By Dr. Lawrence Wilson

© May 2016, L. D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.


All information in this article is for educational purposes only.  It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.


            The body’s response to stress is in the form of a wave.  This is a very important physiological concept.  It can help us understand phenomena such as:


1. Inflammation

2. Changes in the oxidation rate

3. Changes in the sodium/potassium ratio

4. Other changes on a hair mineral chart, and symptoms.


Definition.  The stress wave refers to the normal way our bodies respond to any type of stressor.  In total, there are four parts to the wave:

1. Before a stress occurs, the body is in a neutral situation.  This is represented by a flat area or baseline before the wave.

2. When a stress occurs, the first response is a phase of inflammation or excitation.  This is the upward part of the wave if one makes a diagram of the wave.  It represents the body mobilizing to cope with and fight off the stressor.

3. Assuming that the body is successful and the stress has ceased or been overcome, there follows a recovery and relaxation phase of the stress response.  This is the downward part of the wave.  During this phase, the body rests and recovers.

4. After recovery, the body returns to the original normal state, represented by a flat area to the right of the wave.


This is somewhat like an ocean wave with an up phase, followed by a down phase, and then a return to a baseline level.

It can be seen clearly, for example, on an electrocardiogram, which is the way the heart responds to stress.


Different length cycles.  Stress waves can be momentary, daily, monthly in the case of the menstrual cycle, seasonal or it can span a lifetime.  However, the idea is the same regardless of the time frame.  The following story may be helpful to illustrate the principle of the stress wave: 




The normal baseline phase.  A pedestrian is walking at a normal pace to his place of work.  There are no unusual circumstances, so he walks at a comfortable pace and is relaxed.


The “upward” phase of the wave. The pedestrian must cross a busy street.  Having looked both ways, he strolls out into the street.  Halfway across, a car approaches suddenly at high speed.

In an instant, the body secretes more adrenaline, noradrenaline and other stress hormones, and the stress response begins.  Blood rushes to the brain and to the muscles to prepare to fight or run.  The pulse and blood pressure increase to pump even more blood to the brain and muscles.

Glucose and insulin also pour into the bloodstream to prepare the pedestrian to run away.  The pupils dilate and the hearing and sight become sharper.  In short, the entire body goes on high alert or “code red”.  This is an inflammatory fight-or-flight response of the body and brain.

A catabolic and destructive state.  At the same time that blood rushes to the muscles and brain, it flows away from all the glands and organs that are not essential for defense.  These include the stomach, intestines, pancreas,  liver, thymus, kidneys and others.

As a result, for example, the orderly digestion of the pedestrian’s breakfast comes to an abrupt halt.  Elimination may occur in an uncontrolled way or it stops altogether.  The body’s ability to fight infection also diminishes, since healing an infection is not at all important at this time, and blood has been shunted to the muscles and away from the digestive organs. 

In this fashion, the stress response stops or inhibits many vital body functions.  This is like taking most factory workers away from their jobs so they can fight a war.  It is occasionally fine, providing it is a real emergency and only lasts for a short time.

However, if it continues, the nation begins to starve for workers and the production of goods slows down.  In fact, all militaristic nations such as North Korea and the former Soviet Union suffer and are often destroyed for this reason.


The “downward” or recovery phase.  Let us assume the pedestrian runs out of the way of the car and reaches the side of the road safely.  He decides to sit or lean against a railing for a few minutes to catch his breath and calm down.  The rest and recovery phase now begins.

The body slowly clears the blood of the excess hormones, sugar, cholesterol and other fight-or-flight chemicals.  The blood circulation to the digestive system returns, and blood is shunted away from the muscles, which are now resting and don’t need the extra blood.  Respiration slowly return to normal levels.  The pulse also slows, and begins to returns to normal.


Return to the baseline situation.  After 10 minutes or so, the pedestrian begins to relax, calms down, and resumes his normal pace of walking to work.




Life involves responding to millions of these stress waves that occur every day, year after year.  The stressors can be heat or cold, illnesses such as infections, physical blows to the body, emotional upsets, mental distress, fears, anxiety, worries and other types of stressors such as fatigue, hunger, or thirst in the body.

Since the waves keep coming day after day, the stress response mechanism becomes damaged, in most everyone, even at a very young age.  Nutrients become depleted, toxic metals accumulate, and many imbalances develop in the glands and organs of the body.

This is the basic cause of the oxidation types and of most human illness, from a stress perspective.


Distorted stress waves.  The description of the stress wave and the example above are idealized.  As the body becomes depleted of key nutrients, and as toxic metals and toxic chemicals block the normal progression of the stress wave, the wave becomes distorted.

In some cases, the body can no longer mount much of a stress response at all.  This produces a very small stress wave.  In other cases, the response may become exaggerated, prolonged, or the body becomes stuck in one of the phases and cannot move on. 

In fact, these aberrations are what we call the oxidation types.  Here is more detail about this.


 Fast oxidation.  This is a kind of permanent inflammatory phase of the stress wave or stress response.  It is a more or less continuous fight-or-flight response.  It occurs early in life, in most cases. 

It is very hard on the body and depletes minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper.  It is associated with inflammatory symptoms such as skin rashes, allergies, asthma, irritability, attention deficit and others.

By the time most children on earth are between 3 and 10 years of age, they have been in this stage so long that they can no longer maintain it.  Then they move into slow oxidation.


Slow oxidation.  When the body can no longer maintain the upward phase of the stress wave, which is a state of alertness or alarm, it moves into an even worse condition called slow oxidation.

Here the stress wave is deformed or distorted so that when a threat or stressor occurs, the body cannot mount a full upward or inflammatory stress response.  This is like a nation with weak defenses.

At times, the body remains in a recovery phase all of the time, represented by a very sluggish resting oxidation rate.  It stays there because it cannot recover properly, although it keeps trying to do so.  The reason is always nutrient deficiencies and the presence of excessive toxins – physical, biological or other types such as electromagnetic or ionizing radiation.

Most people spend most of their lives in this state of the stress wave.  However, some move into an even more deranged condition called a four lows pattern.


Sub-oxidation or four lows.  In this situation, the body tries to respond like a fast oxidizer but it is ineffectual.

We say it is like a car stuck in a ditch spinning the wheels.  Another analogy is a car whose transmission does not work right.  The driver applies the gas, but the connection to the wheels is broken, so the engine spins but the wheels do not. 




            We cannot prevent the stress waves from hitting us every day.  However, we can:


1. Reduce the intensity of the stressors by developing a healthful lifestyle.  This includes focusing on safety, relaxation, and sanity in every area of life.  It means living in integrity and examining all of our thoughts and feelings, words and actions to see if they are appropriate and health-producing.

            One may have to let go of some friends, or some activities, and change locations, for example, to correct lifestyle imbalances.


2. Strengthen and restore the body and brain with a nutritional balancing program.  This can greatly enhance the body’s ability to respond properly and vigorously to the stress waves.


A version of this article is in Nutritional Balancing And Hair Mineral Analysis, 2010,2014 and 2016 editions.


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