For our July newsletter, I want to share with you information that reinforces the importance of understanding the nervous system. I’m pretty sure you heard or studied about this complex system, but a lot more than you can imagine, it has a direct impact on how we perceive and react to the world around us, being a big ally in the search for quality of life.
– Francisco Kaiut
UNDERSTANDING THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
The human nervous system carries stimuli from sensory receptors to the brain and spinal cord and, in the opposite way, takes stimuli back to all parts of the body. It is a true communication network of the body, made up of several organs and nerve endings that interact with each other and react to internal stimuli from the body and external stimuli from the environment.
The autonomic nervous system (ANS) it’s one of the components of the nervous system that controls most of the visceral functions of the organism.
The autonomic signals are transmitted to the organs of the body through two divisions: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. Both control the same parts of the body and the same general functions, but with opposite effects.
The sympathetic system takes control in stressful situations or when there’s a potential threat, resulting in a sympathetic discharge throughout the body. With that, the functioning of several internal organs goes into a state of readiness. This sympathetic activation process is known as a “fight or flight” response. The parasympathetic system mediates our energy consumption and savings, that is, it helps us go from a state of alert to a state of calm; being responsible for controlling the spontaneous actions in our body.
A MODERN DISEASE THAT NEEDS TO BE FIGHTED
We live in a dynamic environment, where everyday life has many impacts: physical, chemical, or emotional. That makes our muscles tense for hours, without being able to “let down” their guard, we don’t have a good night of sleep and we condition ourselves a lot until we lose our quality of life… It’s at this moment that sympathicotonia appears.
“The sympathicotonia is a modern disease, being a direct consequence of our stressful lifestyle. Your main characteristic is the individual starting to operate life stuck in a reactive and defensive operating model, which inhibits cell digestion and regeneration functions.”
– Francisco Kaiut
“The term sympathicotonia is the state in which the sympathetic system dominates the general function of the body’s organs, that means that our involuntary nervous system is in permanent alert state as if it had to attack, run or be paralyzed,” explains Moacir Faria in Human physiology
This alert state is provoked by a pituitary gland, also known as hypophysis, which is located at the base of the brain.
“It’s in this location, that all outside stimuli (smell, sound, images, etc) are mixed to the information that comes within (what a specific smell reminds us, if we have any pain, etc), our memories in general. All this mixes in the pituitary gland, an area where all the associated data to the stimuli are stored in the memory, or limbic cortex (emotional brain)” according to studies by physiotherapist Trinidad Florindo, for the magazine of Neuropsychology.
Once we have all the information about certain stimuli, our brain responds automatically according to what the pituitary gland finds necessary to make us react and survive in dangerous situations.
Therefore, if we are in face of a fight or flight situation, we activate the sympathetic nervous system. On the other hand, the parasympathetic nervous system works to make the organism return to a state of serenity, decreasing the heart rate, smoothing the respiratory rhythm, entering into a restful sleep, etc.
THE SEARCH FOR THE MIND AND BODY BALANCE
Scientific studies already prove the consistent practice of yoga as an alternative complementary therapy in the treatment of various disorders, which are directly linked to the nervous system. In the Kaiut method, the safe joint stimuli are directly linked to the decrease of a sympathetic and reactive state, reassuring the mind and the body. All of this slows down the internal rhythms and allows for a state of presence.
The state of meditation in the practice of yoga isn’t just a momentary sensation of comfort and calmness. This meditative state is linked to chemical discharges, provided by the parasympathetic system, which generate real quality of life.
Therefore, it’s important to build a yoga practice more orientated, assimilating which parts of our nervous system are activated during and after the practice. From this awareness of the functioning of the body, it’s possible to thread a route for a well-being state, inside out.
Always practice with inspiration,
– Francisco Kaiut