Discover the Healing Secrets of Your Nervous System

In today's fast-paced world, many find themselves with chronic health issues and physicians are often unable to pinpoint the underlying cause.

What if you discovered that the culprit is likely your nervous system?

Given our present-day demands, most of us live under chronic stress, which wreaks havoc on our nervous system. The nervous system is responsible for controlling many aspects of our health including the immune system, digestion, inflammation, organ functioning, adrenals, and many more.

The result of a stressed nervous system can range from insomnia, muscle pain, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and numerous illnesses. However, rarely is it suggested that to heal any of these we must first reset and heal our nervous system.

Causes of nervous system dysregulation (NSD) in everyday life.

Reality TV, violent/scary movies and video games: If you think engaging with these types of programs doesn’t affect you, think again. Studies (in college students) found that watching even brief periods of violence on TV caused increased anxiety.  

When we watch stressful events, our mirror neurons engage, triggering the fight-flight response, which results in shallow breathing, increased blood pressure and heartrate. Interestingly, many are addicted to the adrenaline rush they get when watching violence at the expense of their health.

Cultural conditioning: The cultural paradigm in North America is that in order to be valuable, you must work hard and learn to carry enormous amounts of stress while climbing the ladder of success. Can you believe that the expression “work hard, play hard” can be traced back to 1827?!  And in the 1700’s Benjamin Franklin declared, “There are no gains without pains.”  If this is the belief you’ve been living by, it’s possible you have an NSD problem without even realizing it.

Aggressive, fast, or loud music: While soothing music can reduce stress and calm the nervous system, the opposite is true of aggressive music.  Furthermore, it can cause ongoing emotional reactivity long after the sound has stopped, thus creating ongoing NSD that instructs your body to secrete excessive stress hormones.

Uncomfortable clothes: Most of us have experienced how uncomfortable clothes can cause us to feel agitated, but did you know that tight or restrictive clothing can actually irritate your nervous system? Tight clothing (especially bras and waistbands) can trigger dysautonomia symptoms. Wearing lose soft fabrics helps to give your nervous system a rest — which may be why so many people like to relax in comfy pjs.

Excess clutter: Unconsciously, a messy space can lead to overwhelm and stress you without you even realizing its source. It acts as a reminder to your nervous system that ‘things are out of control, you had better send out those stress hormones.’

Social media: The research is clear that overuse of social media “doom-scrolling” harms the body and the brain. Taking a break from the constant stimulation of photographs, loud videos, and too many opinions can be one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself.  

Toxic or negative relationships: All relationships have ups and downs, but those which are predominantly toxic or negative keep your nervous system in high alert; and if you’ve been in the relationship for awhile, you might not even realize what’s happening to your body.

Interactions that cause you to feel emotionally or physically unsafe (criticisms, put-downs, doomsday predictions, and thoughtlessness or jealousy) can take a toll on your health. Seek out relationships that bring you joy, as research shows that laughter can increase parasympathetic activity.

Lack of nature: It’s no secret that nature calms down the nervous system and generally provides a sense of safety and calm. When you seclude yourself by staying at home, at work and the shopping malls, you deplete our body of its natural sun, air, earth nourishment. Making it a point to be in nature every day may possibly prevent you from suffering with serious illnesses later on.

Societal division: With all that is going on in the USA and around the world, division between political parties continues to increase hate and fear.  If you can, try to stay neutral, consider all points of view, and don’t engage in disputes or hate-talk about the wrong doings of the other party.

Chronic loneliness: For decades, stress was deemed the number one cause of death, but now loneliness has taken the lead. This might be because loneliness not only leads to stress, but causes the nervous system to go into dysregulation leading to inflammation throughout the body.

How nervous system dysregulation affects the body.

Nervous system dysregulation causes your body to secrete massive amounts of stress hormones, mainly cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine that create chronic inflammation in the body. Inflammation can break down the barrier of your digestive tract, allowing toxic metabolites to slip through the intestinal lining.

