is acupuncture helpful for this?

Answer 1 - Acupuncture is EXTREMELY helpful for this. One of the best, especially when combined with kineisiology to diagnose herbal and vitamin therapy. These modalities treat the underlying cause of illness, not just symptoms.

Answer 2 - That's an excellent question! We'll try to explain so someone who didn't attend gets some of the background we discussed.

When we take a step back and look at it - depression, diabetes, cancer, etc. are diseases in themselves and symptoms of Chronic Adrenal Fatigue, which can be a result of living under oppression. So we can treat the diseases mentioned with lots of medicines both Traditional and Western practices. We can treat the body systems, which become exhausted through living with oppression, with many of these medicines as well.

What we cannot treat with these medicines is the foundational cause of the ill health or dis-ease, oppression - in its various forms. That is why it is important for all healers to also  work on the system and policy changes needed to eliminate (or at least reduce) oppression. Even small amounts of advocacy will help.

It is like giving asthma medicine to a child who lives in a home with mold. The medicine will deal with some or almost all of the symptomatic issues, maybe to the point of someone saying it is "under control." Until the underlying environmental issue - mold  - is dealt with that's not completely true. If it is an issue that landlords are not held accountable to keep healthy living conditions then a policy change is also needed.

So there are lots of things we can do starting with ourselves, our families, our neighborhoods, and finally our society which will help alleviate the stresses on our adrenal systems.

Additional Comment:
It would be great to have some of our healers talk about the individual, community, and policy ways to create health.

If it is done correctly even politics can create health!

1 comment:

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