Gas Pedal Versus Brake Pedal
In our office, we talk about this concept of the gas pedal versus the brake pedal. For our nervous system to be in balance, the gas pedal should be balanced out by the brake pedal. Think of it like this: when we’re stressed, our body goes into fight or flight mode. Our blood flow moves from our internal organs to our muscles, our non-essential systems like digestion and reproduction get down-regulated, and our adrenaline and other stress hormones up-regulate to prepare us to run from the saber-toothed tiger that wants to eat us. Even though there are no longer saber-toothed tigers after us, our bodies respond the same way as if we were about to run for our lives. This response is managed by our sympathetic nervous system and what we refer to as the gas pedal. If we have a gas pedal then we must have a brake pedal and we do, it’s called our parasympathetic nervous system. This part of our nervous system is in charge of recognizing when the threat or stress event is over, pumping the brakes on those stress reactions we had during fight or flight mode, and helping us return to a balanced state.
Sounds simple, right? The problem is that stress in our modern world is much more complicated than whether there is a saber-toothed tiger chasing us or not. We experience stress in three ways: traumas (physical), toxins (chemical), and thoughts (emotional). We call this the 3 T’s of stress. These stressors can overwhelm our system and cause us to get stuck in a state of stress or gas pedal pressed to the floor constantly. This continued state of stress fatigues the body and mind and causes a state of dis-ease or a lack of ease in the body that can lead to illness and other issues. So, how do we pump the brakes if they aren’t naturally kicking in? With a chiropractic adjustment.
There is a nerve that runs from your brain down through your body called the Vagus nerve. This nerve can kick on the parasympathetic nervous system and essentially pump the brake pedal on that stress response. Chiropractic adjustments stimulate the Vagus nerve, which in turn helps pump the brake pedal on our stress response and bring us back into a state of balance or ease. Being in a state of balance allows you to sleep better, digest better, fight off infections better and a whole bunch more. Being in balance allows our body to perform at its best, the way it was meant to on every level. So when we talk about needing to pump the brake pedal, it’s because we’re seeing that the gas pedal is stuck on which means stress is stuck on. By giving you a great chiropractic adjustment, we pump the brake pedal on that stress response and help you get back to a state of ease.