It's a new year for me too and there is so much blog in my heart, really, and I want to tell you more about what I mean but there is some groundwork to lay first. There are a few physiological realities that must be made clear. Everything else makes so much more sense when you have a basic understanding of the 'Anatomy of Stress'. What I'm about to put forth here is purely biological; it's real and documented and known to the medical industry but not to every one of you.
First a little about me. Foremost I am, as a massage therapist, medicine. That's what I am. You come see me, you lay down and I administer medicine with my friggin medicine hands! You don't have to do anything and by the time you leave, whether in 15 minutes or 90, healing has occurred; things have changed. But what does that even mean? You can tell that it is so but what is it?
A billion little physiological things probably, of which I know a few.
But really it means 2 things... I have reduced pain and I have lowered stress.
These 2 things deserve and demand their very own volumes and are both extremely important to health and what we call 'well being'. Now when it comes to stress and it's impact on health it's totally insane that we're not taught the basics of what stress is and what it does. These basics should be common knowledge and knowledge is power. This knowledge is the groundwork for everything I do. I have established that I am medicine but I also strive to be a stress educator. From anxiety disorders to cancer stress matters. Here's why...
I'll start with an excerpt from my lecture "mind, body spirt... now what" called? "predator in the face"
~Do you realize that you have 2 different nervous systems in your body that are responsible for either causing stress or relaxation???
One induces stress, the other invokes relaxation.
This is the absolute truth. I'm not making this up.
The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) causes the "stress" response and was adapted to help us deal in real life threatening situations in which we needed to run or fight to the death. The stress response prepares our bodies for dropkicking a predator in the face, for lifting a car off someone, for making quick decisive action when a deer gets up in our grill or for screaming off into the night::::::: it's not good for dealing with debt collectors, people buying lotto in front of us, deadlines, for hashing out some dilemma with a peer or for partaking in any retail encounter whatsoever.... unless of course you're about to dropkicked in the face. Life can feel like that yes?
We have not evolved past this prehistoric state of being. Stress is not the natural way of going through life. Sometimes it can help get through a period of intensity but mostly it floods the system with adrenaline causing adrenaline fatigue, suppresses our immune systems, makes us nervous, jumpy, short of breath, unbalanced, tense, brainless, sloppy ogre people with bad digestion. Stress drains blood from the ORGANS AND FOREBRAIN and puts it in the muscles and mid-brain to help us act like wild reptiles that survive. This is why you get befuddled, confused and crazy when you're overly stressed and angry;:::: you never say the right thing when there's a prehistoric beast in your face. Blood leaves the forebrain and you cannot properly digest food when you're like this, which is every day.
Now, there is the OTHER nervous system the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). This one activates the REST AND DIGEST response. We are in one or the other. We are either in stress or in rest and digest and, believe me, there is no mistaking the rest and digest state. You definitely know when you're there. We are usually never there. Even when watching T.V. or chillin out we're still using the sympathetic nervous system. If you're not in the relaxation response you are still in stress. The idea is to achieve the relaxation response as often as possible::: once a day to start with would be good. We literally need to retrain ourselves out of constant stress. This constant stress is the cause of so many chronic illnesses and disorders, from being overweight to mental illness to whatever ails you.
There are many ways to achieve the relaxation response through stimulation of the "parasympathetic nervous system". Massage is a good way to achieve this because the client is passive and doesn't have to do anything. The client will always achieve deep relaxation at the conclusion of a massage.~
Okay, so that is really basic but it should also be very compelling to you; we are operating on outdated modes of behavior! We are no longer hunted day and night yet we still run on the part of the nervous system that helped us survive the primitive centuries! We are safe now, we can chillax! But we haven't yet! This system (the SNS) is very destructive to the immune system! How? Well that's just one of the many many things I need to tell you about! But I needed to leave this here first and lay the ground work. Now you know what SNS and PNS are. That's good. That's reallly good. You enter the massage in SNS and leave in PNS and you can tell the difference.
We have not evolved. But we can evolve. Being in a state of PNS calm is something we need to learn to do, then cultivate then maintain with every inch of our being. We need to hold on to it and make it ours. We need to take control and realize that day to day stress is not natural or okay or all around you,,, it's actually a choice. It's a choice that you need training in order to learn to make it and I'm here for you, it's what I do. I'm a switchboard operator dialing in PNS. I am medicine... this is what healing means.
P.s. Join me on Facebook and I 'll tell you exactly what SNS does to your immune system!