Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. Fibromyalgia may be accompanied by a variety of other conditions such as Irritable bowel syndrome, migraine and other types of headaches, Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome and temporomandibular joint disorders. Exactly how fibromyalgia and IBS are related isn’t well-understood, but many pain experts believe the connection as a single disorder that causes pain in different areas over a lifetime. Over the years I have come across many people that suffer from Fibromyalgia and the underlying themes are frustration, discouragement, and despair. Imagine a widespread pain that you cannot escape, it is there when you wake and is there to tuck you in at night.
With that said, there is a new hope that does not require the use of pharmaceuticals which we all know can come with some not so pleasant side effects. More studies have been done over the last few years that are discovering the effects of the Vagus nerve and how stimulating the Vagus Nerve can calm the symptoms of Fibromyalgia and the other conditions that may accompany it.
The Vagus nerve, also called the 10th cranial nerve, is the longest and most complex of the cranial nerves. The vagus nerve runs from the brainstem through the face and thorax to the abdomen and interfaces with the parasympathetic control of the heart, lungs, and digestive tract. It is responsible for stimulating muscles in the pharynx, larynx, and the soft palate, which is the fleshy area near the back of the roof of the mouth, stimulating muscles in the heart, where it helps to lower resting heart rate, and stimulating involuntary contractions in the digestive tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and most of the intestines, which allow food to move through the tract.
So, let’s get to the nitty gritty. How can Gyrotonic exercise help? The Gyrotonic Method includes gentle yet inherently powerful movements along with corresponding breathing patterns that nurture the nervous system.
This combination stimulates the Vagus Nerve. Gyrotonic allows us to deeply strengthen, elongate through chronic tension, and move fluidly through space while not tiring out or overloading the body’s response. The result is a more calm and open body, with less pain and an overall sense of wellbeing.