How to Reverse Adrenal FatigueJun 28, 2022
Dr Ameet explains in details about adrenal gland function, adrenal fatigue, adrenal fatigue symptoms, HPA axis and link with the liver.
He shares on how to reverse adrenal fatigue and how can stress cause fatigue. He also touches upon the best herbs for adrenal fatigue, trauma and stress related disorders.
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Welcome, everyone, to this interview where I'm super excited to be talking to Dr. Ameet Aggarwal. Firstly, Ameet, welcome. Thank you so much for joining me to discuss how to reverse adrenal fatigue.
So Dr. Ameet has been voted one of the top 43 naturopathic doctors worldwide and has helped thousands of people around the world heal from trauma, anxiety, depression and chronic disease by combining naturopathic and functional medicine, Gestalt psychotherapy, family constellations therapy, EMDR and homeopathy.
His best-selling holistic medicine book, heal your body, cure your mind; online therapy sessions and online courses have helped thousands of people heal their minds and body together with emotional release techniques and holistic medicine. Dr. Ameet also treats poor communities and children living with disabilities in Kenya through his charitable work and sales of his book and Free Holistic Medicine Courses Online.
So Dr. Ameet, there's a lot of places we could go here and I think you and I have got some quite shared interests in sort of areas that fascinate us. I think that a good starting point would just be to open up the frame a little bit of this relationship between emotional stress and adrenal fatigue, and I think often people can be ... when people are suffering from a very physical experience like fatigue they can be quite resistant sometimes to the idea that what's happening to them emotionally is affecting their physical energy. So I think let's just start with perhaps talking a bit about how that relationship works.
Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms & How to Reverse Adrenal Fatigue
Dr. Ameet: Great. So on the basic level when you're stressed you go through a fight-or-flight response, and the fight-or-flight response means making adrenaline and cortisol. And that's made by your adrenal glands. The thing is when you're traumatized you have an unconscious stress always playing in your system, compounded with modern day stress, present day life stress - financial bills, divorces, deadlines, not sleeping well at night, etcetera - your body then goes into adrenal burnout, so your adrenal glands just get wiped out. And that leads to a lot of chronic fatigue and an imbalance of neurotransmitters so a decrease in serotonin, dopamine, melatonin, GABA, right?
And when your neurotransmitters are low even though you might have the energy your mood is so low and your mindset is shifted into depression, negative thoughts, etcetera, you won't feel that motivation especially when dopamine is low, you won't feel that motivation to do things. So you might experience fatigue or lack of initiative or procrastination despite having lots of energy supplements all the time or having coffee or you might need too much coffee or adrenal herbs like rhodiola or ashwagandha or ginseng to push yourself.
Until you heal the trauma and negative mindset then that releases the adrenal fatigue stress response, until that happens you're in this chronic inner conflict that keeps you stuck in negative thoughts and adrenal fatigue.
Interviewer: And often I think the challenge that people have is we sort of gradually normalize to being in a certain state, and so I think sometimes people can listen to or watch interviews like this and we're talking about, for example, emotional stress and they might say, "Well, I had events in the past but I'm so fatigued, now I don't do much anyway, how can I possibly have emotional stress?" But of course, often we normalize to the level of stress that we're at, right?
Adrenal Gland Funtion
Dr. Ameet: Yeah. So your body shuts down, one. Sometimes you don't think you're allowed to be as excited as before because in a way you're subconsciously guarding yourself from danger or disappointment or being rejected, so you stay in this very subdued way, you stay chronically fatigued. And if you're traumatized or stressed also your mitochondria shuts down so there's less energy production going on in your cells.
And when you say normalize it's also true that people forget how energetic they were before. They think they just aged and they just give up on themselves. But the funny thing is, is when you heal that emotional trauma, you come to terms with the disappointment, you come to terms with your vulnerability, that soft part in you that felt hurt, that felt unsupported. And when you can heal those parts or bring in some self-love and support to those parts of you suddenly your energy will pick up, suddenly you look for things that make you feel better, you'll want to go for that bike ride or you'll want to eat that healthy food. And that has a positive cycle where you'll get more energy and feed yourself better and then feel more motivated over time.
