The world has been kind of crazy, hasn’t it? Especially as of late. As I write this, I am currently on a plane coming home for a very busy and beautiful weekend with my family. Life is in full swing again, yet the world is still unsettled and unrecovered from an insane two years. From what I can see, we are back in the hustle and bustle of crazy, busyness, travel, and all the things. I thought it was an appropriate time to chat about stress regulation and how it affects our bodies.
I want to nerd out a little bit on the vagus nerve, and how Chiropractic care is directly related to your body’s ability to adapt to stress. My goal is to not be too neurologically boring, but to hopefully shed light on how we can be better in supporting our bodies ability to regulate stress.
One of my favorite Instagram accounts I follow is the.holistic.psychologist, you have probably have heard of her! Last week she made an incredible post on Vagal Tone, talking about how our parasympathetic nervous system is directly impacted by the function of our vagus nerve. As Chiropractors, this is our bread and butter! We aren’t just doctors of the bones, we are really doctors of the nervous system.
We can talk about our body from a lens of pure anatomy, and understand that our vagus nerve simply controls most of our autonomic system. So most things you don’t have to think about that your body does for you, that’s the vagus nerve doing work. What isn’t talked about is vagal TONE. Our spinal cord, our nerves, and most tissues in our body have a less obvious component called tone. The tonicity of the tissues can accumulate stress over time, but this is usually a subtle process. Subtle meaning that we don’t exactly feel the effects of this until dysfunction has been in the making for a while.
Why tone matters so much is because it begins to dictate the environment of our cells, which ultimately is what builds the foundation of how our body expresses health. The healthier your cellular environment, the better your body can express health, which really leads to a healthier you.
So how do you improve your vagal tone? Of course, seeing a tonal based Chiropractor. This is what we do at Inspired. I’ll chat a little more about that later, but there are actually many different ways to encourage strengthening our vagal tone. Things that take our body out of sympathetic dominance help strengthen our vagal tone.
Some of the techniques that were mentioned in that awesome Instagram post were things like:
One of my favorite parasympathetic activities is dance parties with my pup singing some of my favorite songs.
Do I think that Chiropractic is one of the best and most corrective ways to support vagal tone? Absolutely. But the little things we do on a daily basis build a foundation that makes care like Chiropractic, therapy work, or any other stress management care that much more successful.
The Vagus Nerve is something I talk about everyday in the practice, but honestly I really don’t think the average person really knows what makes a nervous system Chiropractor different than any other Chiropractor in their community. I’ll explain!
You have two different elements of your nervous system. One is responsible for our stress and “fight or flight” response, which is our sympathetic system. The other is responsible for everything healing and repair, which is our parasympathetic system. To keep this as simple as possible and not boringly long, we need harmony between the two to keep optimal function, and we can’t be in both systems at the same time.
Since I’ve been in practice, most of the people that come in to see us for the first time are coming to see us because their body is overwhelmed by some form of stress. That’s why we have aches and pains. The world lives in a state of constant fight or flight, so our vagal tone and function suffers. We are seeing increased amounts of depression, anxiety, sleeping difficulty, and fatigue. And, seeing it in younger people than ever before. We aren’t just talking about stressed adults here, my practice is full of kiddos and infants in a sympathetic stress response. Colic, latching difficulty, and sleeping issues? Sympathetic dominance. We work with it all.
So why is what we do at Inspired different from your average Chiropractic office? Every adjustment made is dependent on a full neurological analysis. My intention is to create harmony between these two systems, and help facilitate change so your body can do that better on its own. It’s rare that I am adjusting in the parasympathetic and sympathetic areas in the same visit, especially when patients first start care in my office. My goal is always to encourage strength of that vagal tone and parasympathetic system, and support the body out of a state of sympathetic dominance.
Chiropractic care is not about restoring joint motion, it’s about creating specific change that restores joint function in primary areas of stress so our nervous system can strengthen. Find yourself a Chiropractor that does that. Don’t worry, I’ll help you! It takes a thorough analysis that includes an assessment of neurological function for every age and postural x-rays in most adults and teens, and a technique that is specific in the application of the adjustment. Specificity is everything, and totally necessary to get results specific enough to gain the change we are talking about here.
I’ve included some resources below if this is something you’re wanting more support in. Websites to find trustworthy Chiropractic care, the link to the Instagram post, and some of my favorite chiropractic techniques to support you and those in your corner outside of our community here.
I’m here to support you being your best you.
Xx Dr. Nicole