Generally speaking, your nervous system can be in overdrive just from the demands of your busy life and many responsibilities. Then, when an illness or injury occurs, your nervous system is stressed even further. These circumstances are less than ideal for optimal healing.
A nervous system in overdrive causes anxiety, insomnia, poor digestion, muscles tense up, shallow breath depriving cells of much-needed oxygen. Blood pressure and heart rate increase as the body prepares itself for fight or flight. Stress hormones, adrenaline, cortisol, and noradrenaline are released into the blood system. Also, the brain-gut relationship stress triggers pain and bloating in the digestive tract, causing a foggy mind and lower mood. Stress weakens the immune system and increases blood sugar.
Imagine trying to recover from an illness or injury under these conditions? At a time like that, what the body really needs is time to rest and digest.
There are at least six ingredients to optimal healing.
You can’t heal when your nervous system is in overdrive.
Recovering from illness or injury requires a lot from our bodies and our minds. Quite often, we have expectations for our bodies to heal without having a plan on how to support that process. Given the myriad of symptoms caused by chronic stress and the additional stress of an injury or illness, it is a miracle that our bodies can recover!
So what ingredients are necessary to create an optimal healing environment for your body?
Six ingredients to optimal healing:
1. A Support System of Family and Friends; Ask for Help
You cannot underestimate how important it is to make sure you have a support system in place. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may need someone to bring in fresh food, prepare healthy things to eat, help you take a bath, or simply provide you with good company. You need the support of others for optimal healing. This will keep you focused on getting well.
2. A Daily Breathing and Relaxation Practice
A guided breathing and relaxation practice will soothe your overactive nervous system and promote deep healing in your body. As the mind is soothed and the nervous system relaxes, the immune system is improved, supporting the environment for healing. Guided breathing and meditation practices help to reduce anxiety experienced at a time when you are worrying about your health.
3. A Healthy Whole Food, Real Food Diet
Particularly during illness or injury, it is important to give your body the essential nutrients it needs to heal effectively. Choose wholesome, fresh, and nutrient-rich foods, rich in the vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals – the building blocks of tissue repair and bone growth. This will keep your energy high, your blood sugar balanced, and your immune system strong.
4. A Daily Gentle Somatic Movement Practice that Will Keep Your Muscles Moving Well
The brain and body are so intelligent that they go into “protection mode” when you are ill or injured. Some muscles can “turn off” like your quads, for example, when you suffer a knee injury. The body does this to let you know that you need to take it easy and rest. As your healing progresses, you can then begin to establish a very small Arch and Flatten practice to release tension and increase blood flow. This is especially important if you must spend a lot of time in bed resting. Keeping the muscles of the trunk moving and circulation to the spine will support a quicker recovery.
5. A Good Night’s Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is imperative. When you are sleeping, your body works hard to restore and repair, and the brain can attend to releasing hormones that support tissue growth and repair. Your immune system works while you are sleeping to effectively fight harmful substances and properly protect the body. Also, when you sleep, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard so that your muscles can relax, which supports the reduction of inflammation.
6. Allowing Time for Reflection and Plenty of Time for Healing to Occur
Every soma heals at its own pace. It is important to practice Interoception, sensing, feeling, and assessing your current state. Does your body need rest, food, movement? Is your healing progressing well, or is there something else you could be doing to support your recovery. Have you truly given your body enough time to heal well?
It is important that you do not rush back to work, to the obligations of your life before you are ready to do so.
Health is wealth.
When you recover well and allow enough time for the healing process to be complete, you avoid a relapse of unexplained pain or prolonged discomfort.
About the Author: Carrie and Nicole are certified IAYT SomaYoga Therapists and Somatics Educators who have specialized in working with clients in pain for well over 10 years. Their mission is to teach you revolutionary techniques to tap into your body’s innate intelligence and its ability to heal.
You could also call them “pain geeks” because they are extremely passionate and inquisitive about all things related to what causes people pain. To understand the true mind-body connection and to reset the nervous system in powerful and simple ways.
They specialize in skillfully combining the tools of Somatics, SomaYoga, Anatomy, Functional Movement Training, Mind Study and Yogic Philosophy to bring about more joy and freedom in the lives of those they work with. They teach to professionals and individuals sharing their Method.