A Natural and Powerful Approach to Chronic Stress Management
(How Kinetic Oxygen can improve the physiological stress response and reduce symptoms and consequences of chronic stress)
It’s believed that a small amount of stress in our lives can be a positive phenomenon. Just as our ancestors’ stress response was a good survival technique, kicking in to help them fight a bear or flee from an angry tiger, so today, the body’s immediate response to danger can help keep us safe and ensure our immediate survival. It’s also suggested that exposure to a reasonable level of stress that you can deal with and come out on top, can actually make you stronger and better able to deal with stress in the future. Richard Dienstbier’s ‘Theory of Mental Toughness’ (1989) states that experiencing manageable stressors, with recovery in between, can make us more mentally and physically tough and less reactive to future stress. However, as with many aspects of life, too much can cause problems!
The Body’s Response to Stress:
When we are exposed to anything considered a threat to our established way of being, the Amydala part of our brain, (in charge of sensory analysis and memory) interprets what we are experiencing through our senses and sends a fear signal to our hypothalamus (the ‘command centre’). The hypothalamus then sends out the order to the rest of the body to respond to the stress. It does this initially via the Autonomic Nervous System, stimulating activity of the Sympathetic branch and release of Adrenaline (also known as Epinephrine) into the bloodstream, causing the near-instantaneous effects throughout the body to bring about the ‘flight or flight or freeze’ response, which, for example, allows someone to jump out of the way of an oncoming car even before there’s been a conscious thought about it.
The second aspect of the Hypothalamus’s strategy against stress is to activate the hormonal stress response (slower than the nervous system effects). This involves the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis stress response. Via a carefully managed system of hormones and their receptors, the Hypothalamus signals the Pituitary to stimulate the adrenal glands to release Cortisol into the bloodstream (from where it exerts a multitude of effects).
After the initial surge of Adrenaline has calmed, it’s the increased levels of Cortisol which keep the body on high alert (continuing the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ effects) and ensure necessary physiological changes until the danger has ‘passed’.
The actual effects on the body of the fight, flight, freeze phenomenon are logical and, in the short-term, highly beneficial. For example, Adrenaline and Cortisol make your heart beat faster, pumping blood more readily to your muscles (and away from ‘less vital’ organs such as the digestive system), your breathing rate increases, blood vessels constrict (blood pressure rises), blood sugar levels go up and more stomach acid can be produced.
Once the ‘stressor’ has passed, or been removed, when all is working as intended, Cortisol levels will fall. The lowering of Cortisol levels, combined with activation of the Parasympathetic branch of the Autonomic Nervous system, act as the ‘brake’ for the Stress Response and returns physiology back to normal functioning.
However, when the apparent threats to our established way of being (i.e. stressors) are continuous or too frequent to allow recovery, the delicate HPA axis becomes damaged and this can result in persistently raised Cortisol levels.
Short-term stress may be beneficial,
but medium to long-term stress, or excessive stress,
can have serious effects on both your body and your mind.
Symptoms of Chronic Stress and high Cortisol can include:
- Lack of Energy, Fatigue
- Insomnia and non-restorative sleep (shallow sleep patterns)
Irritability and Emotionality
- High Blood Pressure
- Muscular aches and pains
- Muscular aches and pains
- A weakened immune system (frequent viral infections)
- Low Libido
- Digestive Issues (e.g. Heartburn, IBS)
Since elevated and chronically raised Cortisol levels are also believed to affect Serotonin levels, Chronic Stress can also put you at risk of developing clinical Depression or Anxiety (in which there are low levels of Serotonin activity in the brain).
Elevated and chronically raised Cortisol levels can also increase your risk of developing other serious conditions such as Diabetes, Heart Disease and Dementia.
In 2018, a large study carried out online in the UK, by the Mental Health Foundation, reported that, over the previous year, 74% had felt so stressed at some point that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. Of the 4619 participants, 46% reported that they ate unhealthily or ate too much because of stress and 29% reported they had started or increased alcohol consumption due to stress over the previous year. Responding to the study findings, mental health experts said the huge number of people affected should prompt employers, NHS staff and ministers to do more to reduce stress’s debilitating effects and provide more help.
The Governmental Health and Safety Executive, using data from the Office for National Statistics Labour Force survey, has estimated that 595,000 workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in Great Britain in 2017-2018, up from 526,000 the previous year.
