You might have heard me talk about the ‘nervous system’ during consultations and wondered what it has to do with your treatment.
The autonomic nervous system is the system that controls how fast your heart beats or how much glucose you release from your blood.
The important word here is ‘autonomic’ or involuntary.
It decides, not you.
So something to consider is that your body is constantly having this conversation about how much cortisol or blood you need and you don’t get a say.
Although it is controlled by stress levels, so this can be an area we can choose to change with the right support.
There are two parts to your autonomic nervous system: sympathetic and parasympathetic.
Sympathetic responds to stress and parasympathetic brings us back to normal after stress.
The state of stress activates the sympathetic nervous system into fight or flight mode. This means that when the body feels stressed, the autonomic nervous system gets it ready for action, to run away from bears or climb a tree.
I don’t know about you but my stress is more likely to be being put on hold or my computer crashing and I’ve never seen any bears in Meanwood!
During stress, digestion is reduced and heart activity is increased. (Have you noticed the link between digestion and stress?)
We are more likely to get ill as the body is pumping blood to our muscles and neglecting the housekeeping of our immune system. Skin and hair suffer too !
Either way, the body is in caveman mode and ready for bears so that isn’t really that useful. Taking lots of antibiotics for illness after stress can have a whole host of other side effects with weight gain being just one.
Our response to stress affects our health. It literally puts our body out of balance. We don’t have bears to run away from so we can’t use the glucose. Thank you! but a hug would be more helpful.
What happens to the glucose? The constant raising and lowering of glucose in our blood stream means the cells eventually ‘misread’ the messages.
This is why the long term effects of being in fight and flight mode with no where to run and no bears to run from so to speak are:
- Hormonal imbalances
- High blood pressure
- Poor quality sleep
To name just a few
So where is the ‘off’ button?
This is also known as the parasympathetic nervous system, the system that reduces the heart rate and restores ‘normal’ breathing.
So why isn’t it always working?
Quite simply, we’re not designed to be under this amount of stress for such a prolonged time and this has caused many people’s bodies to struggle to return to ‘normal’ after a period of stress has lasted around 3 months and the body is only designed to handle stress for a few hours at a time.
Which essential oils work with the parasympathetic nervous system?
Ylang Ylang (Cangana odorata)
Cedarwood (Cedrus Atlantica)
Are a couple of my favourites, both lower the heart rebate and reduce blood pressure and improve the length and quality of sleep. These oils have a sedative effect to bring you back into balance and make you feel grounded.
What else can help?
Exercise releases energy and helps the body relax.
Eating a high fibre diets helps to absorb glucose and keep the digestive system working efficiently.
Sunlight, particularly in the winter months can promote better sleep by restoring the circadian clock (your body’s internal clock)
Meeting up with friends and having a laugh
There you go, I just gave you permission!