Finding The Right Balance

By Dr. Bryant Harris
Finding The Right Balance

Did you know that mastering head control is essential to your balance, posture, and coordination (i.e. strength)?

Unfortunately, many don’t.

But here is how….The Vestibular System.  (the what?!?!)

Yup...the vestibular system.

What is the Vestibular System?

See, the vestibular system lives in your head, right behind your ears and handles your balance (and keep your head level with the horizon).

Keeping your head level??  Why does that sound familiar??

Because as a doctor focused on NeuroStructural Correction specifically look for something called the atlas displacement complex (ADC). (Can’t remember what that is?  Feel free to refresh yourself by checking out Is My Head On Straight?)

A healthy functioning vestibular system is integral for a healthy, strong body.To be honest, total health cannot exist separate from a healthy vestibular system.  Quite possibly, the vestibular system is the most important sensory system you have.

Everything about you is shaped by how your vestibular system functions...Your sense of self...your reality...your balance...your posture...your ability to hold your head up and maintain your gaze with the horizon...your ability to learn...your experiences…EVERYTHING.

My point is this…your vestibular system is the hub for all the information that goes into your brain.  This information in conjunction with information generated by the vestibular system itself, feeds and nourishes your brain.How you orient your self in space (your proprioceptive system) is intimately tied with the vestibular system.  They work synergistically to form your body map, or your movement map.  The better your movement map is, the better you move.Your visual and auditory systems are tied to vestibular system and responds to the information that it provides.

Your autonomic operating system (the system that controls that unconscious things like your heart rate, respiratory rate, digestion, perspiration, arousal, etc.) is tied to your vestibular system.The vestibular system is also connected to every single muscle in the body, especially the core and neck muscles.

Therefore, a healthy vestibular system is critical to having a healthy body.

So...How does one build a healthy vestibular system?

Your vestibular system is designed to detect movement and receive information.If you feed that design, ultimately you can improve it’s function.

So, the more you move…the more you stimulate the vestibular system.

The more you stimulate the vestibular system…the more neural connections you make in your brain and your body.

What I am trying to convey is that you can move your way to having a healthier vestibular system, there a healthier, stronger, more resilient body.

But if we see that movement improves the vestibular system and heals the body, then not moving does just the opposite?

Yup…if you don’t move, you are not stimulating the vestibular system (or your brain, your nervous system, or your muscular system).

Given that we receive so much information from our proprioceptive, auditory and visual system... what happens to the vestibular system if our head does not rest level with the horizon?

Dysfunction...and this is where Atlas Displacement comes into play. Because, if you can’t control your head and its movements, you cannot own control of your body and its movements.

See, the positioning of the head on top of the C1 and C2 vertebra are closely related to the vestibular nucleus (aka the control center for the entire vestibular system responsible for maintaining upright posture).

The positioning of the head and neck can affect the way that the eustachian tubes function.  It can dictate how fluid in the inner ear is moving.  More importantly, act as a gate keeper for all the signals coming into the brain that say what the remainder of the spine is doing.

So, if you want your vestibular system to work in the manner it was intended (making sure you’re fully capable of expressing your body’s movement full potential), then the upper cervical spine and the brain stem has to be functioning correctly to make that happen.

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