My alternative health care practice was enhanced after reading Stress of Life by Hans Sleyle who expanded my ideas about stress. Seyle became a MD and Chemist in Europe in 1929, and then came from Europe to Johns Hopkins University in the USA, then in 1936 on to McGill University in Montreal to begin a lifetime of research about stress.
As early as his second year of medical school (1926), he began developing his now-famous theory of the influence of stress on human ability to cope with and adapt to the pressures of life, injury and disease. He discovered that patients with a variety of ailments manifested many similar symptoms, which he ultimately attributed to their bodies’ efforts to respond to the stresses of being ill. He called this collection of symptoms the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) as the body passes through three stages of adapting.
o Alarm as body prepares for (fight or flight)
o A resistance to the stress
o Exhaustion and aging if stress persists
What stress is not
o Nervous tension
o A discharge of hormones
o The nonspecific result of physical damage
o Deviation from homeostasis
o The alarm reaction
o A specific or non-specific reaction
o Necessarily undesirable, depends on how you take it
So exactly what is stress?
o A neither good nor bad thing, stress is a reaction that may have good or bad effects o Cannot and should not be avoided
o Can only be avoided by dying
Seyle spent a lifetime continuing research on GAS and wrote more than 30 books and more than 1,500 articles on stress and related problems. So impressive are his findings and theories that some authorities refer to him as “the Einstein of medicine.”