“The wandering nerve
The vagus nerve starts in the brainstem, just behind the ears. It travels down each side of the neck, across the chest and down through the abdomen. ‘Vagus’ is Latin for ‘wandering’ and indeed this bundle of nerve fibres roves through the body, networking the brain with the stomach and digestive tract, the lungs, heart, spleen, intestines, liver and kidneys, not to mention a range of other nerves that are involved in speech, eye contact, facial expressions and even your ability to tune in to other people’s voices. It is made of thousands and thousands of fibres and 80 per cent of them are sensory, meaning that the vagus nerve reports back to your brain what is going on in your organs.
Operating far below the level of our conscious minds, the vagus nerve is vital for keeping our bodies healthy. It is an essential part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for calming organs after the stressed ‘fight-or-flight’ adrenaline response to danger. Not all vagus nerves are the same, however: some people have stronger vagus activity, which means their bodies can relax faster after a stress.
The strength of your vagus response is known as your vagal tone and it can be determined by using an electrocardiogram to measure heart rate. Every time you breathe in, your heart beats faster in order to speed the flow of oxygenated blood around your body. Breathe out and your heart rate slows. This variability is one of many things regulated by the vagus nerve, which is active when you breathe out but suppressed when you breathe in, so the bigger your difference in heart rate when breathing in and out, the higher your vagal tone.
Research shows that a high vagal tone makes your body better at regulating blood glucose levels, reducing the likelihood of diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Low vagal tone, however, has been associated with chronic inflammation. As part of the immune system, inflammation has a useful role helping the body to heal after an injury, for example, but it can damage organs and blood vessels if it persists when it is not needed. One of the vagus nerve’s jobs is to reset the immune system and switch off production of proteins that fuel inflammation.”
Extract from article Huffington Post, full article link below:
“Midwife Amanda Burleigh has finally succeeded in her fight to change the guidelines for cutting off the umbilical cord after birth.”, By Alyssa Fiorentino
“After 10 years, midwife Amanda Burleigh has finally succeeded in her fight to change the guidelines for cutting off the umbilical cord after birth.
Since the 1950s, the standard for cutting the umbilical cord required that it be cut within seconds of the baby’s birth. This has been considered best practice as it is meant to reduce the risk of the hormonal injection—given to the mother to stop hemorrhaging—from reaching the baby’s blood stream and causing health issues. However, since the drug has been replaced with a safer alternative, Burleigh has questioned whether or not this practice should remain in place.
Over the past decade, the midwife has sought to change this method, insisting that the baby be kept attached to its mother longer. She followed her hunch, that the umbilical cord should not be cut while it is still pulsating with blood, with medical research that provided solid evidence that she was right.
Burleigh’s original thought was that cutting the cord too soon deprived the newborns of vital blood cells from the placenta. With the help of a group of fellow medical experts, evidence was found that the standard practice for cutting the cord could deprive a baby of one third of its blood stock. It was also linked to an increased risk of iron deficiency anaemia, which can lead to cognitive learning delays.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has officially changed the guidelines for cutting umbilical cords to now state that doctors and midwives should not routinely cut the cord “earlier than one minute from the birth of the baby.” It also suggests that the wait last anywhere from one to five minutes, or longer per the mother’s request.
Burleigh, who was recently named Midwife of the Year by the British Journal Of Midwifery, believes this is best for newborns.
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“Traumatic events in children’s lives can have the same effect as head trauma, a new study says.
The study, published recently in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, finds that emotional trauma at a young age may cause changes to the brain that are similar to head trauma.
The connection between emotional trauma’s and physical trauma’s effect on the brain is an increase in a protein called S100B. S100B is a protein usually found in the brain. But when the protein makes its way to the blood, this is a sign that the barrier that separates the brain from the rest of the body is leaky. This enables inflammatory compounds to make their way to the brain and perpetuate inflammation in the brain, often called neuroinflammation.
Dr. Falcone’s research team found that the same thing happens with emotional trauma as with physical trauma: the S100B protein levels are higher than normal. What’s more, the worse the trauma, the higher the levels of the S100B protein.
The researchers identified three important stressors that impact the intensity of the emotional trauma: how early in childhood the trauma occurred (if the trauma happen before age 8), the level of the trauma’s severity and whether the emotional trauma lasted longer than six months.
Although her team’s study results suggest a childhood trauma could cause inflammation in the brain that’s similar to what is seen in concussion, this inflammation could linger. This could lead to long-term consequences such as the development of psychiatric disorders later.”
By Children Health Team at Cleveland Clinic
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“Craniosacral-therapy for people seeking relief from stress, muscle strain, somatic dysfunction”, By Nicole Nalepa & Joseph Wenzel IV, News Editor
“A light-touch technique is gaining popularity among those dealing with pain and disorders.
Craniosacral therapy is a new kind of holistic treatment that’s started gaining popularity with some who are looking for relief from stress, strained muscles, or a dysfunction.
The difference between craniosacral therapy and a massage is therapists aren’t pushing the tissue around, they are mobilizing the tissue through a very light, manual touch on and along the bones, which are located from your skull all the way down to your pelvis.
“The ability to feel or palpate, is a trained, refined sensitivity in your hands,” Larson said. “What this does is it gets to the core. It really helps that central nervous system reset.”
Larson said she can feel the patterns of strain in the cerebrospinal fluid, which houses the brain and spinal column.
The weight of the pressure that you’re seeing being exerted right now on this client is […] between 0 grams to 5 grams; and 5 grams being the equivalent to the weight of a nickel.
“It’s not like a deep-tissue massage, or anything like that. It’s very, very relaxing, but in a different way,” Paradis said. “When I came in it was like my brain was having a little meltdown; there were all these synapses going off and little fireworks; and by the time I left that was kind of all calmed down and I could think clearly and process easier.”
Since her first session, four months ago, her daily headaches have stopped and she says she has been able to sleep better.[…]”
By Nicole Nalepa and Joseph Wenzel
For Cheryl Larson, licensed massage therapist
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