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10 Techniques to Balance Autonomic Function

Everyone knows that the brain controls the functions of the body. One major extension of the brain is the autonomic nervous system (ANS), pictured below.

The ANS has two branches: sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic is the “fight or flight” system. It primes us to run from a tiger or protect our family. The parasympathetic is the “rest and digest” system.

The balance between the two parts of the ANS is critical to health. Heart attacks, atrial fibrillation, hypertension and just about everything else is dependent on a normally functioning ANS.

Techniques to balance the ANS are very important in my practice. If you follow these suggestions, you are sure to get tremendous benefits, just like our patients do.

1. Sing and hum

2. Chew gum- we suggest this brand.

3. Abdominal massage- Either you or another person, start in the right lower quadrant of your abdomen and move to the right upper quadrant then to the left upper and then left lower. Continue that pattern.

4. Nap

5. Chiropractic- Perfect to balance the brain/body connection.

6. Massage, yoga, meditation, tai chi, have sex

7. Laugh- listen/watch/read comedy or jokes. Our favorite is Impractical Jokers.

8. Deep breathing- In for 5 seconds, out for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds. Another alternative is alternate nostril breathing. Block one nostril with same side index finger. Breathe in through the open nostril. Block the nostril you inhaled in and breathe out through the opposite nostril. Inhale through the second nostril, block it, and breath out through nostril 1. This represents 1 cycle. Do 10 cycles up to 3x per day. See video.

9. Gargle- quality water 3x per day.

10. Cold water face plunge- this is a bonus for the expert. Add ice to bucket or sink. Build up to 15 seconds in the ice bath.

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