Understanding the Nervous System

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The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) controls bodily functions not under our conscious control such as the beating of our hearts and the fluctuation of hormones. It is divided into two systems, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic.

The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) can be seen as the Yang or active energy. In a threatening situation, the sympathetic nervous system triggers the release of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Our heart rate increases, our brain becomes instantly conscious and aware and our digestion diverts blood to its large muscles. This is our “fight or flight” response.

The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) can be seen as the Yin or passive energy. Once the system no longer sees a situation as a threat, the PNS decreases heart rate, relaxes blood vessels and clears metabolic waste products such as adrenaline and lactic acid. The parasympathetic system repairs and rebuilds the body after exposure to stress.

The more we are stressed, the more energy it takes our bodies to recover. This vicious cycle leads to such diseases as a weakened Immune System, Migraines, frequent Headaches, repetitive strain injuries, backaches or peptic ulcers. The body is out of balance. It then struggles to re-balance by finding ways to slow us down. Here are some ideas for re-balancing your system:

Acupuncture: Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches that channels of energy flowing throughout the body, may be manipulated by pressure known as Acupressure or with the insertion of fine needles, called Acupuncture. By manipulating the Qi, our vital life force or energy, good health is brought into balance.

Biofeedback: Biofeedback is the innate ability to influence the automatic nervous system through the exertion of will and mind. Chances are you have used Biofeedback yourself. You’ve used it if you have ever taken your temperature or stepped on a scale. These devices “feed back” information about your body’s condition.

Energy Balancing: Energy medicine is based on the belief that the human body is composed of energy fields. When the energy is properly distributed and circulating freely, the body is healthy. Imbalances or abnormal amounts of energy are believed to indicate an excess or deficency.

Guided Imagery: The power of visualization and Guided Imagery is one of our most powerful gifts! A healing tool we all have with in us - the “power of the mind!”

Meditation: Meditation is a time-honored technique that can take you into infinite dimensions of consciousness. It is a simple effort that becomes effortless as we do it more and more.

Spiritual Practice: To recognize a power that is greater than our own is to recognize our Spirituality. We understand the mind/body relationship to be inspired by alignment with one’s Highest Spiritual Principle and by that awareness we can choose Truth.

Yoga Therapy: Practicing Yoga is associated with establishing harmony, equanimity, balance. The therapeutic aspects of Yoga go beyond the physical and can transcend to spiritual.

Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac - http://www.peacefulmind.com - Therapies for healing mind, body, spirit


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