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  • Writer's picturekirstymackenzie94

Why Relaxation is Essential for your Immune System, Body and Mind

Updated: Jun 19

An essential part of supporting our body to heal is rest and relaxation. Many of us know that it is important, but understanding why can really support us to take extra care and effort to ensure we are making time for it. 

To understand why it helps to know a little about the nervous system. Our nervous system includes our brain, spinal cord and nerves and together they are responsible for processing all our internal and external sensory information. Our nervous systems are sensitive and doing their best to keep us safe with the information they have. This information is based on what is here right now as well as our thoughts, our past experiences and our feelings.  

 So when we are busy and on the go, our body is often functioning from the sympathetic nervous system. When we are in this state of sympathetic activity, we can notice many different symptoms, our muscles may be more tensed ready for action, our heart is working harder pumping oxygen around our body, our adrenals can be more active, and we can feel alert. Whilst this state is essential when we want to get things done, when our nervous systems find it hard to move back into a calmer state it can stop us sleeping and affect our eating habits. Often what stops us moving back into a more balanced state is stress and anxiety. These anxious thought processes and feelings make our nervous system feel like there is still some kind of danger or action needed so it stays ready for action in its sympathetic state. 

However, when we engage in activities that we find relaxing and restorative which could be walking, reading a book, mindful activities or guided relaxation to name a few, we are encouraging our nervous system to shift from being in this activated state towards a state of regulation. These activities and the feelings they create soothe our nervous system and remind it that perhaps it's ok to relax a little more right now.** Through this, our body can engage more with the parasympathetic branch of our nervous system. The parasympathetic part of our nervous system is responsible for promoting digestion, slowing our heart and breathing rate and lowering blood pressure.  This can also support the reduction of inflammation, boost the immune system to function and essential healing processes in our body to take place. When we find moments of rest or relaxation, this part of our nervous system can have more capacity for these important processes. There isn’t a state of our nervous system that's better, it is in fact when we can shift between all the essential states of our nervous system and we can respond and adapt to our environment that our nervous system is healthy.

However, sometimes shifting into a more regulated state and relaxing can be really hard for us, as feelings of safety and calm can seem impossible to connect with. Working with Craniosacral Therapy and Somatic Experiencing supports the body to be able to relax more deeply. This is because these practises support the body and mind to build a stronger and more trusting connection to and experience of safety. This availability of a sense of safety helps our body to shift back to a state of balance and regulation when a state of activation is no longer necessary.

**Sometimes we are stuck in a parasympathetic state which can feel like depression, shutdown and withdrawal and relaxation won't help us regulate. Movement is key! Blog post to come...

Get in contact at to arrange a call to find out more about how Craniosacral Therapy and Somatic Experiencing could support your body and nervous system.

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