Interviewer: Something I think really important about that place of someone coming to of acceptance of what's happening, because I think often what also happens is there's an element of as you said people think, "Well, maybe this is just how it always was." And people can start to sort of resist and sort of go into that shutdown state. And there's something about accepting and surrendering to and actually investigating what's actually going on.
Anger Management to Reverse Adrenal Fatigue
Dr. Ameet: Yeah, you see, sometimes we don't have the tools to support those vulnerable emotions we might feel when we're let down or hurt or rejected. See, anger is very suppressed in our society and so when something happens to us we almost have to swallow it and keep our mouth shut.
When you have the right type of therapy, the right kind of support to really express anger, express disappointment, express rage and grief and say, "Hey, this is not okay. My boundary's being crossed, I don't feel supported, I need more out of life." When you're given those communication skills and what I call healthy support then just that act of emoting of expression prevents you from collapsing into freeze mode, this fight, flight or freeze mode. It prevents you from collapsing into freeze mode because freeze mode is an inability to cope, so you just shut down.
But the beauty of language, so you don't have to punch somebody or kill somebody to feel that you've won a battle, the power of language can also transform your experience of an event, a traumatizing event to leave you more empowered. Just by saying words like, "Hey, I'm different than you or I don't allow that or just stop," anything that gives you the feel that you did something even though you might not have won the argument but the fact that you were actively still engaged and exercising either emotional muscle, linguistic muscle or physical muscle, that will prevent you from shutting down into the freeze response and, therefore, you'll have less trauma stored into your nervous system which then means that you'll drive your adrenal glands less into burnout and you'll recover faster in life.
How to treat and Reverse Adrenal Fatigue Naturally
Interviewer: What I'm hearing you say is that in a sense there are some of the language how I talk about it, there's the vicious circles where things, negative events create negative experiences that feed more negative. But there's also virtuous circles where we start to talk differently about what's happening, perhaps we get more support, perhaps we find a program that starts to help us, so we start to sort of change the direction of what's happening. Sometimes that is not a massively complicated thing, but it's a shift that starts to change how we're progressing and how we're moving.
Dr. Ameet: Absolutely, absolutely. And it changes the narrative in our minds about our life, the way we relate to ourselves. And the more positive it gets that actually reduces the stress response in your body as well, right? Because you're less under attack. And when you feel more supported then you come out of fight or flight faster, cortisol levels normalize, adrenal gland fatigue reduces because you're pumping it less with danger signals. And then all the other herbs and therapies you might be using when I use homeopathy and certain herbs called adaptogens for the adrenal glands they work better then to pull somebody out of chronic fatigue once we've reduced that fight-or-flight response.
Interviewer: So one of the things I really like about your work is that you're integrating these different pieces, because I think what can happen is people can see one piece of the jigsaw and sort of see everything through the lens of that piece. And we've been talking about some of the psycho-emotional pieces and I'm sure we'll come back to that, but I just wanted to touch a bit more on some of the physical impacts of how emotional stress is affecting fatigue. So one area of that is, for example, the relationship between our mind and our emotions and our liver. So could you say a bit about how that relationship works?
How to reduce Cortisol
Dr. Ameet: So the liver is my favorite organ, it's the seed of the health, it's called the master organ in Chinese medicine, it controls everything from vitamin storage, blood sugar regulation alongside with the pancreas, cholesterol metabolism, you name it.
Now in holistic medicine this is a big thing called leaky gut syndrome (how to heal leaky gut in 2 weeks) where basically your intestines have a nice lining, it's a tube with a lining, it kept healthy by good bacteria and good food. Over time with antibiotic use, poor diet, etcetera, the good bacteria get killed off, this lining gets damaged, we get holes in the intestine. With that toxins leak into the bloodstream causing inflammation everywhere in the body, leading cause for asthma, eczema, arthritis, a lot of problems.
