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What the Bodies Relaxation Response has to do with Immune Function

Updated: Oct 2, 2022

All practices and workshops at Inner Lotus Wellness LLC are geared towards assisting the bodies relaxation response. This is because it is imperative to our immune function. We have two main branches to our autonomic nervous system. One is our sympathetic nervous system, which is known as our "fight or flight "system. This activates when we are in an emergency, doing intense physical activity or under stress. This is the body taking action to assist us. The heart rate increases, brain function changes, kidney and digestive function decreases, blood vessels constrict and vessels of the heart and skeletal system increase, our pupils dilate, we might even get sweaty skin and rapid deep breathing. This is the body assisting us with dealing with what is happening or sometimes it could be what we perceive to be happening. Sometimes our brain categories a situation as stressful judging it from some prior experience, although no true threat exists. The other branch of the parasympathetic nervous system is when we are in a more relaxed state. They call this the "rest and digest" system. Blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration are at lower levels. Kidney and digestive function increases. This is the bodies housekeeping phase. We are in this phase when we go to sleep and at different points during the day. Ideally, we should be able to transition easily between the both.

The problem comes in when we get stuck in our sympathetic and our body does not have enough time in the parasympathetic to perform proper cleaning and repair. Life has gotten so fast paced, with lots of stimuli, things for the body needs to filter and we can not be fully feeling our emotions. Emotions are energy in motion cause different physiological responses and chemical releases in the body. Overtime this could all take a toll on the body. It could leave us feeling tired, drained, angry and frustrated. These symptoms are all cues from the body asking for what it needs.

I felt compelled to start Inner Lotus Wellness LLC. after going through my own journey. I feel like sometimes we become deaf to the bodies cries for help. We are totally out of sink with our bodies needs. The body has to knock us down to be heard. I know from my own experience it took an extreme experience to happen for me to yield. I defined myself so much by what I did and how I was perceived by the world. I did not want to stop or show any signs of weakness. In the end I learned stopping is not weakness and requiring help at different points in life is natural. Some beautiful souls helped me in many ways through this period and taught me my worth does not stem from what I do and it is ok to require help sometimes. All humans go through challenges. We are not meant to do it alone. We have probably all heard the quote by John Donne " no man is an island." Think of the most powerful people in the world. They all have people under them, assisting them in their mission. No human exists without benefiting in some way by the actions of another.

Part of my healing and wellness is in thanks to mind body practices like yoga, Tia Chi and Qigong. These practices offered me tools I could use during the ups and downs of life. At first when I was doing these practices it was just another thing to check off the list. I was missing the depth of the practices. It was only when I got really sick did I truly discover their depth.

I had a tough couple of years battle with Lyme disease and I was just emerging from the experience, when I signed up for a Tia Chi class. I had taken a continuing education class on Tia Chi years earlier and knew about it's researched benefits. I remember after the day long class me and some of the other therapists spoke of taking a class and then we never followed through. After the Lyme affected my legs and standing balance I was motivated to find a class. Tia Chi helped me after I developed a daily practice and went to classes. I then was motivated to learn more and teach others. I was working as a COTA at the time and thought I could incorporate it into my treatment sessions. I signed up for a couple day retreat at Omega in Rhinebeck, NY. It was geared to healthcare workers and we would be learning Tia Chi and Qigong. I remember when I first got there I planned on attending the program during the day and then going to an evening yoga class. During the day we were learning different Tia Chi and Qigong movements. We practiced them for hours. I remember at the end of the day the one movement ended on my stomach. I really was not feeling well and was nauseous. I decided to skip the yoga class and just return to my cabin. I had to keep using the bathroom and stayed in bed that night. In the morning I woke up and felt better than I had in years. When I went to my next class I was sharing my experience with this young woman that was a massage therapist. She told me she had a similar experience. She had a bad headache the night before and did not feel well and then woke up feeling great. When we had lunch the group ate together at a round table. We started going around the table and telling our individual stories about what brought us to this class. We all had stories of overcoming sickness of some sort. One woman had cancer, another took years to be diagnosed and it ended she got a parasite that she acquired when she went to South American as a teenager. The common thread that went through all our stories is we all utilized some practice that addressed the energetic body and the mind body connection to regain our health. Everything I heard and experienced made me excited to go back home and share what I learned. I also then when on to get certified in Tia Chi for Rehabilitation and Qigong for health through the Tia Chi for health institute. Dr. Lam the director was motivated to start the institute after his own life altering experience. Now he and his staff travels the world certifying trainers.

At times during my fight with Lyme I felt discouraged, because I thought others had power over my health and life. When I really started to notice a difference is when I started reclaiming my own power and control over my health. Maybe that was message from the whole experience. We all need assistance at times, but my body can not heal without my assistance and commitment . I am the CEO of my body. I control what goes in, my reactions to things, how much movement it gets and how much time it spends in that relaxation housekeeping phase. I did and still use conventional medicine. It was part of my journey, but I do believe more is needed. It leaves to much out of the equation, so it can be hard to find answers at times. That is why I started Inner Lotus Wellness LLC. and why I feel passionate about providing adjunct care to support people in regaining or maintaining wellness. I believe I would have never gotten better without looking further and seeking other assistance.

Remember relaxation time, balance is an important part of maintaining good health. So allow time for your body to unwind and do things you enjoy to do. This is not pampering, it is necessary. If you only have a couple minutes sit take some deep breaths and close your eyes. Image your some place that brings you peace. We have a lot of innate skills we are equipped with to assist our bodies. Try and utilize them during your day.

If you need support or help along the journey , I am here. Come in for a treatment, join one of my Tia Chi classes or take a private session or do one of my workshops. We all need to feel supported. I plan on paying in forward and never taking my health for granted again. The body is an amazing instrument and wants balance. It deserves our respect. I just want to share what I learned along the way. #parasympatheticnervousystem#stressreduction#relaxationresponse#immunefunction

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