Stress or Repair

Our Autonomic System has two subsystems called the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS). You transition between these two systems based on the body’s current goals and state of health.

The SNS is engaged when we feel threatened and might need to fight or run. The PNS is engaged when we are digesting, repairing, or creating life.

If you are acutely or chronically stressed, whether it is from an external threat, a mental, emotional, or physiologically state of being, your SNS will be dominant, and therefore your PNS will be passive. So if you are trying to improve your health, you would want your PNS to be dominant. But to have PNS dominance, you must address your sources of stress. This is one of the major reasons why healing a chronic infection is often not enough to repair the body. Working through mental and emotional stress is also necessary. If you are having difficulty being successful with improving your health, and you feel the blockage is behavior, I recommend working with a Functional Health Coach.

There are many simple habits that help promote PNS dominance. Being a qigong and taiji practitioner, one of my favorites methods is taking deep, intentional breaths.

  1. Breath in through your nose down to your belly button.
  2. Pause.
  3. Breath out through your nose or mouth.
  4. Try to make the inhalation and exhalation smooth and continual.
  5. Repeat at least 2 more times.

I recommend you take intentional deep breaths before and after stressful interactions, prior to eating, and when lying in bed.

Relax and Release

Movement is also important to counter the negative affects of chronic stress. I  recommend patients engage in a physical activity that includes the following:

  1. Stretching
  2. Extending the spine
  3. Working on proper joint alignment
  4. Functional movement
  5. Relaxing the mind
  6. Using intention to release tension
  7. Intentional breathing

There are many movement systems that provide these components, but I highly recommend internal martial arts system such as Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan).

Taijiquan not only provides the components above, but it also has remarkable healing abilities.

“Where there is pain, there is no free flow.
Where there is free flow, there is no pain.”

Regardless of your health challenges, keeping mental, physical, physiologic, and energetic pathways open will improve health.

If you are interested in this practice, please visit this page.