Through my studies and experience with the human body and its natural ability to cleanse, repair, and heal itself, I have become aware of certain specific functions that need to take place in order to effectively process and heal within. The human body’s natural response to heal takes place when an organism is functioning in the parasympathetic nervous system, rather than sympathetic.
What is the difference? The central nervous system houses two main branches: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. Do you feel like you always seem to be in a go-go-go need to move pace? That is the branch of the sympathetic nervous system in action. Fight, Flight, Freeze, in exact. This type of response is effective in the body for instances including, running from a bear or sitting on the edge of your seat in anticipation during a scary thriller. This type of response is not so effective when sitting down to enjoy a newspaper or finally hitting the hay after a long day. On the other hand, when slipping into a warm bubble bath or cozying up with a cup of tea do you feel a sense of relaxation, deeper breathe? That is the branch of the parasympathetic nervous system coming into play. Rest and digest. This type of response is effective in the body for authentic rest, rejuvenation, overall self awareness and healing. This type of response is not as effective for say, staying up all night cramming for a midterm.
The Parasympathetic nervous system however, is the functional system that allows for a deeper awareness of yourself within the body. The PNS is in correlation with the body’s naturally occurring rhythms and when these rhythms are off balance, the body may respond via feedback looking like: illness, pain, irritation, or even immobility. Tuning into one’s parasympathetic nervous system can give a person’s body a chance to “catch up” to all of the things it may have been storing away during the go-go-go mentality.
How does one know they are in parasympathetic mode? Through connecting with their naturally occurring diaphragmatic breathing cycle. Breathing is a miraculous function that can be an unconscious automatic response, meaning we are breathing even if we are not actually aware of our breathe, as well as a conscious response, meaning we can consciously tune in to our breathing cycle. Consciously taking Diaphragmatic Breaths assists in becoming aware of one’s natural breathing rhythm converting into parasympathetic mode. Yes it can be that simple. Unfortunately, many people are currently working continuously in their sympathetic nervous systems. It is ingrained in our society that we must work hard at all times and that pain is gain. Sound familiar? Hyperactivity is skyrocketing, and the root of the problem is the lack of tuning into self.
So what is the role of parasympathetic mode in healing? When functioning in PNS the body is able to take what is coming at it, or is coming up from within, in true authentic form. So although it is true, the body may not be as apt to pull an all nighter without plenty of SNS activating caffeine pills, it more so brings the question up: is staying up all night cramming actually going to effectively aide in memory/information retention and application? The answer being, no, not a bit. What can help sustain memory? Tuning out the constant noise and Tuning in to something brilliant: Your Self. Making any sense? Tune in next week to learn more about how the body relaxes!