By Jessica Raaum Foster, Neurologyofpresence.com
I’m about to make you smarter than 98% of the population.
Ok, I totally made up that number… but that is about the percentage of people who have never heard of the vestibular system before I introduce it to them.
By the end of this article, you will know the basics of how the vestibular system functions, how to train it, and you will then be light years ahead of most of the fitness industry that still thinks standing on an unstable surface is a great way to improve your balance. (Hint: It’s not.)
Just inside your ears lives a network of tiny organs that is in charge of your balance as you move through the world. This is your vestibular system.
The Vestibular System answers two questions:
Which way is up? Which way am I going?
Each tiny organ signals movement in a particular direction:
Saccule: Vertical Movement (Ex. Riding in an elevator)
Utricle: Lateral movements (Ex. Riding in a car on a straight highway)
Canals: 3D Rotational movements (Ex spinning in an office chair)
To keep your vestibular system healthy, your head needs to move in each of these planes on a regular basis. Kids do this organically in play. They run, jump, twirl, fall, roll, etc. all over the place. Sports such as gymnastics, martial arts, and some forms of dance are excellent sources of high-dose vestibular stimulation.
We all know good balance is essential for injury prevention, but it does a lot more than just keep us upright. Your vestibular system also helps keep your vision clear while you are moving, assists in posture, and even impacts your breathing and blood pressure.
Deficits in any of these vestibular organs can cause issues like vertigo and motion sickness. If left uncorrected, it can lead to an array of problems including anxiety, depression, ADHD, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, scoliosis, osteoporosis, etc. But with some simple assessments, we can determine where the problem is in the vestibular system and retrain it specifically to get you back to feeling great.
So, get back out there and play.
Jessica Raaum Foster is a Neuro Performance Coach. For more information: www.NeurologyofPresence.com IG: @JessicaRaaumFoster, FB: @NeurologyofPresence
Image courtesy of sciencedirect.com
(image courtesy of sciencedirect.com)