Our autonomic nervous system is composed of the Sympathetic nervous system(“Fight or Flight”) and the Parasympathetic nervous system (“Relax and Digest)”. Our nervous system enables our bodies to react to continuous changes in both our internal and external environments. The autonomic (or ‘automatic’) nervous system is responsible for many functions that you don’t have to think about to control. This system innervates our involuntary smooth muscle, heart muscle and glands which help regulate things like our heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, our sweating & release of digestive enzymes. These two systems work together & it’s important we have a balance between the two.
While things like stress, pain or lack of sleep stimulate the Sympathetic system, enhancing our Parasympathetic nervous system can be a powerful way to reduce stress, tension & anxiety allowing our body to recharge and recalibrate. Right now many people are experiencing far too much stress through mental health issues (fear, anxiety, depression etc) & physical health problems (sedentary lifestyle, pain, injury etc) so they’re constantly in “fight or flight” mode which can contribute to some of the ailments we help people with at Ace Sports Clinic Malvern such as back pain, shoulder pain and headaches. If we can help our body enter a state of relaxation, we will enhance recovery from pain and injury.
Simple tips to enhance your Parasympathetic nervous system to promote stillness in your body and enhance healing:
1. Deep Breathing exercises – Slow, deep breathes can help slow down your heart rate while enhancing oxygenation allowing you to relax & calm down. Try to breathe in deeply and slowly, allowing your belly and ribs to expand. You can breathe in counting 1,2,3,4,5 and then out 5,4,3,2,1. As you breathe out, relax, and let the air gently fall out of your lungs.
2. Meditation – Meditation has been shown to bring a sense of calm and tranquility to our body. Meditation can help decrease our reactivity to stress we can’t control. It can also enhance our mental clarity and reduce lactic acid in our muscles, promoting healing. Start with 1-2 minutes and with practice you can build up to 20 mins per day.
3. Spending time in nature – can improve your mood, enhance your sleep and improve your Vitamin D levels. Start with 30 mins per day and include something you love like walking, hiking or cycling.
4. Gentle exercises like Yoga can improve your balance, flexibility & strengthen your total body health. Starting your day with 10-15 mins of Yoga will warm your body up and energize you for the day.
5. Visualization – Focus on positive thoughts & set your intentions. Having a positive mindset, being self-assured and having a clear plan can create greater confidence & help achieve your health & performance goals
6. Massage – Get a relaxing back & shoulder massage with one of our Remedial Massage Therapists in Malvern to remove knots & promote total body relaxation. Remedial massage therapy can help your circulatory & lymphatic systems making you more able to fight off infection.
7. Osteopathy – can help reduce pain & tight muscles through the use of gentle, manual therapy techniques. Our Ace Malvern Osteopaths can also help headaches & improve digestion while restoring your bodies ability to move effortlessly. Ace Sports Clinic Malvern Osteopaths recognize the interconnectivity of your body & mind & can accurately assess and positively influence your nervous system.
8. Sleep – Ensure you get enough Sleep (7 hours +). Sleep is still one of the most potent recovery tools and essential for your overall health and wellbeing. Sleep is the most powerful way to enhance your immune system and improve your brain functions like learning and memory. Good quality sleep helps repair cells and reduce inflammation and is important for long term cardiovascular health.
9. Gratitude – Give Thanks and Be Grateful using a daily Journal. Gratitude is associated consistently with greater happiness and psychological well being. Being grateful helps reduce pain and allows you to make better choices around your health promoting behaviours like food choices, relationships & sleep.
10. Cold Showers – can stimulate the main parasympathetic nerve – the Vagus nerve. As little as 30 seconds of cold can also boost your immunity, reduce inflammation, improve your alertness & metabolism.
Creating good habits can positively impact your health & wellness, which is what we are about at Ace Sports Clinic Malvern. Promoting optimal healing and recovery through balancing out your autonomic nervous system using the above mentioned strategies will enhance your vitality and physical and mental fitness.
What can you start today to improve your health?
Contact our Ace Certified Practitioners who can help restore your body to optimal health so you can enjoy your best quality of life. Remember, small actions
done consistently over time lead to massive results. Start today, your body will thank you.
Live Well. Keep Playing with Ace Sports Clinic Malvern
Ace Sports Clinic Malvern have a team of health experts that work together to achieve better health for you. We have delivered results for our clients across the world and will tailor a plan for you to ensure you fully recover from pain and injury.
By Dr Luke Fuller – Osteopath & Physiotherapist