As the summer wanes, so does the outward flow of energy that summer naturally brings. The exuberant activity recedes, and what lies underneath comes to the surface. The same seems to happen with our body chemistry.
This is the time of year when people frequently come to me for help with hormonal balance. From the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) point of view, the endocrine system offers a beautiful expression of yin-yang balance. Hormones act powerfully in incredibly small amounts, the alphabet of a complex system of bidirectional communication between all areas of the human body, a biochemical mind. Activity and rest, also at the level of the mind, influence this balance. So, as we move toward the fall season, let’s look at the question:
Do I need to balance my hormones?
Thyroid hormones, Vitamin D, estrogen/progesterone, testosterone/DHEA and cortisol are our basic “hormone awareness pack.” We should know what our levels are with each of these. An imbalance of a member of this group might show up in any of the functions they help regulate. So let’s dive deeper into the above question. Do any of these aspects hit home for you?
- Am I feeling extra tired?
- Is low libido an issue for me?
- Do I get too many infections?
- Is my PMS an issue for me?
- Are hot flashes an issue for me?
- Do I have trouble turning off at night and getting restful sleep?
- Am I bloated all the time?
If any of these issues ring a bell, you might want to take a look at your hormones.
What can I do to balance my hormones?
Rule #1 Remove or reduce obstructions
A fine biochemical orchestration needs a clear, clean environment, free of impediments. In our world today, a jungle of toxins bombards us from everywhere, from invisible radiation from electronic devices to chemicals in cosmetics and home cleaning supplies and preservatives and artificial additives in our food and drink. ALL of this complexity comes into the body through the lungs, the intestinal mucosa or through skin absorption. From there, it travels to the lymph, the blood and then everywhere else. It is accurate to say that we live within a sea of toxins, either moving through our body, stuck to a physical structure in our body or attached microscopically to an active enzyme or chemical process in our system and potentially interfering with it.
There are many types of detoxification and hormone balancing programs available today. We support our students and patients in participating in any well-balanced and well-researched protocol. In fact, a proper detoxification program is a key in balancing hormones in today’s world.
At the Energy Life Sciences Institute clinic, and in our Being Energy programs, we offer the Being Energy Detox Program along with personalized nutritional supplement recommendations. Our patients and clients have experiences outstanding results with this program.
There are also some useful things you can do yourself at home:
- Drink a teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar upon waking, to stimulate the liver detoxification pathways
- Drink extra water for five days at a time to enhance kidney clearance—four to six glasses per day, depending on the temperature and your activity
- Shop smart—avoid packaged foods and choose organic as much as possible
- If you are more daring, you can try a simple 36-hour fast; this can be a juice fast or a water fast—no solid food. Begin one morning on an empty stomach, without breakfast and fast for one day (with juice or water), then finish the fast the following morning with a light breakfast. Be sure to keep well hydrated during this time. This mini-fast gives your gut and liver a break so that they can release built up toxicity. Please note: we advise to do fasts under medical supervision only.
Rule #2 Always look beyond the body and mind to the level of spirit
Always regulate both from the outside (toxins, proper nutrients, supportive environment) and from the inside (behavioral patterns and spirit level). We are spiritual beings first and foremost, and we are having a physical experience secondly. Both levels of being are important to attend to, and they complement one another.
Our spiritual experience is rooted in our biochemistry. Indeed, we could also describe hormones as “messengers of spirit.” When we are having a spiritual experience, what my teacher Carlos Castaneda called a “non-ordinary” reality experience, it also changes our hormones. When our spirit is “off,” when we kind of “feel off,” our biochemistry, our hormonal balance, is also often off. When we are in inner silence, our homeostasis is enhanced, and the psycho-neuro-endocrine axis shifts to a more balanced regulation.
In states of meditation, purposeful mind states can trigger a change in any of the diverse glands in the body. The hypothalamus regulates the pituitary gland and the pituitary regulates the rest of the glands. The hypothalamus is the central connector of this fantastic neuroplasticity mechanism. You can exercise your focal attention (associated with the prefrontal cortex) by specifically holding in your attention an emotional experience—being the observer changes the pathways through the hypothalamus and, consequently, the secretion of hormones throughout the body changes.
Research has shown that the number of pathways between the prefrontal and the amygdala determines how fast we bounce back from adversity. Our thinking self can calm down our feeling self, so we can act with purpose and decision instead of being ruled by negative emotions. This resilience, how fast we rebound, can be of great support for the hormone universe inside of us. Our inner mind can influence what happens with those “messengers of spirit.”
In summary, you can help balance your hormones from within using YOUR MIND. It is like becoming your own best friend!
Try this practice:
Give yourself a few minutes without interruption. Sit or lie down comfortably. Now visualize, or have a feeling of, the areas I describe here in any way you wish—there is no need to know the actual anatomy.
- Bring your inner eyes and mind to the base of your spine, the sacrum…Imagine how your spinal cord is collecting and bringing information from your entire body up along the spine to your brain.
- Now bring your mind to your forehead area. Deep inside is your middle prefrontal cortex. Imagine lines connecting your cortex to your limbic system, at the center of your brain. You can self-regulate your inner emotional world. You can send energy and information from your central prefrontal cortex to the hypothalamus.
- Observe any negative thoughts, worries, etc. as if watching a movie play in front of your eyes. This is just the act of deliberate observation. Engage your purpose to resist getting drawn into the picture. Look at it as an interesting mental process. See how easy your mind can do this.
- Deliberately impose positive, enhancing images and thoughts. This new input will strengthen the pathway between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala.
- Hold your attention on these new lines of information for a few moments or even minutes.
For more tips and empowering information, join our next online Feed Your Body + Spirit class on September 3rd: Balance Your Hormones: Change Your Body + Your Life.
Best to all!
Dr. Miles Reid