It’s been a while since I last posted. I’ve been a touch busy: but during that time I did experience a very short episode of brain fogginess so at least that helped me to decide on the B for my Reflexology A to Z.
Brain Fog: What does it feel like?
If you’ve never had it , you’re very lucky. I just couldn’t focus, I was trying to remember what I was supposed to be doing, the telephone was ringing, someone in the office asked me a question, had I completed a task last week…we’d had a long weekend and it was Tuesday morning but felt like Monday, I felt as if I was wallowing about in my thoughts in heavy boots……phew..I had to really ground myself, do a bit of deep breathing, make a lemon and ginger tea, try to be systematic, before my thoughts collected themselves into some semblance of order. It only lasted about 25 minutes but I did not like it at all. Imagine if you suffer long or frequent bouts! Horrid. It reminded me of that time when my boys were little and I was seriously sleep deprived. I could go into a supermarket for say , shampoo; I’d stand looking at the shelf and be overwhelmed by the choice and come out with nothing because I ‘couldn’t make up my mind’. Now there’s a phrase to conjure with. My brief research suggests that the brain fog experience ( imagine a fairground ride……you are now entering The Brain Fog Experience) is a state of forgetfulness, lack of focus, poor concentration, feeling dull…I can tell you it also felt quite scary because I knew my brain was not functioning properly so you can add fear into the mix too.
What are the Causes?
Well obviously there are some deeply serious medical conditions which may be indicated by these symptoms but don’t immediately assume the worst, for most people the causes of Brain Fog are likely to be more mundane. Brain Fog is quite common but shouldn’t be ignored: it certainly indicates that there is some sort of imbalance in your life.
In hunting for Brain Fog causes ;
1. ASK Do you have nutritional deficiencies? Did you know that in a USA study (McBride USDA 2000) it was reported that 40% of adults were deficient in B12. There is a growing body of research which is exploring the role of B12 in supporting good mental health. Here is a link to just some of that research. http://www.b12deficiency.info/media/1010/psychiatric-symptoms-v3.pdf
Testing for vitamin deficiencies is not often a GPs first reaction if you go to the doctor with the symptoms I’ve described. Those anti depressant prescriptions just fly out of lots of surgeries!
2. ASK Are you sleep deprived ? Almost half of British women (43%) say they are not getting enough sleep. In fact, 45% do not feel well-rested when they wake up. These results are part of the ‘Reclaim Your Sleep’ survey of 4,100 UK adults, conducted by YouGov and supported by the Sleep Apnoea Trust Association (SATA). 2016. There are more and more concerns that children are struggling at school with poor cognitive function due to sleep deprivation. I have lots more to say elsewhere about SLEEP , what happens when we don’t get enough and how reflexology may help, but it may be the cause of your brain fog. Teenagers need up to 11 hours and adults between 7 and 9 per night regularly!
3. ASK Are you reacting to medication , toxins or a food intolerance? Is your thyroid functioning properly? 10-15% of all cells in the brain are microglial cells which get agitated by inflammation from a thyroid imbalance and produce brain fog.
4. ASK Are you looking after your brain? Our brain needs oxygen which is carried there by our blood. If you are inactive it isn’t just lack of outside stimulation which makes your brain dull but lack of vital brain food and oxygen. We often don’t breath well enough and while we may take rigorous exercise the muscles steal all the oxygen. According to The NACD Foundation (Volume 25 No. 5, 2012 ©NACD)
your brain needs you to take short regular walks throughout the day to get the best oxygen it can.
5. ASK Is your diet right? The brain needs glucose, a fall in blood sugar is often characterised by a change in mental function; according to researchers at Roehampton University “When your glucose level drops, the symptom is confused thinking” One problem we have is that simple sugars cause glucose spikes of high and low rather than a good balance which is produced by complex carbohydrates. What you are eating and when, may be a contributory factor to your brain fog.
6. ASK Do you even need to wonder if stress is contributing ? See my last post!
So can Reflexology help?
It doesn’t take a neuroscientist to see that poor diet and lifestyle can throw our whole system out of balance, everything is connected. A system out of balance can produce those scary moments of not being cognitively fully functioning. (My mum used to describe it as “not knowing if she was on this earth or Fullers” but that loses a lot in the translation these days. Fullers Earth was a clay like substance that was used to absorb oils. ) A good reflexologist working with a client who is concerned about brain fog would want to ensure that the client is exploring all of the possible causes and is talking to their GP. And let’s get realistic here…However good a Reflexologist is, he or she cannot make you better if you persist in harming yourself. If you cut the sugar, if you check your vitamin intake, if you feed your brain properly..then a reflexologist may be able to assist your system to rebalance…think of it like being put back to factory settings! Remember though ….Garbage In Garbage Out so you would have to do your bit too.