A patient I will call Cindy grew up in Boston and came to my practice for acupuncture treatments because of breathing problems and low blood sugar levels. She was an incredibly active and nervous woman throughout her life, not able to sit still and always moving around energetically.
As a teacher in Boston, she loves to use her expertise and encourage children to become creative and passionate men and women. She also takes care of her loved ones. A few weeks ago, she had an extremely stressful work week. Afterwards, she suddenly developed chest tightness and breathing problems, so she went into the emergency room and got her lungs and heart assessed. Her organs revealed no abnormalities, but her blood oxygen level readings (which were quantified through her fingers) constantly fluctuated between 67 and 98%, with the left and right palms showing different readings.
She went to see a cardiologist and a pulmonary specialist and has been told her lungs and heart don’t have any issues. However, when her oxygen level fell below 87%, she began having anxiety and chest tightness. One day, while sitting at a conference in Needham, she became almost intolerably uncomfortable at the end of the day since her oxygen level had fallen to 76%.
During weekends, she doesn’t work and always sleeps well, but the blood oxygen level readings of her right side could still be much lower than those of her left side, which typically hovered around 98% percent. She couldn’t understand why both sides were so different. A friend urged her to see me to be able to work out the reason for her blood sugar level fluctuation and the gap between her left and right sides. I analyzed her symptoms in addition to her medical history.
She explained that she had been born with weak rotator cuff muscles, which I believe may have caused her throat muscles to be extremely tight. At the time she came to see me, she was 50 years old. Though she had regular periods, her adrenal and adrenal gland function was steadily declining, resulting in diminished production of”relaxing” hormones, such as GABA, serotonin and fertility, and rare panic attacks during which she would feel overwhelmed by her responsibilities.
The pieces of her body which allow her to deal with stress, like the hypothalamus and pituitary and adrenal glands, have nowhere near the performance they had when she was 20. Her estrogen levels were decreasing, but her progesterone levels, estrogen counterpart, were falling at a faster speed. Her unbalanced estrogen levels made her nervous system more sensitive to pressure, and her entire declining hormone levels caused her shoulder and neck muscles to weaken. If she experienced the identical amount of pressure she used to experience when she was twenty now, her body would endure long-term, irreparable harm.
It can help fortify her ovarian and adrenal gland function, so she can create more “relaxing” hormones to handle stress more efficiently. Before her first treatment, I asked her to measure her blood sugar level: the reading fluctuated between 70 and 90%. When I conducted acupressure research using a nurse practitioner at the Medical College of Ohio, I discovered that when infants sleeping on their stomach, their blood sugar levels typically increase and they’re more relaxed.
With that in mind, I ask Cindy to lie on her stomach: her blood sugar levels began to rise instantly. Afterwards, I put in a couple of needles to relax her neck and upper shoulder muscles. During this therapy, her blood sugar levels remained between 98 and 99 percent for the entire 50 minutes. NextI applied electric stimulation on her neck and shoulder muscles for ten minutes. I feel that her low blood sugar levels were associated with her tight neck and shoulder muscles. However, it seemed strange to me that more people don’t suffer from her ailment.
How the rotator cuff muscles on her side were created weaker than the muscles on her left side could explain why her blood oxygen levels were always different on both sides of her body. Additionally, her hyperactive nervous system likely exacerbated the situation. When you’re stressed out or have been sitting for too long, your neck and upper shoulder muscles become quite tight, which might trigger nerve wracking, causing your breathing to become shallow and not as efficient. Because of this, your blood sugar levels begin dropping, particularly in the lack of fresh air, and you become increasingly stressed.
This is why many men and women working in confined spaces need to go out regularly for new air to keep their productivity. When a man or woman is in a restricted space with several people, lower oxygen levels in the atmosphere can cause his/her blood oxygen levels to fall and may cause anxiety and panic attacks. In contrast, taking a stroll on the beach or in the woods, where oxygen levels are high, can relieve tension and cause you to feel relaxed and happy. If you’ve got no time to visit the beach, simply open the window or stand out and take deep breaths.
Recent research suggests that meditation together with a particular sort of relaxed thinking and deep breathing can actually change your gene expression. As an example, if you’re born with a hyperactive sympathetic nervous system, meditating can create a balance between your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This way, when you must deal with anxiety, you can stay calm and breathe deeply so that your heart rate won’t go up too high and your breathing won’t become too shallow.
When you’re in a more relaxed state, your digestive system becomes more efficient, your heart rate slows down and your immune system is much more balanced, so it is possible to avoid many sorts of ailments, like heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases and various sorts of inflammation. This is why people who sleep well and stay relaxed the majority of the time tend to live longer and healthier lives. Genetic factors can only contribute so much to our wellbeing: we can alter our gene expression by turning bad genes and turning good genes. Balance is the key for a healthier and happier lifestyle.