Caring for the Caregiver


Care giving is often filled with stress along with seemingly insignificant chores. However, none of these chores are insignificant when they revolve around care for someone who is completely dependent upon you for their survival. Although paid caregivers, such as nurse’s aides, orderlies, baby-sitters, and other home health care workers may have equally demanding jobs, I’m focusing on caregivers who may not have chosen care giving as a career.

Most caregivers work long hours. Caring for a family member with a chronic disease or a severe illness or a child with multiple handicaps is not easy. In fact, even caring for a healthy baby takes a toll. Being on call 24 hours a day, day after day, is one of the reasons care giving is so hard. And when there’s no respite, a caregiver’s health will begin to suffer.

Caregivers become so involved in caring for someone else they often forget to take care of themselves. Throughout my thirty-plus years in practice, I’ve seen the many devastating effects on health when the basic needs for quality sleep, good nutrition, exercise, recreation, and rest are neglected. So while I applaud the work and selfless dedication that caregivers provide for loved ones, I feel obligated in my role as a mentor and a Certified Wellness Doctor to share a few words with them – or you – as the case may be.

Caregivers need to understand the changes that are occurring in their body in response to their daily stress. Although the adrenal glands are designed to help handle the stress of emergencies, this is not their only function. The adrenal glands help run the immune system and the digestive system, aid in cellular repair, and create 30 to 40 hormones for the body, including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. The adrenal glands are extremely important in supplementing production of these hormones in other parts of the body so it’s easy to imagine the cascade of problems that begin when the adrenal glands become exhausted.

When stress is encountered, the adrenal glands go into a mode known as fight or flight. They stop producing the 30 to 40 supplemental hormones and shut down the activities of the digestive system, the immune system, and repair of the body so that all their energy can be devoted to handling the stress. When adrenal glands don’t get the extra attention and nutrition they need when under constant stress, they quit working properly.

Most of the emergencies of our ancestors were short-lived (like getting chased by the tiger, etc.) so the fight or flight process worked well. When one is working as a caregiver, especially to someone who lives in dire straits, emergencies are constant. This leads to the caregiver’s body breaking down at a tremendous rate which is devastating to their existence as a healthy being.

Organs commonly damaged by constant stress include the adrenal glands, the parotid glands, the thymus gland, the spleen, the pancreas, and the large intestines. DSF is one of my favorite supplements for helping repair and support the adrenal glands, but each person’s nutritional needs are unique. We utilize a very sophisticated system called Zyto Bio-Communication Technology to help identify a patient’s nutritional needs.

To handle such a physically and mentally demanding job, caregivers must pay extra attention to their diet and incorporate specific nutrition to nourish their body, especially the organs that may have become damaged. First, they will need an abundance of wholesome foods –non GMO, preferably organic, fresh and unprocessed. Then whole food supplements can fill in gaps and address specific deficiencies.

A complete Vitamin B Complex is an important supplement needed to help uphold energy levels when experiencing stress. The Vitamin B Complex also helps the body resist viruses and bacteria and provides nutrition for the heart. Certain homeopathics have also proven helpful with stress related symptoms as they are gentle, allowing the body to set its own pace in recovery.

An innovative therapy used to help counter the effects of stress is PEMF. Recently brought over from Europe, the MAS is a specific type of PEMF (Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field Therapy) that is now available in my office. I believe it to be one of the most versatile and effective forms of therapy for Detox, Pain Relief, and Cell-Rejuvenation.

PEMF works in the cell, supporting the functioning of inner regulation mechanisms while enhancing the self-healing capacity. It supports metabolism, increases blood circulation, intensifies the oxygen supply in the cells, and speeds the transportation of metabolic waste products. The sodium-potassium pump which is responsible for maintaining the negative potential in the cell is influenced by the effect of alternating magnetic fields. This pump is an enzyme located on the cell membrane which transports NA+ ions out of the cell and K+ ions into the cell. By exerting a positive effect on cellular metabolism, PEMF enhances the functioning of the complete system.

Another mechanism of PEMF is the influence on the stimulus threshold of nerve cells through a removal of charge carriers which may contribute to decreased pain. It works to help relieve Migraines, Insomnia, Headaches, Backaches, Arthritis, Sore Muscles, Tennis Elbow, Osteoporosis, Osteoporosis, Circulation Issues, Sciatica, Sinusitis, and much more.

As you go about your festivities this holiday season, think about providing some respite for the caregivers in your life. Even if it’s not feasible to completely relieve them of their care giving responsibilities, any gift of your time is usually invaluable.

Gifts that give caregivers an opportunity to relax are usually much appreciated. To help relieve stress and improve the health of your favorite caregiver, perhaps you might consider purchasing a gift certificate for a PEMF session or a chair massage. Mention this article to receive a onetime 20% discount on a 30 minute chair massage or a PEMF session. Heck, you may want to gift one to yourself while you’re at it!

Happy holidays from Dr. William H. Karl, D.C., Dr. Jacob H. Karl, D.C., and staff who welcome you to our office to help you start the New Year happy and healthy!


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