I just read a very interesting article in the May issue of Fast Company about a cardiologist and systems engineer who are raising eyebrows and hope with their revolutionary inventions to treat chronic diseases. One paragraph in particular really grabbed my attention and confirmed for me why reflexology is so needed in our culture today.
Long ago the instantaneous response of our sympathetic nervous system helped us to stay alive in an unpredictable, hostile world. Today’s environment is much different than that of our ancestors who lived with daily threats to their survival. Howard Levin and Mark Gelfand have a theory that the prevalence of many of the serious health conditions that plague our modern society can be traced to the evolutionary lag in our nervous system’s response to our current environment; i.e., how our body functions – and malfunctions – in this new and crazy world that we inhabit.
The two entrepreneurs believe that many of the serious diseases that exist today, like heart failure, hypertension and diabetes, “have the same root cause; are in fact one disease in different guises.” With the exception of cancer, they believe that “all prevalent diseases in the Western world result from a nervous system that has not yet adapted to our longevity, or recognized that we inhabit a technologically advanced world.”
To further paraphrase Levin and Gelfand, “Evolution works in 50,000-year increments, not in decades. This means that humans still carry within the instructional remnants that helped us cope and survive in a very different world, where life spans were brief, everyday threats were mortal and fight-or-flight responses were crucial. We don’t fight or flight a lot these days. Yet a primitive branch of our nervous system – the sympathetic branch – automatically and instantly initiates those same survival responses to perceived danger. Suddenly there is a quickening of the pulse or breath, a spike in blood pressure, an internal drenching of adrenaline.” These disproportionate responses signal the brain to initiate physiological changes that over time wreak havoc on our health.
So, until such time as our nervous system catches up with society and initiates a more appropriate response to the current conditions, I will continue to acknowledge the importance of reflexology – in my life, at least. By shifting the autonomic nervous system from sympathetic to parasympathetic – the only state in which the body can rest and repair – reflexology can short-circuit those bodily overreactions that over time result in life-threatening imbalances.
What do you think?