Happy June Everyone!
We hope you all can get outside and enjoy those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer!
Stress Management & Biofeedback
Did you know that stress can make our pain worse? The mind is powerful and can have a profound effect on how we feel physically. How can we reduce stress? It's not so easy to just tell ourselves to relax, right? Even that can be stressful!
To reduce our stress levels, we need to tap into our central nervous system. The central nervous system is made up of two parts: the parasympathetic system (rest and digest) and the sympathetic system (fight or flight). Both are necessary to our health and survival. When our parasympathetic system is activated, our body is able to repair injured tissues and relax – to function optimally with daily tasks. When our sympathetic system is active, we are ready to deal with stressful, scary, or dangerous situations. This is very important! But we don't want to be in this state all the time.
Imagine you are walking in the woods, super chilled out, enjoying nature, and not thinking about your to-do list. You are in a parasympathetic state. You hear a large animal rustling in the woods - you freeze. You feel your heart rate increase, your breathing increase, your muscles tense, and your hands may even get cold and clammy. You are now in a sympathetic state, and your body and mind are ready to deal with the stressful situation. Then the animal either goes away, or you successfully fend it off, and gradually the fear and stress go away, and you are able to continue to enjoy your day. You are back to your parasympathetic state.
Wouldn't it be nice if it worked this way all the time? Unfortunately, most of us encounter continued stress throughout the day from things like work deadlines, commuting, coordinating kids' schedules, trying to stay in shape. Basically, trying to fit it all in! This may mean many of us spend too much time in a sympathetic, fight or flight, state. This doesn't help us to heal, and can exacerbate existing injuries, aches, and pains.
How can we stop this vicious cycle? Taking a few minutes to yourself each day to focus on YOU, can help. Daily exercise, meditation, breathing exercises, getting out in nature, are all practices that help calm our central nervous system.
How do you know if you are achieving a parasympathetic state? At Dynamic Sports PT we offer a biofeedback training, which allows us to see objectively how our body physically responds to stress or relaxation by monitoring heart rate, respiratory rate, arousal, hand temperature and muscle tension. Want to give it a try or learn more? Give us a call! (212) 317-8303