The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is responsible for regulating automatic functions of the body such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, bladder control, sweating, and others. When this system is not functioning properly, syndromes such as POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) can result. Major symptoms of POTS include the following:
– Symptoms increase in the upright position and improve when lying down
– Persistent increase in heart rate of 30 beats per minute (40 bpm in persons under 19) within 10 minutes of standing up (blood pressure does not always drop)
– Dizziness, lightheadedness
– Fainting or blackouts
– Headaches and/or migranes
– Brain fog
– Shortness of breath when upright or with light activity
– Shakiness or tremors, often worse in an upright position
– Digestive problems (nausea, abdominal pain, etc.)
– Poor sleep
– Chronic pain
Symptoms are often worsened by triggers such as quick changes of position, dehydration, exercise or lack thereof, food (refined carbs such as sugar and white flour), and others. While the root cause of POTS is unknown, there are associated conditions and diseases that are often seen in persons with POTS. Some of these include autoimmune disorders, diabetes, mast cell disorders, low blood volume, following a time of prolonged bedrest, or following a major stressor such as surgery, pregnancy, major infection or traumatic event.
Although there are a number of factors that are involved in this syndrome, it has a significant link to a malfunctioning ANS. Once again, the nerves in this system are responsible for automatic functions in the body and affect structures such as organs and blood vessels. The outer layer of nerves is made up of fascia, a connective tissue, which has the ability to shorten or spasm in response to an injury, irritation or perceived threat to the nerve itself. This is a mechanical shortening driven by a spinal reflex and will not reset itself automatically once the injury has healed or the threat is no longer real. It continues to limit mobility and restrict optimal function, now aberrantly, until it can be mechanically shortened to state of total relaxation, which allows the spinal reflex, which runs it, to shut off.
A Counterstrain Practitioner is trained to assess for these protective spasms within the each of the tissue systems of the body and able to differentiate between stronger and lesser protective reflexes to be able to treat effectively, beginning with the most severe. Eliminating the protective reflexes within the ANS, as well as those affecting arteries and veins more locally, will allow each of these to function better, and thus reduce symptom presentation.
As you can see in the video demonstration, using Counterstrain to normalize tension within the nerves of the ANS will improve function of the blood vessels, thereby reducing symptoms experienced by positional changes in this young lady.