For years, my acupuncturist would take my pulse and say, “What’s going on with your adrenals? You shouldn’t get up so early and run around the basketball court for an hour and a half at 6 AM.” To which she would add, “That’s okay, my adrenals are shot, too.” Yeah, yeah, yeah, adrenals, schmenals. Stress can be a very abstract concept.
Some clients handle their stress quite well. They’re accustomed to dealing with a certain level and that becomes their new norm. But they may not realize that it’s affecting their physiology, regardless. So you can tell the client that they’re stressed and they may even admit it, but what exactly does being “stressed” mean in terms of how it’s affecting your body? This is where hormone testing (along with caliper testing) can be helpful in convincing the client to change their behavior.
Cortisol, if you haven’t heard, is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It wasn’t until I saw my own results, that I realized how high my cortisol levels were—ahem…OFF THE CHARTS!!! And guess when it was the highest? At 6 AM when I was on the basketball court. I started sleeping in from there on out and moved my workouts to midday and the afternoon. Prior to testing, I only had a vague notion of how under sleeping and overtraining were affecting my health. It wasn’t until I saw just how bad it was (OFF THE CHARTS!) and that it was a real, tangible, measurable thing that I changed my behavior. I lost 8 pounds of water immediately.
If you have a sneaking suspicion that you may be pushing too hard on all cylinders and would like to know where you stand, you might just want to give stress hormone testing a whirl. Having some solid numbers on which to base decisions can sometimes move you faster towards better health.