What are they and how do they affect us?
Our bodies are normally able to sense threats from viruses or bacteria, and our immune systems are wired to attack these viruses and bacteria when they invade our bodies.
An autoimmune disease occurs when one’s immune system ceases to differentiate one’s body’s healthy cells from foreign, invading cells and mistakenly attack one’s body. In short, our immune system attacks our body.
Autoimmune diseases come in many shapes and forms and they can affect any part of the body.
Some examples of Autoimmune Diseases (1) are:
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
Inflammatory bowel disease
Type-1 diabetes mellitus
Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
Why do autoimmune disease occur?
The causes of autoimmune diseases are uncertain as of now, but researchers have suspected some of the contributing factors to autoimmune diseases:
Gender, age, genetics, viral infection, stress, nervous system malfunctioning, sleep disturbances, and hormonal discrepancies. (2)
No-one is truly intact and every person has a weak link. We all have a pathological potential we inherited from our ancestors or developed through our own lifestyle. And we layer on habits like eating poorly, smoking, unhealthy sleep patterns, etc. plus our memories of trauma and our emotions. All this put together, accumulated over a lifetime, can unbalance a human being’s capacity to function. Illness, whether it is physical or psychological, evolves over time. While the disease takes its time to form, it can appear suddenly.
Symptoms range in severity, depending on the type of disease.
Extremity paraesthesia (pins and needles) and numbness
Popping and /or clicking in joints
Involuntary muscle twitching
Trembling in the limbs, often when they are about to be used
Headaches and migraines
Poor balance and occasional dizziness
Jaw stiffness/pain, and pain in the ears with tinnitus
Poor short-term memory and concentration
Anxiety and depression
While autoimmune diseases do not cause sepsis (life-threatening illness caused by infections), certain autoimmune diseases increase the risk of developing infections, which can trigger sepsis. Certain medications which treat autoimmune diseases can weaken the immune system further, making it more susceptible to infections.
During an infection, the body releases chemicals into the bloodstream to fight off the infection. Sepsis is caused by an infection and can happen to anyone. However, the inflammation in sepsis can produce blood clots and leaking blood vessels. Without proper treatment, this can damage your organs and potentially lead to death. It can progress to septic shock with your blood pressure dropping and your bodily systems starting to shut down. Your lungs, liver, and kidneys can fail.
While we cannot fully prevent autoimmune disorders from forming, we can do our best to reverse the disease (4).
We start by identifying the contributing environmental and lifestyle factors which are triggering the autoimmune diseases. Once we have boiled down to the root causes of the triggers, we can then work on re-balancing our immune system.
Functional Medicine Doctor, Amy Myers, suggested five ways to reverse the autoimmune diseases: (4)
- Healing your gut by reducing inflammation and increasing intake of probitoics
- Optimize your diet through an elimination diet
- Reduce your toxic burden by avoiding contact with chemicals (air, food, water) and improving the detoxification functions of your liver.
- Heal your infections by strengthening our immune system
- Relieve your stress levels through meditation, exercise or other enjoyable activities
CranioSacral Therapy to help manage autoimmune disease
I’d like to add CranioSacral Therapy (CST) to the above as another tool to help prevent or reverse autoimmune disease since it works great on encouraging the release of tension stored in our body caused by physical, emotional, and/or traumatic stress. As I work on helping the body and central nervous system down-regulate back to its parasympathetic state, the physical restrictions holding our body in its fight or flight reaction loosens. SomatoEmotional Release can also help with releasing the stressors and emotions that were trapped in corresponding parts of our bodies that causes tension and restriction.
With the body in parasympathetic state, the natural self-healing mechanism kicks in and the road to recovery can start again. Realistically speaking, this doesn’t happen within one session. Just as the autoimmune disease didn’t develop in a day, healing the body takes time. The body needs to relearn that it is not the enemy. And many times, there were other layers that triggers the body to attack itself which we might need to identify and tackle using SomatoEmotional Release.
If you would like to explore CST as a way to help you manage your autoimmune disease, please get in touch. I’ll be happy to have a chat with you to see how I may be a support pillar in your journey.
(1) (3) https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/autoimmune-diseases
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