Dr. Daniel Crisafi is a stress expert with nearly 30 years of clinical experience. He holds doctorates in both nutrition (PhD) and naturopathic medicine (ND). Dr. Crisafi, a native of Montreal, is the clinical director of pH Santé Beauté, an international speaker, master herbalist and accomplished author.
In his most recent self-help book, Syndrome S – How to Avoid, Manage and Reverse the Negative Health Effects of Stress, Dr. Crisafi affords readers the opportunity to educate themselves on how to overcome the negative effects of stress. According to Dr. Crisafi,
We may not be able to control the amount of stress we experience, but with the proper guidance we can learn to live a healthy and happy life in spite of it. Through improved nutrition, stress management, and targeted nutritional supplements, we can help our bodies overcome the negative effects of stress.
During a recent interview, which you will find below, Dr. Crisafi shares with the readers of Guardian Liberty Voice life changing information on the benefit of stress management.
Cherese: Dr. Crisafi, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to educate our readers on the power of stress and ways to avoid, manage and reverse its effects. How did you get started on your journey to dethrone this world-wide epidemic that has killed more people than we can count?
Dr. Crisafi: Over the years I noticed people started developing health issues following stress; either one major stress or a certain amount of cumulative stressors. I started a research project several years ago at McGill University in Montreal because I wanted to access the physiological and biochemical impact of stress on the body.
Generally when we talk about stress and someone gets stress related symptoms they are told to take an anti-depressant or sleeping pill if they are having trouble sleeping. Although this can help it does not solve the “cause” of the problem nor does it explain impact of stressors on the body. This was the objective of the research as is the book Syndrome S. It is to say to people if you have had stress or are having stress and have developed symptoms it is not just all in your head.
The body changes the way it does things when it encounters a certain amount of stressors; these effects can remain once the stress is gone. This can affect sleep patterns, depression, anxiety, muscle or joint pain, digestive problems, immune system, fertility, libido and a host of other things. We know why that takes place, that is not speculative, but the goal is to put it all together, explain to people the process and identify the real cause of change, deal with it and ultimately reverse it.
Another point is to help people understand that stress is not just emotional; it is any physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes physical or mental tension. Stress is not just emotional nor is the body’s reaction just emotional. In fact, some people go through stressors and they do not emotionally react as negatively as some others. So it is not just the way we react psychologically to stress that is important, even if we do not react psychologically the fact is if there is stress the body will react and adapt.
Cherese: Most people understand stress as it relates to emotional health but how does it affect other areas?
Dr. Crisafi: Stress is any change that requires mental, physiological or biochemical adaptation. This stress can be chemical, emotional, environmental, hormonal, immune or physical. One example of hormonal stress is menopause. As estrogen drops, the body has to find ways to compensate for that loss and that is a form of stress.
Another thing to remember is the body reacts the same way to stress, whether it is good or bad. For example, someone who is very fearful can lose their appetite, have difficulty sleeping or thinking about what scares them and when confronted with what scares them they get red and flushed in the face. A young couple in love can experience those same stress related symptoms and when they are in front of their loved one, they get red and flushed in the face.
Not only does the body adapt when confronted with stress it also prepares itself to fight or flee. This is an important point to bear in mind because this is where the stress has the greatest impact on the body. The body will reduce any function that is detrimental to fight or flight and will increase any function that it deems useful.
The psychological and the emotional implications of stress are no secret. But little attention is paid to the physical health effects our stressful lives cause. Unlike our ancestors, modern human beings face 50 or more stressors every day. Although we have shifted from fearing hungry predators to worrying about relationship strife and looming deadlines, the human body’s “fight-or-flight” response has not changed over the years.
Stressors are very different today than they were in the past and one of the major reasons stress causes as much damage today as it does is because the body mobilizes itself to fight or flee but we cannot fight and cannot flee. So in order to ensure survival when stress is present the body will increase any function that helps survival. Stress causes the body to believe it is in danger and as a result it can cause the body to increase blood sugar, blood pressure, sugar cravings, and unhealthy cholesterol. It can reduce your body’s ability to detoxify itself, form new bone tissue, digest food, reproduce, sleep, and properly repair wounds.
So, the body will increase a lot of these functions that helped in fight or flee but if we continue in that situation our body will continue having symptoms even when the stress is no longer there. Why, because the body is mobilized now on a permanent or semi-permanent basis to be able to fight or flee. The body will also reduce any activity, physiological or biochemical that is not required for survival; overtime this also becomes permanent or semi-permanent.
Cherese: With all these stressors it is no wonder people are dying younger. Your research shows many of our bodies are taking a beating without any relief because of the lack of knowledge. Most people have no idea that the effects of yesterday’s stress can be reversed.
Dr. Crisafi: That is the good news. Through improved nutrition, stress management, and targeted nutritional supplements, we can help our bodies overcome the negative effects of stress. Through education and empowerment the effects of stress can be reversed.
Cherese: What is the biggest thing people think they know about stress that research proves is a misconception?
Dr. Crisafi: The biggest thing I feel they do not know is the effects of stress can lead to permanent or semi-permanent changes in the way the body does things, even when the stress is no longer there. For instance, someone has experienced stress because they have lost a loved one; they are moving or any number of other stressful events which have an accumulative effect. Then they say, “This can’t be stress because I’m not stressed anymore.” However, it very well can be stress because the effects can and do remain present.
Also in my practice what I am seeing is when people such as babies, children, adolescents or young adults have gone through childhood stressors; whether sexual or psychological aggression or the like, their stress glands seem to be weaker than people who have not experienced childhood major stresses.
People will come in and say they are dealing with “whatever the issues are” and it won’t seem like strong enough stressors for the symptoms they are experiencing. So, I’ll ask them what happened when they were a child and they will break down and start crying. The problem is children or young adolescents cannot process the impact of such stressful encounters as an adult who is more mature as a result it has a significantly greater impact on them.
Cherese: I have had the privilege to read your book and I love that it is “user friendly” and written in a way that allows the average reader to understand it. From your perspective, what makes your book unique from other publications dealing with the same “stressful” topic?
Dr. Crisafi: The major reason is most books, not all, talk about the psychological or psychiatric impact of stress and Syndrome S deals with the physiological and biochemical impact. It then tells the reader there is something we can do about it to both minimize the damage caused by past stressors and to significantly minimize the effects caused by future stressors – because there will be future stressors.
People are intelligent often they just are not informed. They may not have a degree and cannot understand the scientific language so it is our responsibility to give them the information in a way that they will understand it. Often in science, particularly in medicine, we tend to complicate things with terminology people cannot understand. It almost seems at times that we want to create a mystical language which we all understand but nobody else does. This is what I have tried to avoid in the book.
The important message I want to leave is that people can be empowered as long as they understand the process and they can be in control. We don’t have to live with the effects of stress with great intensity we can work on managing those and improving those while proving how the body reacts to stress.
Cherese: I really enjoyed speaking with you and I fully understand why you are considered an expert in stress management. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule of helping others to share with the readers of Guardian Liberty Voice.
Dr. Daniel Crisafi holds doctorates in both nutrition (PhD) and naturopathic medicine (ND). He is also a master herbalist and an accomplished author with more than 25 years of clinical experience. By sharing his patients’ individual stories, leading natural health expert Dr. Daniel Crisafi demonstrates how damaging chronic stress can be.
You may not be able to control the amount of stress you experience, but with Dr. Crisafi’s guidance and his most recent book, Syndrome S – How to Avoid, Manage, and Reverse the Negative Health Effects of Stress, you can learn to live a healthy and happy life in spite of it!
Interview by: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)