Welcome to my blog page where I will be relaying information regularly about holistic treatments and their positive effect on the body.
I first wanted to share the importance of the Vagus nerve with you. Its an interesting subject that involves the nervous system which connects throughout the body. This is the body system that reflexologists 'tap into' when treating the body in a holistic way.
ACTIVATE YOUR VAGUS NERVE
The Vagus Nerve is the brain’s method of controlling the parasympathetic nervous system – the rest and digest system. It is not the only nerve controlling our ability to decrease stress, but it is by far the single most important nerve due to its far reaching effects. The word “vagus” means wanderer, as this nerve wanders throughout the body to many important organs and imparts signals from the brain regarding their level of function.
This nerve connects the brain to the gut (intestines and stomach), heart, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, kidney, ureter, spleen, lungs, sex organs (in females), neck (pharynx, larynx and esophagus), ears and the tongue. No other nerve in the body has such a broad and far reaching effect as the Vagus Nerve.
Vagus nerve stimulation has the potential to help those suffering from various health conditions, including but certainly not limited to anxiety disorders, heart disease, some forms of cancer, poor circulation, leaky gut syndrome, Alzheimer's, memory and mood disorders, migraine’s and headaches, fibromyalgia, obesity, tinnitus, addiction, autism and autoimmune conditions.
So how can we stimulate this nerve to ensure that this nerve is functioning optimally? Here are a couple of ways you can exercise and stimulate your vagus nerve:
Any acute cold exposure will increase vagus nerve stimulation. Studies have shown that when your body adjusts to cold, your fight or flight (sympathetic) system declines and your rest and digest (parasympathetic) system increases, which is mediated by the vagus nerve.
You can manually stimulate your vagus nerve by massaging several areas. A foot massage can stimulate vagus nerve activity, as can massaging your neck. A neck massage along the carotid sinus (the right side of your throat near where you check your pulse) can also stimulate the vagus nerve. So folks a very good reason to have regular reflexology treatments or massages that incorporate the neck and shoulders.
Mobile Massage Service May 2019
I am pleased to be able to add holistic massage and deep tissue massage to the holistic services I can now offer. I have recently taken and passed my Holistic Massage exam after completing a course with The School of Natural Therapies. After June I will be pleased to be able add deep tissue to my holistic massage routine to perform massage therapy on an even deeper level. There are many wonderful benefits of massage.
I have listed a few of them -
Improvements in the quality of sleep
Helps to eliminate toxins
Aids the digestive system,
Soothes anxiety and depression
Lowers the levels of stress hormones in the body
Reduces activation of pain receptors
Blocks the production of inflammatory cytokines which stop swelling and inflammation
Increases blood flow to muscle, connective tissue and lymph nodes
The list goes on and on!
I came across this article about anxiety and using reflexology to help sufferers relieve it.
Reflexology for Anxiety
Oct 26, 2011 by Nicola Jenkins
Reflexology for Anxiety
Everyone experiences anxiety in different ways. Some of the most common symptoms include:
Constant and obsessive worrying
Feeling overwhelmed and wanting to cry all the time
Obsessive and repetitive thoughts
Wildly fluctuating emotions
Difficulty concentrating, becoming easily distracted
Difficulty learning or remembering things
Being unable to relax
A loss of libido
Changes to appetite – including craving sweets, losing your appetite, increased nausea and/or vomiting, changes in weight
Anxiety develops when we are first faced with a stressful situation – moving house, a big event, redundancies, bereavement or something as simple as a caffeine overload. These feelings of anxiety are the body’s early warning system. Your body recognises that some form of danger is near, so you are kept alert in order to cope with what your body perceives as a potentially life-threatening event. In healthy individuals, the difficult situation is met, overcome and we move on. For some people, it isn’t so simple. When anxiety symptoms prevent you from coping with everyday life, then you may have developed an anxiety disorder.
Common Approaches to Severe Anxiety
When a patient is first diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, it is not always a given that they will immediately be prescribed anti-anxiety medication. Although anxiety medications exist, the research into anxiety suggests that these medications are generally not as effective as receiving treatment from amongst the talking therapies – particularly cognitive behavioural therapy, psychotherapy and counselling. Patients are often encouraged to look at psychotherapy first and/or the range of complementary and alternative treatments available to them that have a track record in reducing anxiety symptoms.
