Posts tagged: autonomic nervous system

Blog Talk Radio Interview

Because I am a member of Asheville Natural Wellness, I had the opportunity to be interviewed for 30 minutes on Blog Talk Radio. It “aired” last night. If you would like to hear it, go HERE . The title is the same as my class that will start on September 20th at the College for Seniors at UNCA: Empowering Your Innate Capacity to Heal.

Enjoy! :-)

More On the College for Seniors Class

Below is a note to those interested in taking my class which will be put up on the class website. If you have actually read this blog you will notice that much of what I am going to teach comes from my experiences with SCENAR and the autonomic nervous system. My clients have taught me so much about healing, and I am grateful. My way of “giving back” for all that I have received is to share this information with as many as I can. ~ Penny

A Note to Those Interested in the Class

This class is based in science.  What makes it unique is information about how that science can be applied to everyday life.  It is an introduction to an inner understanding of your own neurobiology that can give you new choices about how to facilitate your own health and well being.  It will be experience-based to give you new ways to feel the mind/body connection, so that you can discern your own innate capacity to heal, and consciously choose activities/attitudes that promote homeostasis and healing.

Toward that end, we offer a sketch of ideas to begin with:

  • Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. While you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.
  • Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  • Eat more food that grows on trees and plants and less that is manufactured. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild salmon, broccoli, avocadoes and almonds.
  • Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  • Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, or negative thoughts about things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment. In this present moment you will notice that you have all that you need.
  • Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  • You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
  • Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil your present. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  • Forgive everyone for everything. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  • However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  • Stay in touch with your treasured friends. Their love will soothe your nervous system.
  • Practice gratitude in every situation, no matter how you want to judge it.
  • Try the loving kindness mantra: “May I be well. May I be at peace. May I be happy.” Say it enough to yourself that it takes up residence in your thoughts.

All of the suggestions above are based in the science of how the body maintains its inner regulatory autonomic nervous system balance.  When there is more balance in this system, there is a greater capacity for health and well being.

This class will provide numerous techniques for you to experience the feeling state of homeostasis within your body. Using these techniques, you can develop a more meaningful relationship with your body, and consciously facilitate its innate ability to heal.

Empowering Your Innate Capacity to Heal

I will be teaching a class, Empowering Your Innate Capacity to Heal, this fall for the College For Seniors, a program of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville. Participants will be provided with a basic understanding of how the nervous system is central to the body’s ability to heal itself. Basic concepts of nervous system functioning and involvement in healing will be covered through short lectures with practical exercises to demonstrate content. Personal experiences with various techniques will be learned through hands on involvement, discussion, and small intensive groups.

The desire to teach this class has grown out of my years of experience with providing Scenar services and seeing amazing recoveries of health and well being. Through this process I have learned that there are so many simple techniques that we can use in our day-to-day personal lives to facilitate a more balanced autonomic nervous system. It isn’t rocket science, and people are more and more coming to realize the value of practices such as meditation, yoga, breath-work, etc. in maintaining health and well being. But, there are easy things we can do, moment to moment, related to how we focus our attention, how we breathe, how to “get in our bodies,” and how to be “present” for our lives, that activate the parasympathetic nervous system and enhance the body’s ability to heal itself.

A more flexible autonomic nervous system protects us from stress related disorders, increases our capacity to be productive, without feeling driven; and provides us with the capability to recover rapidly when stressful events arise in our lives. This creates a life of greater ease and grace, health and well being.

It is an emerging awareness in our culture, and one I am pleased to be a part of enhancing.

Parasympathetic Heart

I have written in the past about what I called Parasympathetic Mind: the state of mind achieved when one has activated the Parasympathetic Nervous System through various means, including the SCENAR. There are many benefits to all of the body systems when this state of more autonomic system balance occurs, including better sleep, digestion, body/mind functional efficiency, and healing.

