My father was a good man. The other day I realized that it’s been over 10 years since he passed. The parent-child relationship is I think fundamentally the one thing that shapes who we are, all the way through our lives. Just like trees need the wind to grow tall and strong.
Do as I say, not as I do. I’m sure many if not all children hear this sentiment at one point or another from their parents. I remember how it felt to recognize this coming from my father. It was the time when I learned the meaning of the word hypocrisy. As well intended as we are as parents, we tend to teach by example. I think it was the first time in my life where I had a visceral feeling of something not measuring up. I think it’s the same place we use to know if someone is lying or if what they’re saying is not measuring up somehow.
We usually refer to it as a gut feeling. And quite literally that is what it is. That feeling is brought to us by the vagus nerve, sending information from our “guts” to our brain. The vagus nerve also carries information from the heart to the brain.
The brain-heart connection
It is well known that the brain sends signals to the heart. In recent years researchers have found an even more important feedback loop to the brain from the heart. It’s not just the physical information, such as blood pressure and heart rate that is fed back to the heart. There is psychological information being fed back from the heart to the brain. When there is order and harmony to this psycho-physiological information it is called Coherence.
Coherence – the new gold standard of health and wellness
The measure of coherence is quickly becoming one of the most studied phenomena. It is the essence of most if not all wellness practices. And it helps us understand how to maintain and improve health rather than just avoid or diminish disease.
Research shows that when we activate this state of Coherence, our physiological systems function more efficiently, we experience greater emotional stability, and we also have increased mental clarity and improved cognitive function. Simply stated, our body and brain work better, we feel better, and we perform better.
A number of important changes occur during Coherence. The Automatic Operating System (AOS) synchronizes and there is a shift from fight/flight/freeze to recover/heal/flow. There is also increased entrainment—a number of different bodily systems synchronize to the rhythm generated by the heart. Finally, there is increased synchronization between the activity of the heart and brain.
Proven benefits of Coherence include:
- Lower stress levels
- A more optimized immune system
- Reduced anxiety, anger
- Raised energy and vitality
- Increased caring and compassion
Coherence is what we’re aiming for during your Neuro-Structural sessions at the Happy Spine. Apart from structural changes, we’re looking to help create the conditions for Coherence in your nervous and other body systems. You may feel calmer and more relaxed after a session but that’s not the goal, it’s a side-effect.
Having the feeling of Coherence in your body helps you to pay attention to the more nuanced and subtle signals in your environment so you don’t need for something to be in your face in order to have a wake up call. You also don’t accumulate so much tension throughout your day because you’re more aware of it as it accumulates and you can shift and disperse it as it comes. Rather than waiting for the day to hit you when you finally land on the couch, you’re able to be present with your body and the constant flow of information moment to moment.
This is why many people who have Neuro-Structural care tell us that they’re not only feeling better, but they’re better able to deal with stress. What triggered or overwhelmed them before, now they’re not having to manage and they can get on with bigger and better things.
In the next article, I’d like to explore Coherence further; how it applies to our lives now as social restrictions are slowly being lifted; and why Neuro-Structural chiropractic care is more important now than ever before.