How To Activate the “Rest and Digest” System

By Guest Blogger   |  6Comments|

By Giuliana Torre

The key for optimum health is operating from the parasympathetic nervous system as opposed to the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). The sympathetic nervous system is what activates the flight or fight response. It is triggered by stress, fear, caffeine, and just about anything else that causes the heart rate to increase and keeps us living on an adrenaline rush. For many of us, this is a state that is sustained all day long by information overload, stressful relationships, demanding work schedules, children and anything else that might be draining our energy.

The parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS), on the other hand, is called the “rest and digest” system. It conserves energy as it slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and glandular activity, and relaxes sphincter muscles in the gastrointestinal tract. Essentially, diseases and chronic conditions initiate when the body is operating predominantly from the SNS; healing and regeneration can only occur when the body is operating from the PSNS. Have you ever noticed that when you take off for a vacation, it takes you anywhere from 1 to 3 days to relax? That is your body shifting from the SNS to the PSNS. True rest and relaxation can only occur once this happens, and the body is then able to begin the process of self-healing, which it is absolutely designed to do.

Scientists have known this for quite some time… so, why is it that most of us are always rushing and stressing even though we know it’s not good for our health? Do we need a 10-year clinical study to link chronic stress to every disease known to man? If you are not willing to wait for that, here are some easy steps you can take to keep your body in a state of relaxation.

1. Slow down the breath; it can be as simple as this:

Inhale for 10 counts, hold for 10 counts, exhale for 10 counts. This three point breath will relax the body and mind instantly, and when done consistently, can bring you back to center. Practice for 3 to 11 minutes.

-Inhale Love
-Hold Peace
-Exhale Light

2. Chanting Naam (chanting meditation); just a few minutes a day will change your vibration and therefore your health.

Chanting specific mantra stimulates the meridian points on the roof of the mouth and is like performing accu-pressure on yourself. It is very important to be able to heal yourself; no one else can do it for you.

-3 minutes of Naam purifies the blood;
-11 minutes of Naam purifies the pituitary gland;
-22 minutes of Naam allows protective, projective, and intuitive intelligence:

-Projective: you will see the good in the bad
-Protective: you will see the bad in good
-Intuitive: combines both to find the best course of action

3. Give the body a rest from food; fasting has been known to almost instantly bring the body into a relaxed (“rest and digest”) state.

Fasting has been shown to suppress SNS activity, lower blood pressure, and activate opiates. Furthermore, it corrects unbalanced psycho-physiological systems and restores health by stabilizing the nervous system. The alpha waves are slowed and synchronized and theta waves are increased, leading to a more relaxed and introspective state of awareness, a reduction in neurosis, and less focus on the superficial that normally characterize the waking state. The results are similar to those achieved by chanting meditation or Naam Simran.

4. Harmonyum Healing; the fastest way to cross over to the PSNS.

Based in the science of Kabbalah, the Harmonyum Healing System was created by Joseph Michael Levry (Gurunam) to help facilitate healing on the planet. A Harmonyum session instantly relaxes the nervous systems and brings tremendous amounts of light into the heart. In doing so, it helps us moves through our Body of Pain by allowing us to slow down long enough to realize what our unhealthy patterns are, whether they are in the physical, emotional or spiritual plane.

Giuliana Torre is the founder of The Juicy Naam, an organic juice bar and healing center with locations in Sag Harbor and East Hampton, New York. After a successful career on Wall Street, Giuliana traded in the stressful life and founded the juice bar, now a premier place on Long Island’s East End to experience the most healing juices, superfoods, yoga and bodywork. The Juicy Naam Cleanse incorporates the principles of Universal Kabbalah and is customized to each client.

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6 responses to How To Activate the “Rest and Digest” System
  1. Great tips, always good to have a reminder to do these things!

  2. Thank you for this validating reminder that living life as an adrenaline junkie really holds no glamour.

  3. Tina said on May 20, 2010

    As someone with a sensitive nervous system, I was very glad to read this post. I didn’t realize how beneficial fasting is. Thanks!

  4. I loved this post. It’s just what I needed to read as I gear up for my three-month busy season at work. Thanks for the info!

  5. L-l-l-l-l-ove this!!!!!!! Thank you so much for this piece. I’m saving it on my desktop and will be attempting to incorporate these practices into my life.

  6. I disagree that fasting is going to be relaxing for everyone. I’ve tried it a few times, the extreme hunger leaves me grumpy and anxious, not relaxing at all.