To make matters worse, these metabolites that are produced by your gut bacteria have free reign over the body, traveling to the central nervous system where they cause neuroinflammation. Neuroinflammation is a typical inflammatory response of the brain and is closely associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Giving your body a rest from inflammation through a targeted “gut reset” and healthy bacteria can be exactly what your nervous system needs. Probiotics fight against inflammation by helping to heal the gut lining and allowing a healthy immune response.

A dysregulated nervous system also can lead to sinus problems, fatigue, dizziness, anxiety, chronic aches and pains, weight gain, insomnia, lack of motivation, autoimmune diseases, and skin problems.  All due to inflammation permeating the body because the nervous system is screaming.  Needless to say, the brain does not escape this attack, and symptoms include problems concentrating, memory issues, foggy brain, a restriction of problem-solving abilities, depression, emotional dysregulation.  As a matter of fact, encephalitis (inflammation in the brain), can lead to problems such as vision loss, weakness, heart problems, and even paralysis.

Who knew that a dysregulated nervous system leads to inflammation that, in turn, leads to such serious conditions.  
Many researchers and progressive health care providers would insist that inflammation caused by a dysregulated nervous system is at the source of all diseases.

When our nervous system is malfunctioning and secreting excessive cortisol, our muscles tense up often creating chronic pain. Often times imaging scans cannot detect the exact problem, so the pain is often treated with narcotics.

A much easier solution to pain medication would be to learn how to reset and regulate our nervous system.

How to rewire, regulate, and heal your nervous system

Vagal nerve control – when your body is in fight-or-flight response and we become hyper-focused on survival, stimulating the vagus nerve can bring your body back into homeostasis. This can be done by singing, chanting, deep breathing, foot massage, cold water face immersion, tapping different parts of the chest, and connecting with others. Dr. Stephen Porges is an expert in this area and offers additional techniques related to his developed polyvagal theory.  

Mindfulness practices – mindfulness practices have repeatedly demonstrated the benefits of regulating the nervous system by staying present in the moment, non-judgment of self and others, slowing down, and paying attention to your sensations while you are in nature.

Energy movement – to keep your energy from becoming stagnated, move your body and get regular exercise which instructs the nervous system that all is well.  Yoga, qi gong, dancing, walking, and running are healthy and relatively convenient activities. For more advanced energy techniques, take a look at Donna Eden’s work which involves engaging the body’s meridians, chakras and other energy systems.

Raising consciousness – changing core beliefs – Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) has clearly demonstrated that our thoughts affect both our immune and nervous system.  Learning to be aware of and change core beliefs has a profound effect on the body and the mind. Dr. Joe Dispenza’s researcher and author of  Becoming Supernatural: How Common People Are Doing the Uncommon speaks to the power of using your mind to rewire your neural pathways, heal your body, and experience greater fulfillment and happiness.

Spinal flow – this technique is based on the wave of spinal fluid that is designed to ripple through the body. Yet when it gets energetically stuck, it causes dysregulation in the nervous system and can keep you in a chronic state of feeling ill at ease due to the associated inflammation. Spinal Flow Technique uses the 7 gateways of the spine and 33 access points to release blockages and connect the human body back into regulation.

DOWNLOAD OUR 7 GATEWAYS SPINAL FLOW CHART

In this video, Dr. Nickerson speaks with Melissa Segreto, founder of Evolve Nervous System Healing and Certified Integrative Mental Health Coach from Ontario, Canada. She uses the Spinal Flow Technique to provide client healing for many illnesses and merges this technique with her Conscious Healing methods she developed for her personal healing. Her Conscious Healing course is available through Nickerson Institute.

RESOURCES:

Vagal Nerve Control: About Stephen | Polyvagal Institute

Donna Eden's Energy Medicine Techniques

Spinal Flow Technique

Blog Post written by:

Dr. Nickerson's professional experience as a psychologist and personal passion for developing the mind-body-spirit connection have fueled her success and devotion to training individuals and organizations to foster whole wellness.

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