Now this chronic inflammation, one, it stresses your adrenal glands to produce more cortisol to manage inflammation. So your adrenal gland's tired from chronic inflammation alongside with daily stress, that contributes to fatigue. The cortisol imbalance, I'm going to get to the liveried leaky liver just now, the cortisol imbalance then causes a neurotransmitter decrease - serotonin, dopamine, melatonin, GABA all start to drop leaving you more prone to anxiety and depression.
Can Anxiety cause elevated Liver enzymes
Now all this inflammation from the gut and from the system that creates more toxins in your body and that goes to the liver and your liver also gets inflamed from chronic inflammation. And your liver is inundated with toxins from fumes that we breathe in, from pesticides in our foods, from the drugs and medications we're taking, that excessive alcohol, etcetera. The liver is pounded on a daily basis.
So when the liver gets stagnant, or in Chinese medicine we call it liver stagnation, then what happens is bile production reduces, so there's less bile being produced. When you have less bile being produced you get more gas, bloating, indigestion, etcetera, and a worsening of leaky gut - so worsening of chronic inflammation and then a worsening of all the organ functions leading to fatigue, brain fog, etcetera. Also what happens is when the liver is imbalanced or stagnant we get a hormonal imbalance, typically it's progesterone deficiency and estrogen excess.
With hormonal imbalance you're getting more PMS symptoms, more anxiety, depression, sadness, for some people it's insomnia, painful breasts, cramping and that lethargy. And then, of course, the liver is important for releasing B vitamins, metabolism, B vitamins. And B vitamins are important for energy and neurotransmitter production. So with a stagnant liver you're not releasing the right kind of B vitamins into your body anymore.
What causes hormonal imbalance
Interviewer: And I think what's really important about what you're saying is that I think, again, unless people can get caught in these ideas that I'm having mood issues or I'm having anxiety therefore the resolution to that must be on working on my mind and emotions, and it may be and it may be part of it, but part of what I'm hearing you say which I think is say really important is these various loads and impacts we have affect our physical body, for example, they affect our liver, but then that affects our mind and emotions and we get in this sort of loop between those two places.
Dr. Ameet: Absolutely, absolutely. It's super important to integrate your therapies - changing your diet, healing inflammation, healing you gut, detoxifying your liver so all your organs feel better. Because remember also your thyroid is super important for mental wellness and energy levels. And about 70% of inactive thyroid hormone is activated in your liver. And thyroid hormone is important for creating serotonin in the brain and for almost every other function in the body, right? So imagine with a stagnant liver you're going to have what we call subclinical hypothyroidism, basically your thyroid levels might look right but the conversion is not happening. So you're going to have chronic fatigue and chronic mood issues and hormonal imbalances.
Interviewer: Which is a good example of why an integrative approach is so important because the tendency there might just be to supplement with thyroid hormones as opposed to going deeper and looking at, well, actually how do we address what's actually happening in the liver? Which I think is a good place to explore a bit. So if someone's hearing this and they're going, "Well, those symptoms really resonate for me. I can see that Ameet's favorite organ's the liver, I can see it is relevant for me," what are some of the ways that we might address that? So what are some of the different kind of pathways to optimizing and sort of rebalancing liver function?
Dr. Ameet: So remember the first problem in the is inflammation, chronic inflammation, and that's coming from leaky gut which is also the inflammation is smashing the liver.
How to improve Gut and Liver Health
Interviewer: So let's back up because that's a good point, before we come to the resolution let's just explain a bit more, you touched on leaky gut but let's just explain perhaps some of the variables and some of the factors that can cause that inflammation and cause leaky gut in the first place.
Dr. Ameet: Fantastic. So all the pesticides we're eating, all the excessive antibiotics you're taking, chemicals in the foods, etcetera, that destroys this lining in the gut and kills the good bacteria that's keeping your gut lining healthy. And when that happens we get these holes and then toxins leak everywhere, that causes chronic inflammation.
Gut Health Foods
So we got to change our diet and eat healthier foods. And even eating inflammatory foods, so a lot of people are sensitive to gluten or dairy, so removing inflammatory foods is the first step I do with my clients. And then we heal the gut with probiotics and other supplements I mentioned on my Free Holistic Medicine Courses Online and some of my best books on gut health - such as vitamin D and glutamine, although glutamine you have to be careful if you have bipolar, schizophrenia or even cancer - don't touch glutamine. Anyways, these are all gut healing supplements.
Once you've done that and you've changed your diet then you need to heal your liver as well. A lot of people focus on their gut but they ignore the liver. And so healing the liver is super easy, first of all eating bitter foods. Bitter foods actually stimulate bile production and liver detox, one. It's very important to have a lot of antioxidants because your liver is detoxifying all day, so it's exposed to oxidative damage, so you want the antioxidants which is the vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, alpha lipoic acid and other antioxidants which I cover in the course. And then there's certain foods that are also liver-friendly - broccoli, brussels sprouts, sulforaphanes they're called because sulfur is an important component for liver detox, phase two I believe.
And then what else do we have? I use a lot of homeopathy. Homeopathy like energetic medicine that heals the liver at a very deep cellular level, very deep. So those are all the liver healing protocols I use. There's lots of others, of course, but first of all keeping inflammation down then having the bitter foods then there's certain herbs like milk thistle and dandelion. Of course, check with your herbalist or naturopathic doctor which are the best herbs for you. These all number one stimulate bile production because you want to stimulate bile to release toxins from the liver and you need herbs that actually heal the liver cells because they're under constant pressure, constant onslaught of pro-oxidants or oxidative damage. So you need to heal those liver cells on a daily basis.
Interviewer: And for there to be, and obviously this is going to depend massively patient to patient, but for the liver to start to sort of shift and change what are the sort of timelines that you expect people to see with that?
Dr. Ameet: Depends on the damage. So some people have fatty liver disease, it takes about three months if it's extensive. Some people just have mild liver cheese, what we call chi energy stagnation in Chinese medicine - within two weeks you can see some changes and then, of course, continuous support then brings you back to almost optimal health. With daily toxins and daily stresses, unless you're living in an ashram and doing a lot of deep breathing exercises it might be almost impossible to get to optimal health.
Breathing is super important as well - when you deep breathe your diaphragm moves up and down and that massages the liver and the lymphatics around the liver so you detoxify it better. So people who are stressed when they breathe shallow they're only using their upper muscles, so they get tight shoulders and they go into liver stagnation, hence, the heartburn and indigestion you get when you're stressed because of the liver stagnation. So deep breathing, mindfulness.
Trauma Treatment & How to Heal From Trauma
Releasing trauma, so when you have a lot of resentment and anger, in Chinese medicine that goes straight to the liver. So learning how to express anger. And then I practice family constellations a lot. And I've noticed that people who have deep seated issues with resentment as well but also with their father strangely enough, you see the father's on the right side, male is right and female is left. Often I see a tendency towards liver stagnation there as well, bizarrely.
Dr. Ameet: So definitely healing trauma and healing family entanglements let's go or lessens the burden, the energetic burden on the liver so that when you do take the herbs and supplements they work much better because they're fighting less against the energetic influences from your ancestors and from your life.
Interviewer: I want to back up on that piece in a minute, but just before we do I think just to summarize a bit of what you've been saying so far, so we need to address the physical impacts of what's been happening with emotional stress and you're particularly talking about the liver, talking about leaky gut and then how that's then impacting the kind of other areas of what's going on, and of course, part of this is bringing down the inflammation. But what you just kind of came into there is what we've been talking also about, about releasing the trauma and healing some of the impacts. And you mentioned family constellations, so people that are not familiar with Bert Hellinger's work and that sort of model perhaps you could just explore and say a bit more about that.
What is Family Constellation Therapy
Dr. Ameet: So family constellations were developed by Bert Hellinger is based on what we call orders of love or a system of balance in a family system. What does that mean? So there's multiple examples but I'll just give a few of signs of imbalance or how we easily get out of balance, one is by ignoring everyone involved in your system. So I have a lot of clients who don't realize that there was a miscarriage or aborted child before them and they assume they're the first child in the system. And they have this chronic anxiety, chronic sense of like responsibility or purpose and they're not settled inside. And then when I ask them to find all the people in their system, aborted, miscarried children or even people who are ignored or abandoned by their other family members, and when we put these pieces together and then my client finds their correct position in the family, meaning they're not the first child in the system, maybe they're the second or third child - they get a sense of relief. They're like, "Gosh, I understand my place now."
And that happens at an energetic level and it's super powerful. It almost heals the root cause of their anxiety. It works better than homeopathy sometimes even.
Then in family constellations we also look at making sure you stay in balance within your family system. So a lot of times when we take on the caretaking or parent role to our parents out of loyalty, so maybe dad was absent and mom was abandoned so suddenly I become like my mom's partner or caregiver, and so I'm so preoccupied and loyal to my mom's suffering - energetically I'm not a full available boy to another partner, I'm kind of blocked. So in family constellations therapy we do healing sentences such as, "Dear, mom, I'm still your son. Even though I give back all this pain and responsibility back to you I'm only your son, you belong with another man or you you are the big one, I'm the little one." And then you get a true sense of who you are in relation to your mom or your dad.
Interviewer: Which can reduce, of course, huge emotional burdens and responsibility that people are carrying.
Dr. Ameet: Huge, huge. And that has a physiological effect as well - it releases the burden on our physiology, the liver, the adrenal system and the gut and cortisol levels, etcetera.
Interviewer: How do you make therapeutic choices in terms of ... because there's obviously lots of pieces of a jigsaw that we're sort of talking about here and each has its own kind of protocols and its own sort of pathways and just doing a piece of work of family conservations can be quite an intense process for someone to go down? How do you figure out the sequencing of where someone starts and sort of which pieces to prioritize and focus on in sort of which order?
Herbs for Adrenal Fatigue
Dr. Ameet: Awesome question. So first of all I do an intake with my clients, right? I understand their emotional history, what they've been through. By understanding that I know ... also I look at their physical symptoms by the way, whether they have gas, bloating, dark circles under their eyes, smelly breath, whatever it may be. I understand that likely they went through burnout, a lot of stress in their life, so I know the adrenal glands need support so I'll give them some adaptogens or some B vitamins.
And at the same time by understanding the emotional history I know which points that they need to release stress and pain from. So we'll do some Gestalt psychotherapy, some EMDR. And I'll notice, I'm very sensitive that way intuitively, so I'll notice there's an entanglement with an uncle or a grandparent and I'll say, "This is family constellation work, let's first stabilize the client in the first session, let's heal some trauma." But during the intake if the energy is strong enough about an entanglement I'll go straight into family constellations right there. We'll do the work, release them emotionally and at the end of the visit I'll still prescribe the supplements that will support their physiology and their detox pathways and also heal their gut to reduce inflammation.
Because remember, if you only do therapy without stopping inflammation you're going to go in loops and loops and loops of therapy and you're never going to feel fully healthy until the inflammation stops.
So at the end of the visit or in the next visit I'll support them with supplements. And then while I understand them deeper I'll know, "Okay, this homeopathic is for this trauma, this homeopathic is for this kind of character in the person," so let's introduce homeopathy maybe three visits down and how much further does the person heal with homeopathy as well. So it's a very integrated approach, very supportive approach so that there's always progress happening for the client.
Interviewer: One of the things you mentioned at the start is that when there's these impacts that things like dopamine and mood and motivation can be low, I'm wondering how you navigate that piece with people needing to be ... how I talk about it is being capped into the ship of their own recovery, like people taking responsibility for that healing process. And I'm wondering how you sort of find yourself navigating that place of motivating and empowering your clients knowing that sometimes the time that almost in life they need to be the most committed to something is the time they feel the least resourceful to do.
How to increase Dopamine Naturally
Dr. Ameet: So I think it first begins in the session where they feel that emotional support, when they're feeling vulnerable. So we go to a place of vulnerability pretty fast. And when they feel seen and acknowledged there's a trust that builds up between us. And then I always explain to them the impact of the gut, the liver and the adrenal system on their mind and their health, so knowledge is power, so by understanding that the foods they're eating are actually making them feel worse they're more motivated to make small changes. A lot of people will not let go of their gluten or their dairy or their cheese, etcetera, but once they understand things they will, they'll feel the subtle differences.
And then when they walk out of the session most of the time they're given a prescription of supplements which gets them to feel better already. And like you were saying that the positive cycle, the reward cycle, the moment you start feeling better you feel a bit more motivated to stick with the protocol.
Interviewer: Sometimes it's almost getting enough early wins that it sort of builds that trust and builds that commitment from the client, right?
Dr. Ameet: Exactly. And that first early win happens when they feel acknowledged in the session and there's a sense of like support in their vulnerability or the place that they kept tucked away or hidden from society or from other people in their life.
Interviewer: If someone's watching this and they feel sort of inspired by the things that you're talking about but they feel also sort of overwhelmed like, "Well, where would I even start?" And I think perhaps also with things like your book and your kind of Free Holistic Medicine Courses Online, like what are some of the starting fundamentals that people can do that they can do for themselves like to at least, and it may not be enough to get them the whole way but in terms of getting foundation pieces in place, what would you suggest?
Dr. Ameet: So first of all there's free videos on my website, they'll walk you through the basics of healing your gut, your liver and your adrenal glands so you're welcome to watch those. So the first thing is removing inflammatory foods, the typical ones are wheat and dairy and too much sugar - start with that and see how you feel. And then consider more greens in your diet.
As you're doing the physical side of things, so healing the liver and the gut, always work on your motion release - I recommend alternate nostril breathing, that's easy to find online. That resets the nervous system, that reduces the fight-or-flight response.
And then not being afraid of your own emotions, and there's a lot of shame and guilt around being angry or feeling sexual with someone or resentful, like we judge these things. So one of my free videos on the Free Holistic Medicine Courses Online is actually allowing you to release emotional blocks around the emotions you might be feeling. The exercise goes something like this - you close your eyes and you put one hand on your forehead, one hand behind your head. And as you connect with your feelings I ask you to say, "It's safe for me to feel stressed once in a while." And I use the word once in a while very deliberately because if you don't use once in a while the person feels pressured to think positively. There's too much positivity and people get a resistance to that. Once in a while gives you permission to feel the stress and the lack of stress.
Then, "It's safe for me to relax from time to time. And it's safe for me to be afraid of this kind of person once in a while." So giving yourself permission to actually acknowledge the feelings you're having gives you back your identity. You start collecting those pieces of you that got dissociated in the trauma. And we start reintegrating all parts of you - your energy comes back, your self-confidence starts to come back, now you have less blame going on or self-criticism going on in your mind about these emotions you're feeling because suddenly you're doing exercises that actually make it okay.
I know I've oversimplified it, but when you do the exercises you can see.
Interviewer: No, I understand. And I had a few questions. While I noticed you putting your hands in ... what's the significance and the support of that?
Natural Stress Relief to Reverse Adrenal Fatigue
Dr. Ameet: This is ... I learned this from a technique called Tapas and also acupuncture and other hands-on healing techniques where when you connect the front of your head and the back of your head, body talk also does some of this, there's a connection between the brain hemispheres in your body, in your brain, and that helps you process emotions a bit more deeper and takes you out of ... how do I say it? So sometimes people are in their head, they're too theoretical. And when you do this you're more grounded in the feelings and the emotions you're having in the moment. So when you're more grounded in the emotions you can process them a bit more completely, because if you're just doing theoretical healing in a way your body doesn't really transform so you don't get the release of emotion, so you're stuck in your mind but your body is still unwell or unhealthy.