Recently, I have become interested in finding a way to document the effect of SCENAR on the parasympathetic system. That interest led me to find out about Heart Rate Variability (HRV), which has been shown to provide a dynamic window into autonomic function and balance. HRV is a beat-to-beat measure of frequency changes in the heart rate. By looking at the naturally occurring frequencies that happen between the beats of the heart, the sympathetic and parasympathetic activity levels of the heart and the entire autonomic system can be discerned. Research has found three frequency ranges to exist: Very Low Frequency (VLF) of 0.0033 to 0.04 Hertz, High Frequency (HF) of 0.15 to 0.4 Hertz, and Low Frequency (LF) in the 0.1 Hertz region. Researchers have further associated these frequencies to autonomic activity in the heart: VLF are associated with the activity of the sympathetic system and HF are associated with the activity of the parasympathetic system. One startling association that has been demonstrated is the increased likelihood of subsequent heart attacks or sudden cardiac death after someone has had a heart attack, when the predominant inter-beat frequencies are in the VLF (sympathetic) range. A number of studies have shown that during mental and emotional stress, sympathetic activity increases and parasympathetic activity decreases. This causes increased strain on the heart as well as hormonal and immune systems. Increased sympathetic arousal increases the risk of fibrillation of the heart, whereas increased parasympathetic activity protects the heart.

This information has made it very clear that becoming aware of the autonomic system and taking steps to balance it toward the parasympathetic system is imperative to life in this “sympathetic world” of stress that we live in. Purposefully engaging in those activities known to stimulate parasympathetic nervous system arousal, and move the autonomic nervous system toward balance, may save your life (not to mention making life more pleasant to live).

For some of the best information I’ve found on this subject, and practical exercises you can do to shift your autonomic system toward balance, go to

The Anterior Hypothalamus – The Seat of Parasympathetic Mind

This information is sourced from the Level II training manual produced by the North American RITM Scenar Academy–a division of Scenar-USA (, and reprinted here with the permission of the authors.

The NARSA will be providing Level I training in Atlanta on October 20-21.

Clinical research, conducted by Russian scientists, proves with experimental work that Scenar therapy is primarily targeting the anterior hypothalamus.  In other words, Scenar therapy stimulates a response from the Parasympathetic part of the Central Nervous System.

To understand the clinical implication of this phenomenon will help to understand why Scenar therapy is so successful.

The principle control mechanism of the body is the Autonomic Nervous System, which is of two parts: Sympathetic (fight or flight) and Parasympathetic (sleep and eat). When the Sympathetic system is strong, the Parasympathetic system is weak.

The following factors cause the Sympathetic System to be actively working:

  • When we are in danger or being hurt
  • When our PH is acidic
  • When we become allergic to the foods we eat.
  • When we have an actual trauma.
When our Sympathetic system keeps on for 24 hours, 7 days a week, we develop typical chronic disease and chronic fatigue because:
  • Parasympathetic shutdown means activation of the fight or flight syndrome with its production of adrenaline. It stimulates the heart to work hard and send blood to the muscles so we can fight and run. Therefore, we don’t have normal blood supply and innervations to our gut and we don’t make enzymes. Food won’t be absorbed, even if we eat a perfect diet.
  • Parasympathetic shutdown means the large intestine won’t work. As digestive sludge is delivered to the large intestine, the large bowel normally extracts water. Without normal blood supply and innervation, a waxy, oily coat develops on the wall of the large intestine, which becomes leaky and inflamed. This allows large protein molecules to enter the the blood which can cause allergy. The blood tries to excrete them through the sinuses, which in turn can cause sinusitis. Debris feeds Candida and parasites. Killing them does little as they will keep returning until the parasympathetic system is re-activated.
  • When the Sympathetic System is on, it also turns on all the endocrine glands. The brain makes more Serotonin, Dopamine and Nor-epinephrine. The thyroid produces more hormones in order to speed up metabolism. The Parathyroid produces more hormones to increase calcium to be used for the nerve impulse conduction in muscular contraction. The pancreas makes more insulin. The adrenal glands produce more adrenalin and cortisol, so that more sugar will be available. The gonads will produce more sex hormones to keep us stronger.
  • In the whole, we run out of nutrients since we cannot absorb them; we run out of raw material to make hormones, and we drive ourselves into exhaustion. The lack of adrenaline (the main hormone of the sympathetic system) makes it hard to deal with stress; lack of cortisol and insulin makes us hypoglycemic. Metabolism is slowed down and we start gaining weight, our brain cannot function clearly and lack of sex hormones makes us disinterested in sex. The immune system becomes weak and we are more susceptible to infectious diseases. This all leads to anxiety, anger, and depression.
In such situations the only possible correction is to tone down the Sympathetic System and turn back up the Parasympathetic System. Scenar therapy acts on the anterior Hypothalamus and stimulates the Parasympathetic System causing a gradual shift of activity from the Sympathetic system to the Parasympathetic, eventually restoring the balance between the two.

