The Major Causes of Inflammation?
Calais Irwin, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist
The most common understanding and experience we have of inflammation is the pain, redness and swelling that we often associate with an injury. Chronic or inappropriate inflammatory response however, can cause cell destruction and lead to disease or autoimmunity. In the brain this can lead to Alzheimer’s. Chronic inflammation in the gut and liver can lead to poor detoxification, causing eczema as well as autoimmune diseases such as Lupus and Multiple Sclerosis. Even cancer has been linked to chronic inflammation. In fact many scientists now believe that most, if not all, chronic diseases have the same cause, inflammation.
What can we do about it?
First we need to identify the causes of inflammation
- Injury – Inflammation is a natural process that aids in healing the body after an injury. This process causes swelling which immobilizes the joint and allows rest. However prolonged swelling can cause damage to the cells in the area.
- Emotional Stress or Trauma – Can cause the release of cortisol, which is our “fight or flight” hormone. It comes from the adrenal gland and causes your blood vessels to dilate. Stress and depression can also enhance the release of an inflammatory substance known as cytokines which regulate the immune systems response to infection or injury.
- Poor Diet – Our immune system is regulated in our digestive tract. When we eat a meal high in sugar, saturated fats - or that is highly processed, our digestive systems need to work extra hard to digest it. When your GI tract is over worked it can lead to inflammation.
- Allergies – When an allergic reaction occurs it’s your immune system over reacting to a foreign substance. Your body releases histamine, a chemical that protects the body. If left unchecked it can contribute to autoimmune diseases.
- Infection – When pathogens such as yeast, viruses, bacteria or parasites enter our body, they attack triggering an immune response that causes inflammation.
This is a small list of the many causes of inflammation in the body. Massage Therapy has been proven to reduce stress and prevent injury. Massage Therapists are also trained in treating injury to help reduce inflammation and increase movement. Naturopathic Doctors have many tools at their disposal as well as specialized tests that can help identify allergies ranging from food and food additive sensitivities, to environmental allergies. Once the type of allergy is diagnosed, they are able to coach you on how to improve your diet, optimize your health and decrease toxicity.
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