Interviewer: And of course, acceptance is not just a mental event, right? Someone can do all kinds of sort of thinking about something but unless the body as you say is connected to that there isn't really that healing that's happening. I think often one of the most helpful strategies or tools, for lack of better word, is coming to that place of acceptance, coming to that place of whatever's going on for me right now it's okay that I'm having that experience, it's okay that I'm feeling that. And often there's so much judgment and shame and sort of inner critic, all those kind of elements that are sort of constantly having us reject or judge or try and get rid of our experience. How important do you see that place of acceptance in the work that you're doing?
What is Emotional Trauma
Dr. Ameet: I think it can be the crux of somebody's healing. So there's a difference though, accepting the situation or accepting your emotions and response and desires around the situation. So by saying acceptance I don't mean it's okay that this person bullied me and I just got to put up with it, because behind that there's a lot of pain, there's a lot of rage, there's a lot of pissed-offness and we're not willing to look at that. That's the lack of acceptance people are actually suffering with chronically leading to chronic depression. That lack of acceptance of your rage or desire for change or desire for empowerment that's what shuts you down into the freeze response leading to fatigue, depression, etcetera.
So really accepting those shameful desires of you. "I want to kill this guy." I'm not asking you to go and kill people, but accepting those - "I want to push him away or I want space from this person or I want somebody to hold me or my dad or my mom to protect me while this bully is around me," right? Rather than a lot of men will say, "I got to just man up." And they've manned up, they're aggressive or they're stiff but their joints are stiff, they're not happy and sometimes they're even abusive to their own family then - the vicious cycle continues.
So going to that vulnerability, encouraging vulnerability which you're saying is going into acceptance I think can be the crux of people's healing.
Interviewer: And I guess a big part of that is ultimately healing is the relationship that one has with their body. And I'm just thinking about it partly from a Gestalt point of view, kind of psychotherapeutic point of view, that there's a sort of object relation, there's a relationship that we have with our symptoms, with our body, with our sort of history and often particularly if there's been trauma often that history in that relationship is troubled. Working on that, just the relationship we have with our body, can be really important.
Dr. Ameet: It's our interpretation of what happened and whether we're shaming our body, blaming ourselves, thinking we're not good enough. And those thoughts, that narrative, begins after a traumatic event. It's a way of coping and trying to regain balance. And changing that narrative and getting somebody else's feedback and getting a different experience of," Hang on a sec, maybe my body feels very skinny or weak," and you might think, "Well, actually it's delicate." I mean, I'm oversimplifying it, but you might feel it's delicate enough to make sweet, sweet love with someone instead, right? So you get more of a positive relationship with that delicacy of yours.
I mean, I'm oversimplifying that. That's not really Gestalt therapy. But the paradigm shift is important for changing the way you relate and narrate about yourself and your body for sure.
Interviewer: And going back a little bit to where we started, we were talking about inflammation and I find myself wondering how much of that inflammation can also be healed by healing these relationship with ourselves, our trauma, our history. Like in a sense are there ... those stories where people don't do any supplements but they do the emotional work and the inflammation goes away.
How to stimulate the Vegus Nerve
Dr. Ameet: Absolutely, yeah. I'm getting tingles right now when you're asking that question, because definitely the stress response makes everything bad, worse in your body, right? We have this huge nerve called the vagus nerve which releases cytokines and different chemicals into your gut. And the vagus nerve it responds to the levels of stress and the type, the way you're breathing as well, so when you're breathing calmly and you're less stressed the vagus nerve releases different cytokines into your gut and then that changes the way your bacteria acting and, therefore, the health of your lining and, therefore, leaky gut and inflammation, one. When you're relaxed and you release trauma your liver works better, you release more bile, so of course, your digestion is going to improve, inflammation will reduce.