101 Ways to Create Parasympathetic Mind

In clearing out stuff, I came across something from my career in mental health: a laminated rack card called “101 Ways to Cope With Stress.” It now being many years later, I read through it with new eyes. I realized that most of the recommendations were ways to calm the Sympathetic Nervous System response. Some were unrealistic, some not helpful, and some (for me, anyway) would create more stress. So, I decided to take the idea and add what I have learned from working with SCENAR and the Parasympathetic Nervous System for the last 6 years. (This list is not in any order.) Morgana Morgaine, life coach and humorist, defined Parasympathetic Mind best: “Relax, Rest, Release, Restore.”

If you have other helpful ideas about creating Parasympathetic Mind, please feel free to comment. (For more information about releasing your own neuropeptides and balancing your autonomic system, go to the Healing Tips page.)

  1. Take 10 minutes before you get up in the morning and before you go to bed at night to quietly focus on your breathing. To keep your mind focused you might count your breaths up to 5 and then start over. Take any moments in daily life when you are waiting (red lights, grocery store lines, etc.) as an opportunity to remember your breath. Simply take a deep breath and notice your body relax.
  2. Have a SCENAR treatment or lay in the Multilayered Therapeutic Blanket. Learn what Parasympathetic Mind feels like.
  3. Prepare for the coming day by thinking of those things you will be doing that make you feel good.
  4. Reach for any thought that makes you feel better in any situation that feels stressful. Pay attention to how you feel. If you feel bad, find a thought, any thought, that makes you feel better.
  5. Forgive negative people and move on to interactions that feel better to you.
  6. Have fun on purpose. Seek to feel joy.
  7. See challenges as opportunities to see things differently. Look for the silver lining.
  8. Regularly write down what you appreciate in as much detail as you can.
  9. Go outside and enjoy the sunshine or curl up with a good book when it rains.
  10. Learn to care for and comfort yourself.
  11. Make it your intent to find and hang on to any and all things that inspire you, especially thoughts.
  12. Make a list of your personal attributes that you value and using 3 or 4 of them write a Mission Statement for your life.
  13. Notice negative self-talk and stop. Then remember your Mission statement.
  14. Use affirmations and/or mantras to remind yourself that you want to feel good.
  15. Practice grace when under pressure.
  16. Feeling good activates the Parasympathetic nervous system. The Parasympathetic nervous system activates good feelings.
  17. Pay attention to the moment. A moment missed is a moment lost and unconscious moments make for unwanted consequences.
  18. Remember that stress is an attitude. Remind yourself that you are NOT a victim.
  19. Quit judging or trying to “fix” other people. It only makes you feel bad.
  20. Look for options. In any conundrum, ask yourself, “What are my options here?” You will quickly discover that options give you a sense of freedom and control.

Read more »

Parasympathetic Mind Through Meditation Linked to Cellular Health

A new study investigating the physiological effects of meditation has been conducted by researchers at the University of California. It was discovered that there is a link between feelings of positive well-being and the presence of higher telomerase, an enzyme important for long term health of the cells in the body.

In a previous study we cited on this blog about the positive effects of slow breathing on pain, the lead author said, “The first change that occurs with slower breathing is greater parasympathetic response which provides a counterbalance to sympathetic activation that is often aroused by pain, and that engenders feelings of anxiety and nervous tension. A greater state of calm induced with slower breathing also opens the mind to a greater capacity to feel emotions other than pain, providing perspective, flexibility, and choice in the regulation of inner states. In doing so, slow breathing reduces the dominance of the fight/flight response within us, extending the calm influence of parasympathetic activation to allow for better emotional regulation and cognitive shifts from helplessness to action.”

In the current study, it was found that participants who underwent meditation training “showed increases in such beneficial psychological qualities as perceived control (over one’s life and surroundings), mindfulness (being able to observe one’s experience in a nonreactive manner), and purpose in life (viewing one’s life as meaningful, worthwhile, and aligned with long-term goals and values). In addition, they experienced decreased neuroticism, or negative emotionality. Meditation may improve a person’s psychological well-being and in turn these changes are related to telomerase activity in immune cells, which has the potential to promote longevity in those cells. Activities that increase a person’s sense of well-being may have a profound effect on the most fundamental aspects of the physiology.”