The number of ‘sick notes’ written by GPs for ‘neurotic and stress-related disorders’ in the 2017-18 financial year rose from 576,000 in 2016-17 to nearly 620,000. (1)
Chronic stress is clearly a prevalent and apparently increasing issue for our time.
Traditional management of chronic stress has often involved medications, since Anxiety and Depression are commonly brought about as a consequence of long term stress, (6,7) with raised cortisol levels causing lower serotonin levels, which can result in Anxiety and Depression(8). Sometimes these medications can be effective to at least some degree, by increasing serotonin activity in the brain. However, this does not automatically decrease the dangerous cortisol levels or get to the ‘root’ of the problem. Many Antidepressant and Anti-Anxiety drugs also have many unpleasant side effects.
Another common approach to managing symptoms of long-term stress is ‘lifestyle management’. This can involve looking to address the causes of stress in one’s life, working on reactions and thoughts to life experiences via some kind of talking therapy, specific relaxation techniques, exercise, optimised nutritious diet and improved sleep management. All this is to be applauded and this holistic approach is definitely the preferable way to address the issues of long term stress. However, implementation of many of these techniques and changes can be extremely hard, especially for an individual already overwhelmed with stress.
Kinetic Oxygen offers new hope for those feeling overwhelmed with stress,
seeking an easy, effective, natural method of relief.
One or two Kinetic Oxygen sessions daily can have the physiological effects necessary to significantly reduce the symptoms of chronic stress, thereby reducing the risk of developing more serious conditions later on, and improving quality of life and wellbeing.
Through a patented process, similar to that which takes place on forest leaves in sunlight, Kinetic Oxygen Devices produce an energised form of Oxygen, comfortably inhaled by the user, which then:
Lowers raised Cortisol levels and boosts immune system markers (sIgA)(2)
Activates the ‘Rest, Digest and Healing’ Parasympathetic part of the Nervous System(4)
Improves oxygen uptake and energy production at a cellular level(5)
Optimises blood flow throughout the body and reduces cell damage by free radicals(3)
The benefits of these actions for the user include:
Reduced symptoms of fatigue, irritability and emotionality (More energy, better mood)
A calmer, more alert state of mind. (Better decision-making and faster cognitive processing)
Optimised sleep cycles (more restorative sleep)
Improved Wellbeing (greater quality of life and resilience)
It’s believed that the beneficial effects of Kinetic Oxygen are brought about via several physiological pathways, including optimisation of oxygenation in the body and production of Nitric Oxide, an important signalling molecule in multiple body systems.
Effects may be instantaneous (many studies demonstrate physiological changes within just one session of the intervention) and further research and anecdotal evidence suggests a cumulative effect from consistent use.
Particularly as part of a holistic stress management programme, Kinetic Oxygen is recommended as a first line intervention for individuals at home and employers in the workplace, in place of prescribed medication, to easily, effectively and economically reduce the impact of long term stress on personal health and wellbeing, and consequently workplace productivity and sustainability.
1. NHS Digital: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/fit-notes-issued-by-gp-practices/june-2018
2. Preliminary Findings on the Importance of Kinetic Oxygen in Managing the Impact of Stress. Dr C J Bowen, 2018
3. Harmful Singlet Oxygen can be helpful. Hulten LM, Holmstrom M, Soussi B, Free Radic Biol Med. 1999 Dec; 27(11-12):1203-7.
4. Report on a two-stage controlled study, using heart-rate-variability-measurements (HRV) in respect of the effectiveness of Airnergy+ Oxygen-Therapy, Dr Ulrich Knop, 2003
5. Concentrated Oxygen and Activated Respiratory Air: A comparison between the physiological effects of two inhalation applications. A study involving healthy test persons. Dr C Schollmann, 2004, Die Naturheilkunde No. 2 / 2004
6. Breier, A., Albus, M., Pickar, D., Zahn, T. P.,Wolkowitz, O.M., & Paul, S.M. (1987). Controllable and uncontrollable stress in humans: Alterations in mood and neuroendocrine and psychophysiological function. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 1419-1425.
7. Dolan, R. J., Calloway, S. P., Fonagy, P., De Souza, F. V. A., & Wakeling, A. (1985). Life events, depression and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function. British Journal of Psychiatry, 147, 429-433.
8. Dinan, T.G. (1994).Glucocorticoids and the genesis of depressive illness: A psychobiologicalmodel. British Journal of Psychiatry, 164, 365-371.