Polyvagal Theory, developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, informs our Nervous System Regulation work. Nervous System Regulation sessions specifically target your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), which controls the fight/flight/freeze response, essential body processes including heart rate, circulation, temperature, metabolism, digestion, respiration, hormone flow, and sleep! Researchers now estimate that more than 80% of health conditions start as an imbalance in the ANS.
Get educated about the Autonomic Nervous System & how to keep yours resilient with simple tools. Unravel past ANS events in your history with gentle support to help restore full range of function. This means more resilience for life and less stress.
What is the ANS? The Autonomic Nervous System is commonly known by people for its "fight-or-flight" (or freeze) response to potential threats. In its normal, non-threatened functioning, the ANS automatically regulates our body processes including heart rate, baseline metabolism, body temperature, hormone flow, sleep and much more. When under threat, the ANS automatically runs through a threat response hierarchy and performs the operations to the best of its ability (alarm, orient, fight, flight, freeze, discharge, rest).
The ANS is made up of three branches-- the Social Nervous System (Social Engagement System), Sympathetic Nervous System, and Parasympathetic Nervous System. Each perform essential functions in life as a human.
When we experience a traumatic event (such as a car accident, sudden injury, abuse situation, witnessing violence, etc.), our ANS attempts to run through the response hierarchy. Often, there is no time to fully complete the entire hierarchy. For example, in a car accident that happens suddenly, the ANS may only have time to alarm or orient. In other cases, the only option available is to freeze, as fight or flight are not options (as in a baby left in its crib who physically cannot fight or flee).
After traumatic events, the full capacity and resilience of the ANS is thwarted. It remains "stuck" in whatever option worked to survive the trauma. The next time a potential threatening situation arises (for example, driving a car), the ANS will default to the same place it got stuck in the threat response hierarchy. Because you survived successfully, the ANS will use that strategy again and again.
However, your full range of motion in the ANS has been restricted. This means that your ANS needs a little help to re-set. When past events are allowed to fully complete the entire threat response hierarchy, the ANS defaults back to its full range of functioning. This is when an ANS Restoration session is helpful. What can I expect from a Nervous System Restoration session? I offer simple explanations of the ANS and any relationship to the client's specific conditions. I use specific polarity and craniosacral holds, verbal exercises and somatic tools that unwind the ANS and restore full function. The session may be on a massage table or in a chair. The emphasis is on building the client's internal resources and healing capacity. I also offer simple take-home exercises you can use anytime to regulate and restore the ANS.