Imagine you’re sitting, scrolling through Facebook or your emails and someone lets a tiger into the room. What would you feel and what would you do? Naturally I would expect a few things such as:
- A beating heart
- A rush of adrenalin through your arms and legs (tingling, pulsing, shaking)
- Increased breathing
- Lack of focus
This is your “fight or flight” response. You’re either going to stay and wrestle the tiger to the ground. Or you’re going to run for your life. Either way you need your body to:
- Open your blood vessels to provide more blood flow to your arms and legs so you have the strength to fight or run
- Increase your heart rate so you can pump that blood around
- Increase your blood pressure as the blood pumps around
- Increase your breathing rate so you have enough oxygen for those muscles
- Tighten and tense neck and shoulder muscles
At the same time your body stops or changes the balance of:
- Immune system function – fighting off that virus someone has just coughed into the air is not as much of a threat to you as the tiger
- Hormones – its not important to be making babies when there’s a tiger around
- Digestion – Digesting food is not important when you’re about to be something else’s food
- Sleep – it’s not safe to fall asleep otherwise the tiger will get you or your family
Everything is aimed at survival
This is driven, controlled and stimulated by the sympathetic nervous system.
These changes also happen in our everyday lives. It’s what helps to keep our body in balance. These changes happen when the boss puts pressure on our work output, when the kids test their boundaries, when we argue, whenever we feel pressure in life and believe it or not, the very action of sitting at a desk is actually a stress on our body.
To be fair to our sympathetic nervous system also helps out in positive situations. It helps us to keep our blood sugars in balance, our blood pressure even so we don’t get dizzy when we stand up, it dulls down loud noises and protects our eyes from bright lights. This also helps us to survive as these are vital functions for our body to maintain homeostasis (balance).
Perception of pressure is stress
Stress stimulates the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism in our body.
When these stressors continue our body spends more and more time in “fight or flight” until that is our new normal. We spend our lives on edge. Waiting for something to happen. This is sympathetic dominance and it begins to manifest in other ways:
- Lower immunity – frequent colds and flus
- Digestive system upsets – diarrhoea, constipation, gas, bloating, food intolerances
- Hormone issues – irregular cycles, polycystic ovaries, infertility, heavy and painful periods, long or short cycles
Sympathetic dominance has far reaching effects on the body.
Other stressors grouped into the Triad of Health include:
- Poor posture
- Sitting a desk all day
- Screen time including ipads, mobile phones, laptop computers
- Unfulfilling relationships
- Turning up to a job each day that we hate
- Self-esteem issues
- Unresolved childhood traumas
- Poor diet high in processed sugars and processed foods
- Nutritional deficiencies such as zinc, magnesium and B vitamins
- Toxins such as those in fast food, cosmetics and other personal care products, the environment or medications
So what can you do about this?
As I have explained in the Health Triad blog post, all health conditions are best approached from all sides of the triangle: physical/structural, mental/emotional and biochemical/nutritional.
Reducing physical and structural stressors using exercises to reverse poor posture, participating in light exercise rather than vigorous exercise everyday, stretches to counteract the negative effects of sitting at a desk all day and of course, chiropractic adjustments will all help to keep the body physically well.
Dealing with unresolved stress with methods such as meditation, NeuroEmotional Technique, taking time out for yourself each day, getting some sunshine, participating in hobbies you enjoy or spending time with friends are all good to reduce our mental/emotional stress.
Reducing the toxic load on our bodies through natural cleaning products, organic personal care products (don’t put anything on your skin you wouldn’t put in your mouth) and eating organic foods where possible will help with biochemical stress. Drinking plenty of water, which means 30mL per kilogram of body weight (1.8L for a 60kg person) each day helps to flush out toxins and keeps us feeling fresh. Plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and well-sourced meats, rather than junky, processed packaged food which is full of chemicals is important to reduce biochemical and nutritional stress on our bodies.
I have just completed my Practitioner Certification in the SD Protocol. Please let me know if you have any more questions about sympathetic dominance.
Below is a video from Dr Wayne Todd, developer of the SD Protocol:
- Founded by Dr Scott Walker and co-deveoped by Dr Deb Walker
- Taught for the first time in May 1988
- There are currently over 8000 practitioner who use this technique
- “NET is a tool that can help improve many behavioural and physical conditions using a methodology of finding and removing neurological imbalances, related to the physiology if unresolved stress.”
- “Neuro-Emotional Complex: A subjective mal-adaption syndrome adopted by the human organism in response to a real or perceived threat.”
- NEC’s are the patients emotional reality. Think about how you feel after a nightmare, you wake up with a racing heart, but the dream isn’t real. You are still having a physiological response.
- After we process an emotional experience, its normal for the body to come back into balance. This does not always happen.
- Muscles that are previously ‘strong’ will test weak when saying a non-congruent statement. This has been scientifically validated by Dr Daniel Monti.*
- We are NOT talking to the body, asking the body questions or predicting the future!
Published research about NET
A pilot randomized controlled trial comparing the efficacy of exercise, spinal manipulation, and neuro emotional technique for the treatment of pregnancy-related low back pain
Caroline Peterson, DC, PhD, MPH, LDM, Mitchell Haas, DC, MA and W. Thomas Gregory, MD
Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, 2012 20:18
A case series evaluating the accuracy of manual muscle testing for predicting fetal sex
Kristopher B. Peterson, DC, Caroline D. Peterson, DC, PhD, MPH, CPM
Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 2012 11, 1-6
The influence of a biopsychosocial-based treatment approach to primary overt hypothyroidism: a protocol for a pilot study
Benjamin T. Brown, Rod Bonello, Henry Pollard, Petra Graham
Trials 2010, 11:106 doi:10.1186/1745-6215-11-106
A retrospective analysis of self-reported symptoms from 761 consecutive patients presenting to a Neuro Emotional Technique chiropractic clinic.
