Do you remember back in 2012, when the Mayan calendar was predicting the end of the world? I remember reading a book about it where the author travelled around the world interviewing various experts in geology and astrophysics to name a few, researching all the possible ways that life on earth could cease to exist. After a very interesting and scary read, the author concluded that as far as anyone knows, if life on Earth will cease to exist, however it does, there’s nothing we can do about it. What we can do is make the best of the time we have (which no one can easily determine).
This conclusion would resonate with Victor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist and holocaust survivor. One of his main teachings through his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” was that the only thing anyone can control is their own response to whatever happens in life.
One of the main contributors of Neuro-Structural Shift is the creation of tension in the body and much of this tension comes from non-physical sources. Sources such as when what happens in our lives does not match with our expectations. Or when we try and control our environment to suit our level of physical or psychological comfort.
In these examples, when our expectations are not met or when we try and control our environment, our stress response fires and our sympathetic nervous system gets activated creating tension in the body. If this tension continues long enough, it starts to get painful. Just like if you pull an elastic long and far enough, it too will snap. This is akin to when the disc in your low back “slips” or when you reach for something and the muscles of your shoulder seize up. Most practitioners work in the context of “let’s find the cause of the pain” and this leads them to finding a torn meniscus or a ruptured disc. Of course there are physical contributors to this as well but the mental and emotional aspects can not be overstated.
With Neuro-Structural Care, we address the physical imbalances as well as focusing on the automatic operating system. The AOS is that part of our nervous system that includes the sympathetic stress response. It is called an operating system because it is running all the time in the background, just like the software in our phones. When the AOS becomes chronically imbalanced, our bodies have a much harder time finding balance and they are much slower to heal.
We’re able to measure the AOS in patients and we’re able to track how the AOS is becoming balanced again through Neuro-Structural Care. One of the very helpful complimentary recommendations we give is a series of exercises called SRI or Somato-Respiratory Integration exercises. These exercises integrate breathing, sound, touch, movement and focus in order to stimulate different areas of the brain simultaneously. This Integration helps to balance the AOS especially over time.
As a result, patients report that after the initial phase of Neuro-Structural Care is complete, not only are they feeling better, but they’re able to handle stress better. This is because their AOS is more balanced and so when expectations aren’t met, the nervous system doesn’t get triggered as much. Patients also report more internal ease with not feeling the need to control their environment as much.
I suppose it can be said that a more Zen-like approach to life is just what the doctor ordered. Less stress = less tension.