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Parasympathetic System and Tai Chi

Parasympathetic System and Tai Chi

Parasympathetic System and Tai Chi

Help activate the relaxation response with deep breathing, slow connected whole body movements and applied relaxation.

Stress = activation of the sympathetic nervous system (automatic stress response)

This is the bodily state when tissue is being broken down, energy is used and the body systems are working.  An extreme of this state is known as the 'fight or flight' response, when are bodies prepare to face the stress and attack, or to run away.  This bodily reaction increases our heart rate, releases adrenalin into the body, heightens blood pressure and kicks in shallow breathing into the upper chest, quickening our breathing rate.  When this stress state is dominant over the parasympathetic state this creates imbalance in the body. This imbalance can cause the ph of the internal environment to increase in acidity.  Several diseases are linked to high acid ph e.g  auto immune diseases, inflammation, hypertension.

Relaxation = activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (automatic relaxation response)

This is the bodily state when tissue is regenerated and the body systems are at rest.  An extreme of this state is known as deep relaxation.  This bodily reaction decreases the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and reduces the breathing rate.  Slow and deep breathing along with an intention to relax both help to activate the initial stages of the parasympathetic response.  Energy is then used more efficiently by the body, and is a far less exhaustive state than the stress response.

The Vagus Nerve

View a video about the mind body connection with the nervous system responses and the vagus nerve here.  How the vagus nerve can help reduce inflammation in the body.

Tai Chi and the parasympathetic nervous system

Slow deep breathing, dynamic spiralling and stretching movements and focused intention to relax the muscles are at the core of Tai Chi and Qi Gong practice.  It is known that Tai Chi and Qi Gong can help activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This in turn helps lower acidity in the internal body as the demand for oxygen in the blood is increased through movement, which activates the alkaline response, aiding tissue regeneration and internal healing. 20 minutes of Tai Chi and Qigong practice is an effective way to activate the relaxation response in the body. You will feel calmer, more centred, alert, relaxed and at ease. Help return your body to a neutral state for improved health, happiness and longevity.

Please speak with your doctor prior to starting a new exercise programme. This article is for information purposes only and must not be taken as medical advice.


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