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Healing Happens in a Relaxation Response

August 2, 2013
Would you like to heal a little faster? Then consider this little known biological fact that ought to be headline news: healing happens in the physiologic relaxation response. Meaning, the literal healing, maintenance and repair of body tissues occurs when the central nervous system is in parasympathetic dominance – the classic relaxation response. In the simplest of terms, we heal when we’re sleeping, resting in a state of calm, or on a nice vacation.
The implications of this are quite profound. That’s because it’s quite common for us to be in a stress state – an anxious rush, overworking, worry, fear, anger or self- judgment. The stress response means that the central nervous system is in sympathetic dominance, and our metabolic energy is preferentially geared towards fighting, fleeing and survival. The last thing your body is trying to do when it thinks it’s being chased by a lion is to heal your digestive issue, your adrenal burnout, or manage your cholesterol level.
So, anything that has us move into a stress state will put a limitation on healing. Likewise, anything that has us let go, relax, surrender, take a deep breath, will help facilitate the maintenance and repair of the body. If you’re trying to overcome an ailment and you’re driving yourself crazy, or following an impossibly hard diet, or being too hard on yourself, think “I’m generating a stress response and short-changing the very healing experience that I’m working so hard for.” Consider this prescription: do the best you can to relax into your healing journey.
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