Keys to Optimal Health and Vitality
The function of every cell, tissue, organ and system in in our body is strongly influenced by our nervous system. This is why an optimally functioning nervous system is so important for your health. In Chiropractic we often refer to restrictions and misalignments of the spine as “subluxations,” which cause stress to our nervous system. Chiropractic treatment is specifically designed help to reduce subluxations and therefore help improve the functioning of our nervous system and overall health. Subluxations and nervous system stress can contribute to headaches, neck pain, back pain, and many other joint pains and so naturally have a very deep impact on our health.
Where do subluxations come from? The most obvious reason that we can develop subluxations is physical stress. This comes from a variety of things we do in our daily lives. Anything from sitting for long hours at a computer to sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t have proper support can contribute to imbalances in our spine.
What many people don’t know is that emotional stress can also cause subluxations!
Emotional stress can overstimulate the sympathetic nervous system which is what puts us in “fight or flight” mode. Although this can be useful at times, many of us end up spending too much time in this “sympathetic mode” which is very depleting to our health. In this state it becomes difficult for our body to rebalance itself. We tend to develop more subluxations and experience more pain and decreased stress thresholds. We tend to be over reactive to stressors and are not able to enjoy life as much as we could. The opposing side to the sympathetic nervous system is the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the part of the nervous system that calms us. It allows us to be in a state where our body can heal and recuperate. It is ideal to have a good balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
It is generally well understood that people who take the time to engage in parasympathetic activities such as yoga, meditation, spending time in nature, listening to calming music, or any other calming activity handle the effects of stress better resulting in fewer subluxations and an improved quality of life.
There are many things you can do to improve the health nervous system. Chiropractic care, Neuro Emotional Technique (NET), Acupuncture and Massage Therapy can all be very effective in improving your nervous system health. Also engaging daily in parasympathetic activities and/or exercises is a very powerful way to improve your health and vitality.
We invite you to visit Optimum Wellness where our practitioners can assess the current state of your health and create a plan that will move you towards living your best life!
Here is a helpful parasympathetic exercise that you can do daily: Alternate Nostril Breathing:
This exercise just takes a few minutes and helps to reduce stress and anxiety. It helps to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system, lowers your heart rate, and helps to relieve mental tension.
Before you begin, make sure you are sitting comfortably in whatever position is comfortable for you.
- Holding your right hand in front of your face, begin by using your thumb to close off your right nostril
- Inhale slowly and deeply (but gently) through your left nostril
- Now close off the left nostril with your ring finger while removing your thumb from your right nostril
- Exhale slowly through your right nostril
- Inhale slowly through your right nostril
- Now close off the right nostril with your thumb again while removing your ring finger from your left nostril
- Exhale slowly and gently through your left nostril
- This completes one round. Now begin at step one again by inhaling through your left nostril, and keep going
When you first start using this breathing technique, begin with a few rounds and gradually build up to around ten rounds. Always sit quietly for a few moments when you have finished.
Try to do this exercise daily and at any time that you feel stressed and have the time to do this.
If you have blocked nostrils for any reason, do not force yourself to do this type of breathing exercise. Often people with blocked sinuses can do this comfortable right after having a shower.
Dr. Jackie Fairbourn, DC
OWC 17th Avenue