Andrew Taylor Still, Osteopath’s founder, said the body contains all the healing substances it needs. And indeed humans have within their nervous systems equally the antidote to the social epidemic of excess stress.
The autonomic system embodies the advantage of a speedy, whole body response to changing circumstance. However, we have evolved a yet higher capacity.
We have, even during the most trying of circumstances, the ability to slow down and to decide how we shall respond. The ability to make decisions deliberately is perhaps our most uniquely human characteristic.
Between stimulus and response there is a vast realm. We have the ability to sort through our feelings, our thoughts and sensations and to consciously decide how we are to respond. This is the unique capacity of the human cerebrum.
The cerebrum housing the conscious mind, is, essentially, a mechanism we use to slow down our processes and to decide who we want to be and how we want to act; as opposed to speedy and automatic reactions that characterize all lower levels of the nervous system.
The ability to slow down is one of the great privileges of being human.
Massage therapists and other practitioners of meditative disciplines represent advocacy groups precisely for the social necessity of slowing down, contemplating our situation, our habitual responses, and then making deliberative, balanced responses.