Relaxation and the Parasympathetic Nervous System

Many of my patients talk about how much they want to have a baby. They are diligent patients and wait hours in lobbies to see their western fertility specialist, micromanage their lifestyle and constantly rearranging their schedules around their treatment protocols. In all that hustle and bustle it is hard to take a moment to relax let alone several. For many people relaxing means sitting in front of the T.V., reading a good book or talking with friends over a cup of coffee. These are good forms of mild relaxation. Many would say that this is enough to allow a moment for the body to switch into a more comfortable place. I would like to argue however that these moments are precious but are still fraught with noise, appointment books, commercials and realities outside of the one that really counts: the one we are in now. So how does someone really relax the mind and body and bring ones full conscious focus to a quiet and still space? There are many techniques but the ones I recommend are meditation and acupuncture. So why is relaxation important or even related to fertility treatment? Allow me to answer this by addressing the question through a western medical perspective. True relaxation means that the parasympathetic nervous system increases and the sympathetic nervous system decreases. For those who are a little rusty on their anatomy: the “parasympathetic system is responsible for stimulation of “rest-and-digest” or “feed and breed” activities that occur when the body is at rest, especially after eating, including sexual arousal, salivation, lacrimation (tears), urination, digestion and defecation. Its action is described as being complementary to that of the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for stimulating activities associated with the fight-or-flight response.” (Web-MD, Wikipedia) Work, busy schedules, caffeine, loud and busy environments and tv all activate our sympathetic nervous system. Everything to do with fertility is almost entirely controlled by the parasympathetic including the itch to get busy. You heard me, no parasympathetic=no hanky panky. What are the best ways to activate the parasympathetic nervous system? Good question. My solution and the one that I often offer to my patients is a regular acupuncture treatment and daily moxibustion (heat treatment) and meditation regime. Acupuncture and heat treatment stimulate the parasympathetic and are great ways to reorganize your body. This combined with meditation can be a potent mixture to heavily affect your life in a positive way. I don’t recommend any meditation method in particular although I like zen and vipassana methods personally. Their are so many different forms of meditation out there and to be honest they all have the same affect but in different ways. I recommend finding a method that fits you and sticking with it for at least 3 months. Let it become part of your routine and I promise you will see the effects not just in your sex life and fertility treatment but also in your everyday life. So to sum it up: make your everyday a parasympathetic day. Sit bones down to a better and more balanced life. This post was a little long so I will go into how to use your basal temperature, cervical mucous and ovulation schedule in your fertility journey in my next post. Here is your daily moment of Japanese: fallopian tubes  卵管 rankan ovaries 卵巣 ransou uterus 子宮 shikyu     Courtesy of: Acupuncturist Heather Maya Suzuki Acura Acupuncture     above image courtesy of  adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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