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  • Kimberly Burnham, PhD (Integrative Medicine)

Are You Knocking Yourself Out?

Knight Fighting Dragon

Do you have enough oxygen in your lungs, resources in your life and positive impact on the world?

Your body has several ways in which things can get in—inside the skin. We can breathe in a big lung full of air during yoga practice or perhaps our breath will come in sobs, shallow full of emotions. We may gasp in fear or pleasure. We may cough and choke on foul air or inhale deeply the fresh mountain air near a waterfall.

However we breathe, we must all continue until we die. We have to connect through the air with our environment. We are all the same in that way. We may breath in different ways, in different places, certainly there is variability in the air quality but we all breathe in the air around us or succumb to a coma of confusion.

One way to clear up confusion in your body, in your relationships or on your journey is to ensure there is enough oxygen driving consciousness and life. If you hold your breath long enough through anger or being underwater, eventually you will lose consciousness. This is the process in which the autonomic nervous system, the part of the nervous system responsible for balance, protection from injury or damage, heart and lung function, and many more automatic activities in the body, says, “Right now, your conscious mind cannot be trusted to make good choices, so I am going to knock you out for a time to see if I can get things back to normal.”

Lack of oxygen causes a loss in consciousness which is one of the reasons breathing meditations, relaxation exercises, yoga, walking, and anything that improves oxygen to the brain and body improves memory, focus, and your ability to think clearly.

The autonomic nervous system regulates functions in the body which need to be balanced, in order for the individual to thrive and function in their environment. Without the moderating effects of the autonomic nervous system, blood pressure falls too low or rises too high or body temperature fluctuates to a dangerous degree. If many functional levels swing too greatly, dysfunction and death result.

The range between low blood pressure and high blood pressure is small. Average diastolic blood pressure is 80 psi. In high blood pressure, the diastolic reading is anything over 90 psi and in low blood pressure anything below 70 psi. That is a difference on only 20 psi. The diastolic pressure can fluctuate less than 10 percent in either direction before function is significantly affected.

The average human body temperature is 97.5 degrees to 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Fluctuations above or below this can result in serious damage to the nervous system and can indicate an autonomic nervous system problem. Your temperature can fluctuate about 2 percent in either direction before function is impaired.

There are many solutions to a body, a heart or lungs out of balance. Some people seek out acupuncture treatments of the heart and lung meridians to balance and correct respiratory, cardiovascular and other autonomic nervous system issues. You can also do self-acupressure on the lung and heart meridians which are easily accessible along the arms.

Another way of working with the autonomic nervous system is using hand-on techniques like Craniosacral therapy or the Templates techniques from Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT). Practitioners use these Templates with various reflex point, similar to acupuncture points or trigger points to normalize the ability of the autonomic nervous system to maintain balance in the body and keep movement towards the extremes to a minimum.

At the third free video goes into greater depth on Templates related to muscle function and how you can support your body’s healing.

The Template technique itself is the use of microsecond resistance to a palpable motility, like a heartbeat, thought to be reflective of the autonomic nervous system, either sympathetic [fight or flight] or parasympathetic [rest and digest] in particular places for particular functions. Mobility Templates, for example normalizes the autonomic nervous system’s affect on biomechanics or how your muscles and joints move. The motilities are located near and reflective of the thoracic spine for the sympathetic system and in the occipital area of the back of the head [cranial nerve area] and at the sacrum [base of the spine] for the parasympathetic nervous system. Quietly touch these areas on yourself of someone else and see if you can feel a pulsing or a rhythm. Connect with these areas to balance the nervous system.

Consider the effect of hypermobility [too much movement] and hypomobility [too little movement] of a joint. How much can the range of motion of the shoulder girdle be restricted before activities of daily living is compromised? How hypermobile can the joint become before control of arm movement is lost? This theory plus the effectiveness of the Mobility Templates technique indicates that the autonomic nervous system plays a substantial role in biomechanical function by balancing the ability to move with the ability to control that movement. There is a consciousness behind how actively we seek out what we want balanced with how thoughtfully we consider what we want.

Consider what factors in a muscle need to be maintained within narrow parameters? The amount of oxygenation of the muscle tissue, the release and reabsorbtion of calcium, atrophy [muscle wasting] and hypertrophy [muscle tumors] are just a few variables which cannot fluctuate too much before there is pain or a decrease in function.

Our autonomic nervous system maintains our ability to do what we desire to do in our environment. If you go outside on a cold day, the autonomic nervous system facilitates changes in blood flow, muscle contraction and more, in order to maintain body temperature. If you go hiking in the mountains or work out at the gym, the autonomic nervous system causes changes in blood vessels, respiration rate, heart rate, sweating and more to keep the amount of oxygen and blood flow to the muscles within appropriate levels. The autonomic nervous system continues to adjust to changes after you stop working out.

Consciousness is another aspect influenced by the autonomic nervous system. Breathing is something over which there is both voluntary control and autonomic control. If you voluntarily hold your breath or if you voluntarily hyperventilate, eventually you will lose consciousness. Once you lose consciousness your autonomic nervous system takes over and restores appropriate breathing, if possible. If you are under water or have something blocking your throat, the autonomic nervous system cannot restore norms and function stops.

How many of us are exerting voluntary control over our activities or are placing ourselves in an environment such that the autonomic nervous system cannot restore appropriate values? How do these choices affect our consciousness?

When our conscious control is inappropriate to our surviving and thriving in our environment, we lose consciousness or some aspect of consciousness so that the autonomic nervous system can take over the helm, unimpeded by our conscious mind. Every voluntary choice we make whether fully conscious or not, affects our ability to see the choices we have and to live our lives fully conscious.

Do something consciously today.

About the Author

Kimberly Burnham, PhD

Kimberly Burnham is the author of several transformation books, including Our Fractal Nature, A Journey of Self-Discovery and Connection as well as a chapter, “The Eyes Observing Your World“, in Pebbles in the Pond: Transforming the World One Person at a Time which tells a remarkable story of vision recovery offering hope for anyone with a potentially blinding condition, migraines, or immune dysfunction. She uses her PhD in Integrative Medicine and 20 years of alternative health-care experience as she teaches or consults with individual clients at home in West Hartford, CT and in physical therapy and chiropractic clinics around the world. Visit her online.

#anxiety #dealingwithstress

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