What is the nervous system and why is it important?
On a basic level, the nervous system is the main control system of the human body. All of the sensory input we receive from the external world goes through our nervous system, and how we process and respond to this input greatly changes the way we view the world around us.
It has two branches, the central and peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system is made up of the nerves that come from the spine. The peripheral nervous system can be broken down into the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic represents our active response to life and stress; it is the accelerator responsible for the fight or flight activation. The parasympathetic nervous system is known for taking us back down to the rest and relax response, where digestion and wound healing can happen and also where we can socially connect with others around us.
Polyvagal theory, postulated by Stephen Porges, breaks down the parasympathetic response into two parts, represented by different nerves. These include the ventral vagus (the mammalian response of rest and relax, the social engagement and ability to speak with vocal prosody. The second part is the dorsal vagus, which is the more primitive/reptilian response. This includes the overwhelm, or shutdown response, originally created to help us play dead in extreme situations. This is also activated during sleep, basically paralyzing our body so that we can get really deep rest.
What is the difference between a balanced and unbalanced nervous system?
In an ideal world, we smoothly dance between states of sympathetic activation and parasympathetic relaxation. Life excites and inspires us and we are activated into a state of delighted response and then we settle back into a state of relaxation. This would be representative of a balanced nervous system. The stresses of modern life, however, often stimulate more of the sympathetic nervous system than the parasympathetic. Coffee, for example, is a common stimulator that we use to activate the sympathetic nervous system, getting ourselves to action so we can complete the work in front of us or simply get going when we feel exhausted. When we over engage in this type of activation though, it can become increasingly challenging to move back to the state of rest and relaxation.
In fact, when we continually engage the sympathetic nervous system without allowing for ourselves to move back into the sympathetic rest and relax response, our baseline level of stress starts increasing. The world around us becomes increasingly stressful as we are in the sympathetic state from the moment we wake up. Having a heightened level of sympathetic activation changes our perception - peoples’ faces and tones seem more threatening. We may find ourselves reacting in a big way to a small thing, for example shouting in our car at someone who switched lanes without a blinker.
On the flip side, when we engage regularly in activities that bring us back to the parasympathetic state, we can bring our levels of stress down. This is what we mean by having a balanced nervous system. The amount of anxiety and tension that we feel when we first wake up in the morning and when we go to bed at night is lower and our general state of being is calm, centered and relaxed. If an outside stressor shows up, we can choose how to respond to the situation instead of getting triggered and reacting in a way that we may regret later. This is essential in life to maintain healthy relationships and showing up in an embodied way.
Additionally, flow states are more readily accessible when the nervous system is balanced. Flow states are when you are so immersed in what you are doing that you don’t even have to think, it all just unfolds with ease and grace. Creative people access flow in their expressions, such as playing music or painting. Flow states are also found in high-performance athletes and even business people who get deeply inspired by their work.
How does the Lucia N°03 positively impact the Nervous System?
As mentioned previously, regularly engaging in activities that assist the nervous system in moving into the parasympathetic state allows the nervous system to become balanced. The Lucia N°03 is a tool for accessing deep states of relaxation, in a beautiful and inspiring way.
The wide-spectrum light of the halogen bulb in the center of the Lucia N°03 lights is reminiscent of the sun, allowing the body to relax and open.
Additionally, the rhythmic stimulation of the flickering light is very calming to the nervous system. In addition to gently entraining the brain to the alpha-theta state of consciousness (which is ideal for creativity and spiritual exploration), the flickering light allows the body to relax and let go. Deep relaxation is a near-universal experience after a session with the Lucia N°03.
With all the stimulation of the outer world, it may be hard to just sit and meditate in stillness and silence. The Lucia N°03 opens up a beautiful world of wonder and beauty that meets you where you are at and gently takes you into a deeper state of relaxation.
A series of sessions assists in lowering the baseline level of stress, opening up more flexibility in the nervous system. The body knows how to relax and let go, even in times of intensity and change. Life takes on a new vibrancy and excitement, creativity and joy are more easily accessible.
Interested in learning more about the nervous system?
Check out this YouTube Video by Allison from Traveling Light: