Those of you who have spoken to me personally have heard me talk a lot about the importance of the hypothalamus. I'd like to explain why it's so important!
The hypothalamus is often referred to as a gland, but it really is a region in the brain. It affects almost every organ of the body and functions as the link between the nervous system and the endocrine system via the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus is responsible for certain metabolic processes and other activities of the autonomic nervous system. It controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue and circadian cycles.
The hypothalamus takes information from both internal (bodily changes) and external (things that happen in our external world) environments through the nervous system, interprets this information, then determines what needs to be done in order to maintain homeostasis. It does this in a variety of ways. One such way is to secrete hormones that communicate to other endocrine glands. The hypothalamus regulates the entire autonomic nervous system (all the stuff that your brain takes care of and you don't have to think about doing; for example, keeping your heart beating). When you think about that, you begin to understand the importance of keeping this balanced, since the implications are throughout the entire body.
The hypothalamus is tied right into the limbic system in the brain which is the emotional and feeling brain and which also controls our olfactory and sensory input. It has been referred to as the second brain since it is so important in the proper functioning of our body. One interesting thing is that the hypothalamus is tapped directly into the adrenal glands and therefore bypasses the pituitary gland during times of stress. It also taps directly into our digestive system, which bring me back to what I always talk about, a healthy gut!
If the hypothalamus is out of balance, every function of the body will be affected to one degree or another. So it goes without saying that this is the first area that I work to balance in my clients. How does one balance the hypothalamus? This is most effectively achieved by addressing both the hypothalamus directly, using herbal or homeopathic combinations that specifically target the hypothalamus, and by addressing what is pulling the hypothalamus out of balance in the first place, the causative factors. It has been very interesting to me to see in my practice that things such as poor digestion or parasites can pull the hypothalamus out of balance. And when these patterns are addressed along with a bit of herbal or homeopathic support targeting the hypothalamus, it goes right into balance again.
One of the main causes that pulls the hypothalamus out of balance is something simple - not drinking enough water. So keep drinking that water! Another common cause is the health of the gut. If the gut is out of balance you can be pretty sure that the hypothalamus will be also. Closed head injuries can also cause imbalances in the hypothalamus. These do not have to be severe head injuries. Even somewhat minor head injuries such as a mild whiplash, a "bonk" in the head, or a fall, can throw the hypothalamus out of balance.
Helpful tips for a healthy hypothalamus:
- Maca is a great herb that balances the hypothalamus and is helpful for so many situations. It addresses many of the areas that pull the hypothalamus out in the first place and is even considered to have cancer protective properties to it.
- If you fall or hit your head, making a visit to your local cranial-sacral therapist might be a very helpful thing to do.
- Make sure you are drinking plenty of water; most people do not drink enough and think they do...
- Keep your stress managed, your hormones balanced, and your digestion good and you are well on your way.
We have products in our professional line that are specific to the hypothalamus. If you feel that you need a little extra help in this area or have any questions, feel free to call us!