You’ve heard the saying: Stress Can Kill.
It seems to be an over-the-top statement. But, let’s look at your nervous system and how it affects your healing. Your nervous system controls your entire body – it is your puppet master. There are circumstances in our lives in which our nervous system reacts with extreme stress. While there are many parts and functions of a nervous system, I want to focus in on the part that controls this stress reaction. This part is called the Autonomic Nervous System.
There are 2 parts of the Autonomic Nervous System:
- Sympathetic = Fight or Flight
- Parasympathetic = Balance & Healing
Daily doses of caffeine, electronic devices, deadlines, traffic, pain, illness, relationships, etc. flood our nervous system until we constantly stay in a pattern of Fight or Flight. This allows free radicals to rampage, DNA to be damaged resulting in conditions such as cancer, and for pain receptors to be heightened. The body can not find homeostasis or balance while constantly in a state of Fight or Flight.
There is a POWERFUL solution already contained within your body. Simply activating the Parasympathetic system as often as possible will allow your body to self-heal more rapidly while fighting off toxins and free radicals.
Here are 2 powerful ways you can activate your parasympathetic system:
Meditation – simply focusing on one peaceful image, sound or thought for a few minutes several times per day. Slow your breathing.
Massage – the act of massage DIRECTLY affects your parasympathetic system. There are some conditions in which the effects are more prominent:
- Extending the massage beyond 1 hour will lock in a longer lasting parasympathetic activation.
- Using aromatherapy mixed with gliding and kneading throughout the massage creates a deeper parasympathetic activation.
- Results are cumulative. In other words, consistent massage sessions over time will build up greater activation in the parasympathetic system.
Think of it like this. You have a wellness account in your body. Every time you add something to it that activates your parasympathetic system, you are creating a source to draw from when needed. However, if you are constantly withdrawing from this account to meet the stressful needs of your life, your account will be zero or in negative balance which leads to disease and death.
By making small changes in your every day life to more frequently active your parasympathetic system, you are allowing your body the right circumstances to heal itself. This type of self-care has got to become habitual. You must consciously be aware of your current state at any time of the day so that you can begin making changes on a very small level. And, you should consider using massage as a tool to help with this process.