I've had a patient where her tumor markers have reduced because we worked on deep seated trauma with her father and her parents in her family system. And she did, of course, her own meditation stuff and her own spiritual journey as well and literally the other day she says her tumor markers are reduced based on the work which started. I'm not promising to heal cancer or anything like that, but I definitely see a change in people's physiology when they do release the emotions.
Because also remember, when you are stressed your levels of stress are higher if you have adverse childhood experiences, a lot of childhood traumas, your experience of stress is heightened. When it's heightened you have a stronger adrenal response, so you have higher levels of cortisol being produced and you reach burnout faster, so you get a cortisol imbalance faster. When you have a cortisol imbalance faster or cortisol imbalance basically, your thyroid conversion changes. When you don't have enough T3 or healthy thyroid hormones the cells in your intestine don't stick together really well, the health of your gut is compromised. And when that's compromised, of course, you'll have more toxins triggering your immune response, triggering more inflammation. So chronic stress makes people's inflammation worse and you can see that with eczema and arthritis flaring up.
And by releasing stress, by healing old trauma, childhood trauma, the stress response reduces, the cortisol levels are more into the balance, the gut lining is stronger, thyroid levels are more in balance, the liver is flowing better and physiologically you start to heal as well.
Interviewer: Beautiful, that's beautiful. I'm mindful of time, but just a couple more questions. I'm curious, as someone who's studied many different areas of medicine and healing work, what's your kind of edge of curiosity at the moment, like what sort of kind of cooking in you in terms of your own sort of research and discovery?
Adrenal Fatigue Natural Treatment
Dr. Ameet: So I think the mind is a powerful thing and I feel the mind can heal the body. For me I'm on a journey of looking for the emotional causes of almost every single disease and using language to heal, so just healing sentences, naming things so that the stress response changes in our body or we heal the family imbalance through family constellations therapy and emerge out of disease.
So I have a sentence in my email signature I think it's like, "Healing is an aspect of letting go of perceived self so that the free self can express itself," or something like that. Because all these perceptions we create upon ourselves, the self-doubt, the self-criticism, the way we relate to our traumatizing mother or our aggressive father affects our physiology, affects our digestion and this creates skin symptoms, digestive issues, chronic headaches and things. So that's on my mind.
And I'm also reading a course in miracles - very, very powerful piece of work. So hopefully I'm going to integrate that with healing sentences and possibly some homeopathy to heal the trauma so that just using the energetic work in self-empowerment we can come out of chronic suffering and disease.
Interviewer: Fascinating. So I mean, for people that want to find out more about you and your work what's the best way for them to do that?
Dr. Ameet: Best way is my website, it's drameet.com. There's some free videos there, there's the holistic medicine book as well, then there's the full video course which goes into more specific protocols from the book. And all this helps me with my community projects in Kenya, so please support.
Interviewer: And tell us ... because I was in your bio, tell us a bit about those. I'm curious.
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Dr. Ameet: So I came back to Kenya, I was born in Kenya, and I came back to Kenya to do mobile clinics for poor communities. I'd drive in a jeep and sit under a tree and treat people with homeopathy. Of course, I have to fund myself and stuff so I started private practice. And right now what I'm doing is I'm treating some kids with disabilities, they've been abandoned by their communities because the communities think they're cursed to the family. And so I'm seeing if homeopathy can help them with a bit of cerebral palsy, a bit of autism, more mobility because some of these kids were just abandoning the corners that their joints are not working too well. So just trying all these different things where I can.
Interviewer: That's really cool, that's really cool. Dr. Ameet Aggarwal, thank you so much for your time and for the interview. I really appreciate it and I encourage people to go and check out your work but also support the charitable work you're doing which sounds amazing. Thank you so much.
Dr. Ameet: Thank you. Lots of love.
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