Bablis P. et al.
Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2009 doi:10.1016/j.ctc[2009.02.005
A randomised controlled trial of the Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) for childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): a protocol.
Fay Karpouzis, Henry Pollard, Rod Bonello
Trials 2009, 10:6 doi:10.1186/1745-6215-10-6
The Use of Traditional Chinese Medicine Principles in Chiropractic Technique
Bejamin T. Brown, Rod Benello, and Henry Pollard
Chiropractic Journal of Australia 2008; 38: 18-26
Treating Spider Phobia Using Neuro Emotional Technique: Findings from a Pilot Study
Anne M. Jensen, Adaikalavan Ramasamy
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine Volume 15, Number 12, 2009, pp. 1363–1374 DOI: 10.1089=acm.2008.0595
Anxiety & Depression Profile of 188 Consecutive New Patients Presenting to a Neuro Emotional Technique Practitioner
Peter Bablis, Henry Pollard
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine Volume 14, Number 9, 2008, DOI:10.1089/acm.2007.0805
Separation anxiety disorder in a 13-year-old boy managed by the Neuro Emotional Technique as a biopsychosocial intervention.
Fay Karpouzis, Grad Dip Chiro, DO, Henry Pollard, PhD, Rod Bonello, MHA
Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2008, 7, 101-106
Neuro Emotional Technique for the treatment of trigger point sensitivity in chronic neck pain sufferers: A controlled clinical trial.
Henry P. Pollard , Peter Bablis, and Rod Bonello.
Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2008, 16:4
Short Term Correlates of the Neuro Emotional Technique for Cancer-Related Traumatic Stress Symptoms: A Pilot Case Series
Daniel A. Monti, Marie E. Stoner, Gail Zivin and Martha Schlesinger
Journal of Cancer Survivorship (2007) 1: 161-166
The Organization of The Stress Response and its Relevance to Chiropractors: A Commentary
Katie Hardy & Henry Pollard
Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2006 14:25.
Can the Ileocecal Valve Point Predict Low Back Pain Using Manual Muscle Testing?
Henry P. Pollard, Peter Bablis, and Rod Bonello
Chiropractic Journal of Australia 2006 36: 58-62.
Commentary: The Ileocecal Valve Point and Muscle Testing: A Possible Mechanism of Action
Pollard H., Bablis P., Bonello R.
Chiropractic Journal of Australia 2006; 36:122-6
Biopsychosocial Model of Pain and Its Relevance to Chiropractors
Henry P. Pollard, Katie E. Hardy, Deborah Curtin
Chiropractic Journal of Australia vol 36 Number 3, Sept. 2006
Resolution of Anovulation Infertility Using Neuro Emotional Technique: A Report of 3 Cases
Bablis P., Pollard H., and Monti D.
Chiropractic Journal ofAustralia SPR 2006 (5:1): 13-26.
Two Reports of Resolution of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome-Induced Anovulation in Females Receiving Neuro Emotional Technique
Peter Bablis, Henry Pollard, and Andrew McHardy
Chiropractic Journal of Australia 2006 36: 2-8.
Reflections on The Type “O” Disorder
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2005; 28: 547.e1-547.e9.
The Biopsychosocial Model and Hypothyroidism
Benjamin T. Brown*, Rod Bonello and Henry Pollard
Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2005, 13:5 doi:10.1186/1746-1340-13-5
Are Chronic Low Back Pain Outcomes improved with Co-Management of Concurrent Depression?
Middleton P., Pollard H. Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2005; 13: 8.
Practitioner Perceptions of Emotions associated with Pain: A Survey
Walker S., Bablis P., Pollard H., McHardy A.
Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2005 Mar; 4(1): 11-8.
Interexaminer Reliability Of The Deltoid And Psoas Muscle Test
Henry Pollard, DC, PhD, Bronwyn Lakay, MChiro, Frances Tucker, MChiro, Brett Watson, MChiro, and Peter Bablis, DC
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 2005 Jan;28(1):52-6
Hypothyroidism: A New Model for Conservative Management in Two Cases
Peter Bablis and Henry Pollard
Chiropractic Journal of Australia 2004; 34: 11-18
The Somatovisceral Reflex: How Important for the “Type O” Condition?
Henry Pollard DC, PhD
Chiropractic Journal of Australia 2004; 34: 93-102.
*Scientific Validation of the Mind/Body Paradigm & Muscle Testing
Daniel A. Monti, John Sinnott, Marc Marchese, Elsabeth J. S. Kunkle and Jeffrey M. Greeson
Perceptual and Motor Skills 1999, 88, 1019-1028.
The Effects of Spinal Manipulation on the Intensity of Emotional Arousal in Phobic Subjects Exposed to a Threat Stimulus: A Randomized, Controlled, Double-Blind Clinical Trial
Kristopher B. Peterson, D.C.
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1997; 20: 602-6
A preliminary inquiry into manual muscle testing response in phobic and control subjects exposed to threatening stimuli.
Kristopher B. Peterson, D.C.
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1996:19(5):310-6
Two Cases of Spinal Manipulation Performed while the Patient Contemplated an Associated Stress Event: The Effect of the Manipulation/Contemplation on Serum Cholesterol Levels in Hypercholesterolemic Subjects
Kristopher B. Peterson, D.C.
Chiropractic Technique 1995;7 55-59.