We are each equipped with a high-performing immune system, miraculously designed to heal our body, and protect us from disease. When we pay attention to key elements such as nutrition, fostering low-stress lifestyles and keeping our fascia hydrated and healthy with regular exercise, movement and bodywork, we are creating an environment that supports our immune system, which in turn promotes more health and wellbeing.
Stress is our body responding to everyday occurrences, demands and threats that are exerted upon us. This does not necessarily have to be a negative experience. Stressful situations can be an opportunity that will lead us to a better outcome. Stress is key for our survival, but too much stress can be detrimental.
“Too much stress” occurs when the demands on our body exceed the body’s ability to deal with them. This state may occur due to a single event, such as a massive car accident, and/or insidiously over time due to a collection of life events, creating “chronic stress.” Either way, when the body cannot deal with this overload of stress, our central nervous system is over-stimulated, which can contribute to the compromising of our immune system. This can cause or exacerbate many serious health problems and disorders.
Craniosacral therapy is one way to optimize our immune system and create balance within our body, thus reducing the negative effects of stress.
The Nervous System in Balance
Our central nervous system (CNS) is an intricate structure of nerve tissues comprised of the brain and spinal cord. Together, these control the activities of our body.
Our autonomic nervous system (ANS) is a component of our CNS that controls the body’s vital functions and works to maintain a steady internal state, creating optimal conditions for health, wellbeing and immunity. The ANS has two divisions: the sympathetic (known as fight/flight/freeze) that prepares us for stressful or emergency situations, and the parasympathetic (known as rest/relax/renew), that conserves and restores energy and slows us down.
When these two divisions are functioning optimally, they are continually working together to create balance and harmony for all our body systems. When we are “stressed,” our bodies respond, producing the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. When the threat is over, the body rests and recuperates and these hormone levels drop. This is a normal and healthy response.
The Nervous System “Out of Whack”
Chronic stress occurs when we experience stressors over a prolonged period of time. This can result in a long-term drain and wear-and-tear on the body. The biggest problem is not what chronic stress does to the nervous system, but what continuous activation of the nervous system does to other body systems. Continuous activation of these systems by an overactive nervous system can lead to (to name a few) muscle spasm and soreness, headaches and migraines, chronic pain, rapid breathing, increased heart rate and blood pressure, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion and mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Chronic stress reduces immunity, which can lead to more susceptibility to illness and disease.
Fascia and the Immune System
Not only does chronic activation of the central nervous system by chronic stress affect all body systems, it also adds extra tension to our fascial and connective tissue system.
All of our body’s structures—for example bone, cartilage, muscle, organs, vessels and nerves—are surrounded, separated and supported by our connective tissue (fascia). When high levels of tension over prolonged periods of time are introduced into the fascial network, it can become dehydrated, thickened and restricted and therefore have less “slide and glide” mobility. As this network surrounds every aspect of our anatomy, when its mobility and ability to let tissues slide and glide over one another is compromised, this interferes with optimal fluid exchange, which ultimately affects how all our systems function.
Fascial restrictions can lead to our systems not functioning optimally.
Our immune system consists of multiple tissues and organs, all of which are surrounded by connective tissue/fascia. When this network becomes a tightened web the structures within it are not able to function properly. Craniosacral therapy can facilitate the correction of fascial restrictions and encourage normal tone and movement, thus creating an environment that can more optimally support our immune response.
To see a range of stress-related health concerns that can be addressed through Craniosacral Therapy, click here.
Stress and Immunityshannonskeels@msn.com2020-07-14T11:19:29-07:00