​The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)- an important piece in the treatment of chronic health conditions and overall wellness.

  • The ANS is the part of the nervous system that is NOT under conscious control. 
  • The ANS controls most of the body’s involuntary processes, including, digestion, circulation, respiration, and metabolism. It also is responsible for our fight/flight/freeze responses. 
  • When the ANS becomes imbalanced it can create many chronic problems resulting in many symptoms.
  • The ANS is the master controller of the body's metabolism, hormone production, immune system, and emotions. 

Dysautonomia - is a term used to describe dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. It is typically used as a term for certain illnesses including Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy(RSD) and POTS.

However, some researchers and clinicians believe that Dysautonomia is a contributing factor with many other chronic illnesses including: Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, MCS, PTSD, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME, CFS). ANS imbalance may also be related to many other conditions and symptoms including:

Chronic Pain
Post Concussion syndrome
Adrenal Fatigue
High/low Blood Pressure
Learning disabilities
Emotional dysregulation
peripheral neuropathy

**It is important to always see a medical doctor to address any medical conditions and symptoms. Symptoms may be a sign of serious illness. 

Stress, trauma, and the ANS

There are many sources of stress and trauma including: emotional, psychological, physical, chemical, viral, and bacterial that have an impact on optimal brain function. This can overload the nervous system and put it in a chronic state of autonomic nervous system imbalance that can result in many chronic health problems and physical/ emotional symptoms. This can sensitize the brain which keeps a person stuck in a state of "fight/ flight/freeze", keeping the body from regenerating.

Many chronic illnesses, physical and emotional symptoms, pain syndromes, and addictions are a result of or exacerbated by an autonomic nervous system imbalance due to physical and emotional trauma, excessive stress, surgery, toxic exposure, difficult birth, viruses, bacteria, and alcohol/drug abuse resulting in an overactive survival instinct. (fight/flight/freeze response). This wreaks havoc on all of the systems of the body resulting in a multitude of symptoms. When the nervous system is imbalanced due to trauma it keeps the body's systems from functioning properly.

“What a great majority, if not all, ‘syndromal’ clients have in common is a functional disorder in how the autonomic nervous system is responding to stress.” Peter Levine

The Power of Neuroplasticity:

The good news is that our brain and nervous system is more malleable then was previously thought. We can rewire our brain and learn to balance our nervous system through the power of neuroplasticity.

In Dr. Norman Doidge's new book, "The Brain's Way of Healing" , he describes how the mind and body can become partners in healing the brain. He gives examples of how somatic and sensory based approaches can help rewire the brain.

Craniosacral therapy , myofascial release and somatic experiencing help rewire the autonomic nervous system and counteract the deleterious effects of stress and trauma.

There are many ways to help retrain your ANS:

Guided Imagery
EFT- Emotional Freedom Techniques
spending time in nature
connect to others
chi kung​/tai chi
Limbic re-training programs
Chiropractic Neurology
Sensory Integration​
Vagus Nerve stimulation

**The information provided on this site is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as diagnosis, treatment or prescription for any disease or illness. The decision to use, or not to use, any of this information is the sole responsibility of the reader. Always consult with a licensed health care practitioner when dealing with as disease, illness, or health condition. 

                       copyright 2018 Walter Blick, New York, New York

The Autonomic Nervous System
A missing link in the treatment of chronic health conditions, pain syndromes and developmental challenges