The Physical Effects of Chemical Stress + Greenwashing featured in Well Being Journal
Subluxations are created by physical, emotional and chemical stress. Physical stress can range from knocks and falls to whiplash trauma and sustained postures. We can work to improve our posture and maintain consistent chiropractic care to increase our ability to adapt these stressors, but we can’t live a fulfilling life attempting to avoid traumas. Emotional stress may result from work or relationship pressures, causing ligaments and muscles to tighten. If this stress is sustained, our body undergoes significant physiological changes, such as increased blood pressure, heart rate, blood glucose, cholesterol and many more. We can work to improve our coping mechanisms and maintain consistent chiropractic care to increase our ability to adapt these stressors, but we can’t always avoid emotional stress…
Chemical stress includes anything from too much alcohol, sugar, toxins and preservatives to breathing environmental pollutants. These toxins will upset body chemistry, disrupting the tone of both muscles and ligaments, resulting in subluxations. But unlike physical and emotional stress, we can avoid most exposure to chemical stressors.
The earth and its living creatures — particularly human beings — are now polluted with hundreds of industrial chemicals and we have little or no understanding of the consequences. It is now estimated that babies are born pre-polluted with as many as 300 industrial chemicals in their bodies when they enter the world. Testing by the Environmental Working Group has identified 455 chemicals in people; again, no one has any idea if these exposures are safe (source).
Toxins are chemical substances that accumulate in our bodies and can interfere with normal functioning and chemical balance. We are exposed to vast numbers of toxins every day and elimination of these toxins is one of the body’s greatest challenges.
Our society’s love for cleanliness may be predisposing us to allergies and illness. The US Environmental Protection Agency compiled a report on indoor air quality, showing that many homes had chemical levels 70 times higher than levels in the air outside. The results also revealed that common cleaning and personal hygiene products are three times more likely to cause cancer than airborne pollutants and that an average of 1500 hazardous substances will find their way into our homes (source).
Toxins can be extremely stressful for our bodies. Your nervous system coordinates all of your body’s cells, hormone levels and waste removal. Chemical stressors for your body can result in subluxations and nerve interference, and may impair your body’s ability to process toxins and cleanse itself. Many subluxations are pain-free and you may not even realize they are present, but if they are left uncorrected, the body’s capacity for health can deteriorate. Chiropractic care removes nerve interference and helps the body to control and balance all of its bodily functions, enabling your body to perform at its greatest capacity, heal itself and increase your body’s ability to adapt these physical, emotional and chemical stressors in the future.
But beware of greenwashing!
I would like to say that organic personal care and household products are always free of nasty chemicals, but unfortunately, this is not the case. While organic products might contain fewer chemicals than non-organic products, you will need to familiarize yourself with the names of many of these chemicals and check products even if they claim organic ingredients.
Most products contain artificial colors, artificial fragrances, mineral oil, sulphates, parabens, talc, dimethicone, lanolin and propylene glycol, to name a few. A good motto to go by is if you can’t pronounce it or have only seen it in chemistry class, don’t use it!
Greenwashing is when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually being an authentically green, natural cosmetic brand. These companies cash in on the green, natural bandwagon for profits, not for ethics.
The Environmental Working Group found that 80% of products that are labeled as gentle contain ingredients that are linked to allergies and to skin irritation. The products range from shampoos to soaps to toothpastes.
Did you know that 89% of 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the FDA, nor any other publicly accountable institution (source)?
It is sobering when one first becomes aware of the staggering number of chemicals used in our everyday products. I could fill a book alone regarding their effects, which range from dermatitis, eczema and diarrhea, to mutagenic and carcinogenic concerns.
Click here for a list of beauty brands who want you to think they’re natural and green but aren’t!
Choosing Products That Care for You Naturally
These days it is widely accepted that residues from absolutely everything you put onto your skin can be absorbed into your blood stream. The skin is a living, breathing structure, so it makes good sense to keep your skin free from synthetic creams and oils.
The Environmental Working Group has a wonderful site where you can have your products assessed or ranked for toxicity. Their online safety guide assesses more than 27,000 personal care products. The EWG Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database contains information not only about phthalates but over 7,000 other product ingredients. Test your family’s personal care products here!
One of my favorite tools for selecting any personal care product on-the-go is the free app, Think Dirty. Scan your products and find out just how filthy (or clean!) your bathroom currently is!
When it comes to living a healthy and natural lifestyle, what you put on your body is just as significant as what you put in your body. A true wellness lifestyle differs from prevention and can be defined as “an active lifelong process of becoming aware of choices and making decisions towards a more balanced and fulfilling life” (source). These priorities enable us to function at our best and involve securing good health through quality nutrition, sleep and exercise, minimization of toxins, reduction of stress, the maintenance of a well-functioning nervous system, and positive, happy thoughts.
Portions of this blog post have been featured in this issue of Well Being Journal.
This post contains affiliate links which means that I receive a percentage of commission if any products are purchased through them. As always, these are brands / products / services I have used personally, believe in and support. Receiving a sample(s) of any of the above products in no way influences my opinion. Thank you for supporting me, Courtney Kahla, through your purchases!