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Stress Response and Brain Health

Dr. Hans Selye, “The Father of Stress Research”, defined stress as: “The non-specific response of the organism to any demands made upon it.” Selye also stated that, “The cause of all disease is unresolved stress.”

While the body is naturally able to cope with fight-or-flight responses when a person is in danger, it is detrimental to the body to be in a state of chronic stress. The same biochemical and neurological responses are triggered. The problem is that in chronic stress these responses are never really fully neutralized before the next stressor arrives. This leaves an imbalance in the stress hormones as well as an imbalance in the autonomic nerve system.

Researchers at University of California, Berkeley, have shown that chronic stress generates long-term changes in the brain which could lead to the development of dementia later in life, especially Alzheimer’s disease. This stress state also leaves the body with very little energy or activity to heal, repair and regenerate.

It is imperative that a person finds ways to neutralize their stress so the autonomic nerve system and stress hormones can become balanced. This can be done in many ways including exercise, meditation, breathing exercises and spending time in nature. Cranial adjustments and tonal spinal adjustments that aim to clear the nerve system are also effective in getting the body back to a balanced state.

Dr. Beth Risser is a chiropractor who specializes in Torque Release Technique and Cranial Release Technique. She is the director of George’s Chiropractic Health Center, Ltd., located at 1676 Manheim Pike, Lancaster. For more information, call 717-569-5731, email or visit

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