HEALTHY BITE | Update: Understanding Stress

"Unstress" is a made-up word, which is all about understanding stress. That's really what it is. But also perhaps the opposite of stress is to detress or UNstress.... and why is that so important? Listen in to find out.

Understanding Stress

We’ve got a big year planned stress is obviously a major focus of this blog, Unstress with Dr Ron Ehrlich. The word is Unstress and I’m often asked about stress. I have the five-stress role model that I’ve used clinically for almost 40 years, and that is to look at stress as anything that has the potential to compromise your immune system or promote chronic inflammation. They are the two key things in chronic disease. Anything that does that is in my model is something to identify and try and minimize emotional environmental postural, nutritional, and yes, dental stress as well.

To anybody familiar with my work and my podcast, you’ll know what that’s all about. But a question I’m often asking is, is all stress bad? And the answer is most certainly not.

How we think about stress is very important

For example, if the work you do stresses you out and you just come home every day and think, oh my God, this is killing me, I hate it, I just feel so stressed out, then it probably isn’t good for your health and actually, your physiology will be responding accordingly. But if the person sitting next to you in the office doing exactly the same job as you is so excited and empowered by it and loves it, even though they’re putting in the same or if not more hours than you, then their attitude to that is very different to yours and their attitude will have a very different physiological result.

So there’s one thing there, but there are other intentional stresses. It’s called hormesis or hormetic stress, which is good for you when exercise is a good example of that and another stress that is very good for you is putting your body going through breathing. We’ve talked a lot about breathing on this podcast and we’ve explored what breathing well means. You can actually use the breath to change your nervous system and your immune function.

We’re going to be exploring that in a podcast I’ve done with Deano Gladstone. Deano is an absolute legend and I started to explore with him ice baths and that has been a really exciting and empowering thing for me to do. Me personally, I hate cold water. I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to cold water. I usually wouldn’t get in if it was under 18 degrees or too cold.

But with Deano, I got in the ice bath and it was two degrees with ice cubes floating in around me, totally submerged up to my shoulders. We were sitting in that ice bath. I was sitting in that ice bath for three to three, and a half minutes. And it was quite a remarkable experience.

Since then, Dr Lewis Ehrlich, who also has a podcast called Mouthing Off, and Lewis is my partner in the dental surgery, apart from also being my nephew, we’ve been doing regular Saturday morning ice baths with my brother, Dr. Joshua Ehrlich, who’s also been my partner for over 40 years in the dental surgery. We’ve been exploring that with some friends and relatives and it’s been really interesting to combine the breathing technique the Deano introduced us to, which is essentially based on Wim Hof, the Ice Man, and then getting into an ice bath.


Hormesis or intentional stress is a great way of changing body neurology and really empowering immune function. Another way is with infrared saunas, which I do regularly in my own home. I’m very fortunate to have one man in an infrared sauna. I have an infrared light on my desk here in the office, which I also use. Fasting is another intentional stress that it can have incredibly positive things effect on immune function.

The stresses that are bad for you, compromise your immune system, emotional environmental postural, nutritional and dental. That’s what we’re exploring. But we’re also going to be this year focusing a lot on intentional stress and hormesis or hormesis to boost immune function.


This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions.