Igor came to the osteopath’s appointment in despair. The man suffered from psoriatic arthritis. He was tormented by stiffness and discomfort in all joints. And most of all he was worried about the pain in his feet, at the age of 35 he could hardly walk.
During the sessions, Igor began to talk about his life. It turned out that he had a very difficult relationship with his mother. Not wanting to solve anything in her life, she called every day and endlessly complained about problems, but at the same time did not allow him to take active steps in order to solve them for her.
The work with the body paid off – he soon got better. Igor gained physical strength, and, on the advice of an osteopath, he went to a psychotherapist for deeper work with the psyche. Soon he limited contact with his mother and defined his own boundaries, realizing where her life is and where his. Then he established relations with his ex-wife and daughter.
Three months after the start of treatment, he was running around the botanical garden, and two more months later he went on a hike to Olkhon, an island on Lake Baikal. And he married again. The psychological problem has found a solution. The body gained strength. Everything is interconnected and everything is one. How does this happen?
Since ancient times
Let’s imagine ancient people who survived in difficult conditions. In addition to the unpredictable nature and weather, their lives were complicated by external dangers – in particular, predators.
When we met a saber-toothed cat or bear, our ancestors activated the reticular alarm system, which is also the reticular formation (lat. Reticulum, “network”). This system is a network of nerve cells that encircles the back of the brain and the upper part of the spinal cord. It is a rapid response system that activates the structures necessary for the body to survive.
Hit or run!
What can you do with a predator? You can start fighting with him, run away (there is still an option to pretend to be dead, but this happens less often). The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the fight-or-flight response.
What happens when it is activated?
- Dilation of the pupils (we see wider, that is, we control a large area);
- Increased heart rate and breathing (ready to run and / or fight);
- Increased blood flow to the brain and skeletal muscles (even more ready for movement and even better understanding);
- Reduction of sphincters (we do not go out of necessity, but put off until later when the danger has passed);
- Strengthening the work of the sweat glands (sweating);
- Contraction of the muscles that lift the hair (the remnants of our thick hair);
- Shrinking the walls of the arteries (so that more fresh blood per unit of time passes through specific tissues);
- The production of adrenaline and norepinephrine in the adrenal glands.
This activates, in particular, the trigeminal nerve, which is also responsible for the chewing muscles. That is, he saw a predator – he gritted his teeth and rushed away. Or he clenched his teeth, bared his teeth, bared his fangs – the predator got scared and ran away himself. Thus, the ancestors fled from the predator or knocked it down with one blow of their fist, and then, satisfied, ate it with their jaws that had time to open.
If it seems to you that saber-toothed cats, mammoths, cave bears are extinct, no matter how it is. In fact, they pop up at us from everywhere: from TV, mail, Whatsapp chats, in unhealthy relationships at work and at home, the list is endless. But there is a social framework and ethics: so often you want to start a fight, but you can’t.
As a result, our ancient system of rapid response constantly receives alarms, activates all of the above, but does not receive discharge. Not hitting, not breaking into pieces, not even running away – where will you run away from the alarm clock? And she stays in good shape all the time.
“Wounds” in the body
Everything is clear about the fangs of a predator and the reaction to them. The ancestors needed attention and speed to survive. Well, what to do with modern “predators”? Roughly the same. It does not matter what the cause of the stress is: whether you are threatened with physical harm by a neighbor who is a wrestling champion, whether sarcastic remarks from a friend offend you or frightens the TV, which tells you that everything is bad.
The alarm is triggered by a system that tones the entire body under the influence of adrenaline. The body in tension sends a feedback signal that there is stress, and the rapid response system again responds with muscle tension and adrenaline rush.
Imagine, we are constantly clenching our jaws: try to relax them now – and the whole body will relax. Due to the constant contraction of the muscles, calcium accumulates in them and the so-called trigger points are formed – these are the places that you ask the massage therapist to stretch harder. Since there is also muscle tissue in the vascular wall (otherwise, as if the vessels were contracting and expanding), then there it contracts, contracts and gradually loses the ability to relax. As a result, a person is diagnosed with hypertension.
The word as a weapon
It is impossible to escape from today’s “saber-toothed cats”, but the body cannot get used to them either. It turns out that we are constantly in a state of stress: neither the cerebral cortex, nor the underlying structures, nor the autonomic nervous system rest.
The first way to reduce the tone of the nervous system is to remove the excess load, and not to run to the pharmacy for dietary supplements. Excessive load is TV, bad news, chat notifications, mail messages. Finally unsubscribe from useless mailings.
The threat comes not only from the information space – it is the easiest to deal with. Often, relatives act as a source of constant stress: a partner, parents, grown-up children, as well as colleagues and others with whom we are forced to contact. A person can constantly wait for pokes from an eternally disgruntled father, feel guilty for not spending enough time with a child, fear that the soup is not like mom’s, endure endless harassment from a leader, angry reproaches from so-called friends, and so on.
When we hear hurtful words or even think about them, we strain. Remember right now how you feel when your boss yells at you. And when dad says: “You are not my son, I didn’t bring up such a thing”? Feel it in your body. Doesn’t it sound like a description of how the sympathetic nervous system (the one that “fight or flight”) is activated? Because this is it.
This is how the body reacts to a verbal attack every time an unpleasant event occurs or even when you just remember it, because the brain does not care if it is reality or your imagination.
A child who is constantly yelled at, who is kicked and called a loser, can be recognized by the extinct look, stooped back. He is already prepared in advance that higher forces (that is, parents) will fall on him, he has already reacted, moreover, he is tired of reacting, he just lives and grows like that. But if the child has at least one person who loves him, everything will be much better.
Healing body and mind
And what happens to us when they begin to love us for nothing, just like that? We grow wings, everything works out. The wounds are healing. In fact, we cannot constantly think about how we were mistreated, so we force such events out of consciousness.
This does not mean that we forget about them. We can remember them and free ourselves from their influence at the reception of a psychologist, psychotherapist, bring our body with all its tension to an osteopath.
The difference between osteopathy is that it starts working with the body, not with the mind. Working through all the areas where there is a limitation of mobility, the osteopathic doctor, as it were, reminds the body that they also exist. The body “remembers” these areas, directs the flow of arterial blood there and begins to actively nourish, flushing out the accumulated from there for all the time that has passed since the moment of injury.
Since body, mind and emotions are interconnected, the health of one leads to an improvement in the condition of the other two. And, of course, love heals the best. And it’s not so important who loves us: someone else or ourselves. The biochemistry of the process is the same.
about the author
Elena Radzinskaya – osteopathic doctor. See details at