Balancing the Nervous System


Seasonal Insights by Sarah Giordano

Autumn 2021

 
 

It’s fall, there is a chill in the air, the days are getting darker, pumpkin flavor has overtaken every marketplace and the allure of change emboldens us to let go and breath fresh life. Fall is a time to allow ourselves to receive the bounty of the season and also move on from what has served us in the past.

This season we are exploring the mind. Our miraculously engineered bodies are run by our nervous system. Our actions, thoughts and emotions all play a role in shaping the nervous system for longevity. Let us discover ways to balance the workload of our nervous system and bring peace of mind. In this issue you will find:

Inner-workings of the Nervous System

Promoting Longevity of the Mind

Restorative Practice

Spinal Bathing

Recipe: Herbal Tea

Yours Truly,

Sarah Giordano

 

The Nervous System


Our nervous system can be described as the command center of our bodies, delegating tasks such as:

  • direct all of our movements both voluntary and involuntary

  • interpret information received through our senses

  • store memories

  • analyze thoughts and opinions

  • create emotional responses

  • synchronize rhythms and cycles

  • even regulate our vital signs of life including heart rate, temperature and blood pressure



Needless to say, we would be quite helpless without the nervous system.


To carry out this laundry list of to-dos the nervous system is comprised of the brain, the spinal cord, and the cerebral spinal fluid in the center of the body with the peripheral nerves reaching in and around all of our organs. Peripheral nerves interwoven throughout our bodies can be broken down into several categories of which we are going to focus on the following two:


Sympathetic Nervous System

"Fight or Flight"

Our sympathetic nerves are activated in times of fear or stress as the body’s innate response to combat danger. When stressed the body will automatically:

  • dilate the pupils

  • decrease salivation

  • increase the heart rate

  • open the airways

  • decrease digestion

  • increase glucose release

  • secrete adrenaline

  • relax the bladder

  • promote ejaculation or vaginal contraction


Parasympathetic Nervous System

"Rest and Digest"

In opposition, when the body is in a state of rest and relaxation our intrinsic response is to:

  • constrict the pupils

  • stimulate saliva production

  • slow the heartbeat

  • narrow the airways (slower breathing)

  • increase digestion

  • inhibit glucose release

  • contract the bladder

  • promote sustained erection of the genitals.


This state of being allows the command center to rejuvenate through rest and digestion.



The body is designed to spend around 80% of the time in the rest and digest state with only 20% in a fight or flight response. Unfortunately stress has become something of a common denominator of life in 2021. We are stressing ourselves out in more ways than you may think possible:

  • emotional stress of a break up or a loss

  • cognitive stress of endless achievement goals

  • constant worrying about anything and everything

  • sensory overload of screens day in and day out

  • metabolic stress of overworking ourselves

  • toxins we eat, breath and lather ourselves in

  • immune stress of chronic illness or inflammation

  • structural stress causing continuous pain


We have made a routine out of stressing ourselves out. This routine causes an overstimulation of the fight or flight response resulting in a digestive stand still, elevated blood pressure and heart disease, impaired metabolism, impeded immunity and detoxification processes, sleep disturbances, depletion of emotional regulators, adrenal function exhaustion, and amplified senses. In short, this is causing us to be sick and tired.


 

Promoting Longevity

Hope is of course not lost. Here are four areas to explore in our daily routines that can promote the parasympathetic state of resting and digesting.


Sleep Regulation

To foster a good night’s sleep start with decreasing sensory input up to 2 hours prior to sleep by turning off computer screens, phone screens, TVs, dimming the lights, and reducing sounds to soft music or silence. Any evening snack would be best before 8pm. Taking a bath, meditation or restorative yoga are all good ways to prepare the mind and body for sleep. Our body’s sleep/wake cycle is designed to restore and regenerate our organs while we sleep, and with that in mind, best practice is to be asleep prior to 11pm for optimal results. Check out the Chinese Body Clock to see which organs are rejuvenated between the hours of 11pm and 6am.



Nutrition

Replenish nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and antioxidants which support the nervous system. Some important foods to include in the diet are:

  • avocados

  • nuts

  • seeds

  • green leafy vegetables

  • seaweed

  • oats

It is also wise to remove stimulants and depressants from the diet including:

  • alcohol

  • sugar

  • food additives and dyes

  • caffeine

  • pesticides



Exercise

Aerobic exercise is thought to be the most beneficial type of exercise for improving the capacity of the overall nervous system. This type of exercise has great potential to improve cognitive abilities on the whole.

Fantastic aerobic exercises to try are running, cycling, rowing, swimming or jumping rope.

Regular physical exercise has shown to lower activity of the sympathetic nervous system, and encourages stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system.






Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is a way of slowing down mentally to become fully present. Some suggestions of ways to practice mindfulness include:

  • Meditation

  • Connect with nature

  • Slow down the breath

  • Disconnect

  • Spend time in solitude

  • Regulate our thoughts: notice what our time and energy is spent on and choose wisely

  • Enjoy each moment

  • Smile



 

Restorative Practice

Restorative yoga helps promote relaxation of the mind and body with slow movement, long holds and deep breathing. Here is a 20 minute video to help get us started this season with balancing out stress and promoting rejuvenation.


 

Spinal Bathing

Spinal Bath is a hydrotherapy technique which improves blood circulation to the spine, activates the nervous system, relieves congestion over the spinal nerve and promotes total relaxation. Submerge the entire back from the nape of the neck to the tailbone in a thin layer of water about 2-3 inches in depth. The temperature of the water can be set according to desired outcome.

  • Cold (5-10 minutes) helps with kidney problems or constipation

  • Neutral (20-30 minutes) can treat hypertension, stress, spinal irritation, insomnia, diarrhea, or irritable bladder

  • Hot (5-10 minutes) can improve backache, muscle spasm of the back, amenorrhoea, chronic bronchitis, and sciatica


 

Herbal Tea

Nothing beats cozying up with a hot cup of herbal tea on a cool autumn afternoon. Utilizing the healing powers of plants to treat and manage ailments of the body is a huge part of natural medicine. This season I am drawing your attention to two herbs in particular which will aid in cultivating a state of "Rest and Digest."


Rest

As a natural sleep aid, dating back to ancient Egypt, Chamomile Tea is known for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Researchers believe that its effect on sleep comes from its flavonoid content.

Digest

Peppermint Tea is a powerful digestive aid that has been used in herbal medicine for centuries to help improve digestion and soothe the stomach. Studies had shown peppermint tea helps to relieve bloating, gas, and indigestion by relaxing the muscles of the digestive tract.





 

I hope you have enjoyed this food for thought and utilize the actionable practices I have shared to promote health and vitality.

If you are interested in diving deeper and exploring your health ecosystem reply to this email to sign up for a free consultation.

I recently launched my Google My Business page. If you are enjoying the seasonal newsletters or have taken my classes and are looking for a way to support, I would truly appreciate a review.

 

Take this moment and thank yourself for dedicating time to the mind, body and spirit. Enjoy this season of celebration. Namaste - Sarah Giordano -

 









26 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All