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3 Reasons Why Stress Triggers Disease and How to Stop It

By Jodi Cohen

A woman in a moment of contemplation or distress, sitting on the floor with her back against the wall.

Stress Triggers Disease

Did you ever wonder why stress triggers disease?  You might know that stress is responsible for over 80% of all diseases.  What’s more, stress is often the trigger for chronic illnesses, like auto immunity, Lyme disease, and even cancer.

In fact, German physician and cancer researcher R.G. Hamer noticed that emotional shocks could short circuit specific areas of the brain, which in turn, seemed to weaken a particular organ and make it more vulnerable to cancer.  Research further correlates that life-changing or traumatic events which trigger intense psychological and emotional stress often lead to the diagnosis of chronic illness within 18 months to 2 years later.  For example, auto immune issues and Lyme disease are often triggered by a stressful event, including emotional stress such as a job loss, divorce, death in the family, or physical stress like accidents, dental procedure, or even a vaccination, or tick bite.

Stress Depresses the Immune System


Stress impacts the following 3 regions of the brain, weakening our resilience and immune function:

Autonomic Nervous System:  Stress throws the body into the Sympathetic Fight or Flight state (read more here) and down regulates all functions that are not critical to survival including all healing and repair processes, like the immune system.  A suppressed immune system allows viruses and bacteria to run rampant, contributing to gut dysbiosis and the growth of unhealthy cells such as the growth of cancer cells or spread of auto immunity.

Endocrine System: Stress requires the body to mobilize enough energy to fuel the body and brain during the fight or flight response.   This fuel comes in the form of the stress hormones, like cortisol which is released by the adrenal glands, to release glucose (blood sugar) into the system.  Cortisol not only depresses the immune system, but also  wreaks havoc on the rest of the body, inhibiting digestion and detoxification and throwing off our circadian rhythms (by impeding the pineal gland from releasing melatonin) and blood sugar and further breaking down the intestinal mucosal lining.  The constant release of cortisol also throws off our body’s feedback system that helps balance all endocrine hormones.  An imbalance on our hormones can create an increase in the growth and production of abnormal cells, further contributing to both auto immunity and cancer.

The Limbic System is the emotional center of your brain, which communicates emotional stress, such as feelings of fear, anger, grief, despair or hopelessness to the autonomic nervous system and endocrine system triggering the stress response through various neurochemical and nerve pathways.

How to Stop Stress From Triggering Disease

Essential Oils are uniquely suited to access and heal the brain (read more here), making them ideal tools to help the brain build resilience to stress.

Specific Essential Oils to help stop stress from triggering disease include:

Parasympathetic® The Parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system is aptly called the “rest and digest” state.  When the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, your mind and body relax.  This, in turn, reduces the production of stress hormones and allows for happy and healing hormones to be produced.  It also turns on your immune system.  This is one key reason why the parasympathetic state is so conducive to healing.  To trigger the parasympathetic state, simply apply a drop of Parasympathetic® behind the ear lobe on the mastoid bone.

Hypothalamus™:  Stress triggers disease through a reaction that causes the hypothalamus to trigger the adrenal glands to release cortisol, which suppresses the immune system.  Chronic and prolonged stress can also throw  the hypothalamus out of balance, impacting its ability to properly regulate our hormones.  This can potentially alter healthy hormone function, leading to an imbalance that can create an increase in the growth and production of abnormal cells.  To return the endocrine system to balance, apply Hypothalamus™ above the third eye on the forehead and Adrenal® over the adrenal glands on the lower back ( (back of the body, one fist up from the 12th rib).

Emotion Balance Blends:  Your thoughts and stress levels impact the limbic system which in turn throw off your immune system and hormones.  It has been well researched that happy people have fewer stress hormones and a stronger immune systems.  Emotion Support oils help you release negative thought patterns and emotions and affirm positive beliefs to buffers and protect you against the stress response that can weaken your immune system.  My favorite emotion support blends are Liver Support™ to release anger, Small Intestine Support™ to support healthy boundaries, Spleen Support™ to release worries and bolster the immune system and Uplift™ for general joy and happiness.



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About The Author

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.