Why Reflexology for Anxiety?
Reflexology has that track record in anxiety management. A study carried out at the University of Canberra in 2000 indicated that reflexology was extremely effectiveness in relieving anxiety, nausea and pain in cancer patients. Other studies, carried out in Europe, show reflexology to be very useful in treating stress-related anxiety (and reducing staff sick days by 25% over 3 years), and managing both pain and anxiety during labour and childbirth (and reducing the length of time in all stages of labour in the process).
Reflexology is a great way of relaxing and learning to manage your stress levels and anxiety symptoms. As well as the profoundly relaxing experience of having a treatment from a professional reflexologist, you can also use hand reflexology in between sessions in order to manage your response to your anxiety symptoms yourself. One technique that many find useful is to develop the habit of working the solar plexus point on the hands from the moment you start to feel anxious. This point is easy to find (ask your reflexologist) and subtle to work – someone watching you is unlikely to notice what you are doing; it just looks like you have your hands folded over each other.
Specific Reflex Points to Focus on to Relieve Anxiety
Solar plexus – One of the most valuable reflex points to learn as a means of controlling anxiety symptoms. Working the solar plexus point will enhance any feelings of well being, can reduce the sensation of butterflies in your stomach, encourage you to breath slower and deeper and generally calm down all the physical indications of stress.
Head & brain reflexes – Working these can help to control any sense of being overwhelmed, and will encourage clear thinking and a more balanced approach to your problems. Working these areas will also help you to concentrate more effectively and to be less distracted when you are trying to learn or absorb something new.
Stomach – work the stomach reflex areas if your symptoms include nausea, ‘butterflies’ or changes in your appetite.
Small intestines & colon – These are worth concentrating on if you are also experiencing irritable bowel symptoms.
Adrenals – If you have been experiencing anxiety symptoms for some time, then it is likely that your adrenal reflex areas will be quite painful when worked. Please bear with this and get in the habit of working the area yourself a few times a day (hand reflexology points will be just as helpful if you can’t conveniently access your feet). Working the adrenal reflexes in this way can encourage your adrenal glands to adjust their production of the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol.
Pineal – The pineal gland is responsible for the sleep-wake cycle of the body. Work this reflex area if you are struggling with insomnia or other sleep-related symptoms.
Pituitary – The pituitary reflex is found close to the centre of the plantar surface of the big toe. The pituitary gland itself is one of the most important endocrine glands and is closely linked to the body’s stress response. Working this area will help reduce any anxiety symptoms as well as helping to adjust your body’s response to stress.
Traditional Chinese Medicine - TCM
Traditional Chinese Medicine believes in qi (chi) which translates as vital life force that makes up and binds all things in the universe together. There is believed to be two main branches of qi. There is the physical or nourishing portion of qi that makes up the air, water and food that we take in. The other branch of qi is more insubstantial. It is the vital fluids and the energy that flows through the body. It is the imbalances and interruptions of this vital force that is responsible for most human aliments whether physical, mental or emotional.
Yin and Yang
To truly understand qi it is important to grasp the concept of Yin-Yang. Yin is that portion of qi that is cold, passive, solid, heavy, descending, moist and dark; it is the physical or brute side of the universe. Yang is ethereal. It is nebulous, hot, active, dry, rising and aggressive.
It must be understood that yin and yang do not exist outside of each other, but rather, that they reside within each other and must be kept in proper balance.
Form (yin) needs a function (yang); they are interdependent. It is this balance that defines and creates good health and emotions.
Maintaining Balance of Qi
As with yin-yang, qi needs to balance in order to maintain good health. If there is an imbalance of qi, illness can arise, with varying symptoms according to the type of qi and whether there is a deficiency or excess of qi. Curing the imbalance of qi is usually the main work of the different healing modalities in Traditional Chinese Medicine, such as acupuncture and tui na. (Tui na is a hands-on body treatment that uses Chinese taoist principles in an effort to bring the eight principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) into balance)
In Chinese medicine, a qi deficiency can take many forms. It could be a lack of sleep, food shelter, clean water, fresh air or other physical things the body needs to function properly. It can also be a lack of sufficient mental stimulation, social interaction, and love.
