The Nervous System: Where Body and Mind Connect
Jan 30, 2013 08:37PM
● By Joanna Helms, Certified Herbalist
The nervous system is a model of a holistic approach to healing. Our nervous system provides the connection for the physical and the psychological aspects of our human being. This connection is acknowledged by both a holistic approach and by an orthodox medicine viewpoint. Both viewpoints allow for a combined understanding that may be used to support the health of the nervous system for balanced wellness.
Our nervous system translates information between the external and internal worlds. The information then travels through all nerve tissue. Once the nerve tissue functions receive the information it is then transmitted to our nerve centers. At this point our body initiates a response to the information received. Our personal experience may take the form of everyday life. For example, demands of work and family are normal daily activities that contain emotional fluctuations. Everyone has experienced, at one time or another, the overwhelming feeling of a little too much on one’s psychological plate. How one chooses to respond to their external environment may initiate wellness or create a platform for dis-ease in their internal environment.
Orthodox medicine acknowledges the pathway of psychological and physical influences on illness and its connection to the nervous system. This connection is recognized by the concepts known as psychosomatic or somatopsychic. The psychosomatic concept relates that psychological factors may influence physical problems, and the somatopsychic concept puts forward the idea of physical factors affecting the psychological balance. In this basic understanding, one may deduce each system, psychological or physical, will have an impact upon the other whether positive or negative.
A holistic approach acknowledges the physical and psychological as one, with a constant movement of energy flow. This movement takes a foothold in the nerve tissue, and by strengthening the functions of the nerve tissue it creates the opportunity for whole body vitality. With this point of view, a number of conditions have a united relationship with the nervous system: anxiety, asthma, depression, fatigue, high blood pressure, shingles, thyroid, and ulcers. Traditional Herbal Medicine offers a variety of herbs beneficial to the nervous system. They provide tone and nourishment for the nervous system, and are categorized as a nervine. The nervine tonics, relaxants, sedative, and stimulants address both psychological and physical concerns.
For example, Motherwort (Leonurus cardiac) is a perfect herb to express the integration of viewpoints and support the physical and psychological oneness. Motherwort is a nervine plant, cardiac tonic, and anti-spasmodic. The anti-spasmodic action will directly affect the muscles and nerve tissue, which in turn has a relaxing effect on the whole body system. When the physical body feels less tension, then the psyche will be at ease. This herb supports the heart in all situations where anxiety and tension dominate. Herbal nervines make a good match for strengthening and toning the nervous system. The unique restorative quality of herbal medicine opens the pathway and pairs with the body’s innate healing process.
Joanna Tunstall-Helms holds a B.A. in Communication Disorders and is a Certified Herbalist practicing since 1995. Joanna owns and manages “Mama Jo’s Sunshine Herbals” in Indian Harbor Beach where she teaches a variety of classes in herbology. To understand how herbs can help with anxiety, asthma, depression, fatigue, high blood pressure, shingles, thyroid, and ulcers attend her presentation at the Healthy Living Expo on February 9. For more information or class schedules call 321-779-4647.