Mind & Body

Chinese medicine doctor on adrenal glands and how to get out of bed

Chinese medicine doctor Dr. Irene Prantalos shares her advice for managing stress, bounding out of bed and what sneaky little thing is causing that dreaded drain. 

Many of us are faced with extreme exhaustion… which may often take us down a path of poor health and depression.

This has been particularly more in 2020, as it’s been a tough and stressful year for most – and places like my hometown, Melbourne, are still experiencing tough and stressful times.

The important question is WHY? Why do you have little energy? Why are you feeling depressed? Why do you lack motivation? Why can’t you get up in the morning?

The answer is simple; I’m pushing myself, not eating the right food, not exercising, just NOT taking care of myself.

The number of times I have had patients come in with a health concern and answer their own questions with, “I know I’m not doing the right things for myself right now”. This is often followed by excuses that make it ‘okay’.

The truth is, it is absolutely normal to struggle to eat the right foods or go to the gym when you feel your tank is running on empty. Obviously, all our energy is often put into going to work or school and anything beyond that can just be too difficult.

Once you read on, you will absolutely kick yourself when you realise you didn’t have to feel this way.

It all comes down to your adrenal health.

So let me explain why this is happening, and what you can do about it.

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Adrenal glands that manage stress can become overworked

Stress increases cortisol and adrenaline (I think we all know this by now).

Over a long period of time, the adrenal glands (that are situated on top of the kidneys) start to struggle, and are unable to release the cortisol and adrenaline needed for the management of the stress that is occurring.

What happens next:

  • Lethargy
  • Digestive issues
  • Food Intolerance
  • Hormones become imbalanced
  • Thyroid function starts to act up and lead to either an overactive or underactive thyroid
  • Auto-immune disorders result

How can the adrenals be helped?

As always, the sooner you address the issue – the quicker the impact and the less disruption to the body.


These are herbs that encourage healthy functioning of the adrenals. Salubre Sereni-tea is formulated for this reason alone. Herbs such as Ginseng, Gingko and Rhodiola are great to spruce up the adrenals and get them working better.


Acupuncture is a great way to promote adrenal health and reduce the impact stress and anxiety is having on the body. Acupuncture can also rectify other issues that have come about due to poor functioning adrenals.

If you have never had acupuncture before, I’m sure you will love it.

Here are the facts:

  • The needles are made from surgical stainless steel and are used only once, then responsibly discarded.
  • Points used for the rejuvenation of your adrenals are typically located on the arms and legs.
  • It is common to feel very relaxed after a 25 minute acupuncture session… many people fall asleep during this time.
  • Acupuncture is NOT painful. If you have experienced painful acupuncture, I would encourage you to give it another go. Traditionally, acupuncture was administered by aggressively gathering qi, but researchers have shown that simply inserting the needle along the line of the meridian will instigate the effect we are hoping to achieve.

Mediate and Socialise

Meditation is a great way to feed your body as well as your soul. As stress can negatively impact our mind and body, it is important to calm the nervous system with meditation.

Be sure to keep your social circles active in this time, as they can be very rejuvenating for the soul. Choose more indoor activities, such as the movies, dinner parties and good old fashion chats.

Make time for Exercise

By keeping up a regular exercise regimen, you are promoting blood circulation and consistent endorphin release to keep you positive and healthy.

Go to bed early

Sleeping early will promote the healing process of your mind and body. Getting to sleep early means you can maximise rest and rejuvenation, while simultaneously promoting the healing process.

Get Cooking

Stews are a great idea as they fill you up and warm you all over, while providing intense nutritional content. Avoid acidic beverages and foods such as caffeine, alcohol, greasy/fatty foods, and opt for fresh fruits and vegetables – home cooked in the healthiest way possible.

Be consistent with your daily rituals

There’s no doubt that extreme times can be challenging, and with COVID these challenges can really push us out of our comfort zones and into a place of stress and angst.

The important thing is to stay above the chaos, and to keep all your daily rituals (as mentioned above) consistent and in a positive light. Once you get yourself into a feared state, that is when the stress and anxiety presents which really serves no purpose.

You are clearer to think, and better equipped to manage a stressful situation when you are calm and rational.

Dr. Irene Prantalos of the Salubre Skin Clinic in Victoria, is a Chinese medicine doctor with 17 years private practice experience and Bachelors of Applied Science in Human Biology and Chinese Medicine. Connect with her via Instagram.