Both of these descriptions point to what I have called Parasympathetic Mind that I became aware of by seeing it consistently in clients who have had SCENAR treatment, which stimulates the parasympathetic aspect of the autonomic nervous system to promote the body’s own healing response.

Read more »

Someone Else’s Thoughts on Parasympathetic Mind

Here is a link to Morgana Morgaine’s thoughts about Parasympathetic Mind. It is an excellent elaboration, and creates new information about what PSM is and why it is important from the life coach’s point of view.

SCENAR Promotes Homeostasis and Well-Being

Webster’s dictionary defines balance as the state of equilibrium between contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements. From planetary ecological balance to being able to stand up on our feet, balance is a delicate, intricate, and wonderfully orchestrated cornerstone of our outer and inner reality. We ignore this cornerstone at our own peril.

In our work with SCENAR great attention is paid to assisting the body in returning to its inner state of balance or homeostasis. This involves working with the autonomic nervous system which, for the most part, operates without our conscious control. It maintains the internal balance of the organs and systems in response to external stimuli.

There are two aspects to the autonomic nervous system: the sympathetic system (often called the “fight or flight” response) and the parasympathetic system (called the “rest and digest” response). These two aspects operate in opposition to one another. When one is operating, the other one isn’t. When you are running from a saber tooth tiger, the last thing you want to do is “rest and digest.” Ideally, there is a balance between the systems based on the fluctuations of conditions. The sympathetic system keeps us alert and responding to the environment in ways that promote our survival, and the parasympathetic system rests, heals, and restores the body from all the activity required by the sympathetic system. The sympathetic system uses up the resources of the body and the parasympathetic system recovers and restores those resources to be available if needed again.

Our modern world challenges our bodies in maintaining the balance between these two systems. In general we are inundated with demands, information, time urgency, conflicts, and confusion that our bodies interpret as being threats to our survival. We worry and feel anxious, angry, resentful, or frustrated. We don’t have time to attend to eating well, resting, relaxing, and even when we try to rest or relax we are still ruminating about the issues. The parasympathetic system is shut down. Our bodies are in a near constant slow sympathetic system boil. We have a word for this: STRESS. We have lost our inner balance. Living too long in this state leads to disease as the body is unable to heal itself.

When the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are working as they should, the tendency is to rest often and easily. One can, however, perform at “peak ability” with equal ease. When challenged by stress, the balanced person is able to respond with vigor and fortitude. The parasympathetic system reduces the activity of the brain, the muscles, and the adrenal and thyroid glands. When no situation is pressing, the balanced person can comfortably choose to rest and can sleep deeply. They engage in lifestyles that allow the body to be nourished and restored.

When we are stressed and the sympathetic system is dominating, the sensations of pain are amplified. The SCENAR addresses pain by activating the parasympathetic system which releases neuropeptides to address the pain and restore the inner balance. In only a few minutes of treatment people will visibly relax. After a few sessions, very frequently people will become interested in taking better care of themselves and talk about ways they can do that. They also usually have an overall improvement in their mood. It is amazing to watch. (Read about some of our clients’ experiences on the “What Our Clients Say” page.)

If you are stressed and in pain, you might want to look into experiencing a SCENAR treatment series. It could make a big difference not just in your pain but in your overall health and sense of well being.

Healing Innovations Introduces a Monthly Series of Talks

Beginning on April 29, Healing Innovations will hold a series of monthly talks and demonstrations on the SCENAR and Parasympathetic Mind. You will have an opportunity to experience pain treatment using the revolutionary technology developed in the Russian Space program, as well as learn ways to improve your autonomic system balance, reduce stress, and improve your quality of life.

The first talk will be held at the Natural Health and Homeopathy office, 54 Merrimon Avenue from 6:30 to 8pm. Featured will be the natural healing process of the body, called the Parasympathetic System, and ways you can access this healing system in your everyday life.

Space is limited, so please call 337-6854 to register. These talks are free to anyone who is interested in self-healing and ways to promote health naturally. It is a lot easier than you may think!

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