Excess qi can be as detrimental as a qi deficiency if not worse. It can arise as a result of environmental toxins, like polluted air or water. It can also arise from excessive physical activity, overeating, stress, or strong negative emotions.
I am also extremely interested in Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Chinese concept of the flow of energies around the body and the relationship between our emotions and the organs in the body.
Work woes, relationship stress, leading forever busy lifestyles, we all have our moody moments, but if emotional turbulence takes up the better part of 24/7 it’s possibly time to take a deeper look. I am intrigued by the mind-body connection, and it is fascinating to learn more about the relationship between specific emotions and our internal organs. Sometimes our emotions feel like they’re all over the place. Each month that passes, you may feel something a little different. Maybe one month you’re moving from a place of fear or place of sadness, while another month you may be angry or just apathetic to your environment. Have you ever wondered why? Depending on what you’re experiencing in your daily life, one can be more prominent than the other; however, there is a deeply rooted reason why one emotion may be showing up more than another.
The health of your organs plays a big role in the expression of emotions! Think of it this way: Most alcoholics have a short temper and are angry. Anger is the main organ of the liver. For most alcoholics, their livers are taxed and are crying out for help.
Below we can dive in a bit more about each organ, their expressed emotions and what symptoms you may be dealing with. There are seven emotions that can be differentiated between in Chinese medicine. It is important to know that organs have strong relationships with one another, so if one is affected, the others are too.
Excitement/mania is the main emotion of the heart. When someone experiences highs that are too taxing, they burn out their nervous system. Symptoms of palpitations, insomnia, unclear thinking or excess risk taking may be the expression if someone is running manic. Mania is more common than people think, because most people consider the term emotional with someone who’s running sad or low. The Chinese way of thinking is that there is an imbalance of Qi (ChiMania on the outside just seems like this person is very happy and excited about their life and cant relax their mind or they may be just the type of person who can’t stop talking and falling off the deep end during conversation. Obviously, balance is everything; with the highs, you also want to experience calmness in life as well. Calmness will counter balance this and relax the heart.
The organ responsible for this emotion is the liver. Anger has many expressions: resentment is one, frustration is another and obviously rage is an extreme. Symptoms that may show up are, blurry vision, dizziness, headaches that are mainly on the top of the head, high blood pressure or pain in the ribs. The best way to balance out anger is to console it and understand it. This may cause sadness, however that is a great start, because you’re moving in the direction of anger reduction.
Fear is directly associated with the kidneys and the adrenals. It makes your energy drop and is very descending in nature. If the adrenals are weak, your body starts cooling and proper functions of processes like metabolizing become an issue. Proper digestion starts deteriorating. Issues with hearing can also be related to the kidneys. If fear is consuming you and your life focus is centered around fear, these are most likely the issues you’re dealing with. If you can turn this fear into a logic expression of sadness, that means your body is shifting and hopefully soon, that sadness with shift to a more neutral state.
Shock is paired with the gallbladder, and these emotions scatter your energy. When your energy is scattered and not centered, you feel symptoms of indecisiveness, confusion or a lack of courage. You may experience different muscle/tendon issues as well. Protecting yourself from scattered energy is very beneficial. The issue with shock is that it usually creates a more lasting effect, so understanding what caused the shock and bringing more logic to the issue can relax the body. Practicing being in the moment through mindful activities like meditation is great too!
Grief or sadness corresponds with the lungs. The emotion of sadness is very depleting to the body over a long period of time. It weakens the nervous system, while reducing energy in the body as well. Symptoms associated with a lung issue are excessive crying, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, asthma, frequent colds, skin problems like psoriasis and eczema and also circulation issues. In Chinese medicine the lungs are said to control the pores of the skin, so it is important to boost and protect the protection layer of the body.
Worry / Pensiveness
Worry is controlled by the spleen, and the spleen in Chinese medicine controls the energy of the body. The Chinese believe that when the spleen is too taxed, energy becomes stuck. Symptoms of spleen issues are fatigue, memory issues, poor appetite, bloating, weight loss, paleness, poor hair, nails and skin. Eating properly and frequently is very important when the spleen is affected, it’s important to give the body nourishment for the reduction of worrying.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Understanding what’s going on internally and what happens to the body and nervous system is very important in the long run. Help your body reboot with self-care rituals like regular reflexology treatments, massage, acupuncture or meditation.