What every parent needs to know about the central nervous system!

Is your child struggling socially, behaviourally, academically or even on the sports field? The central nervous system could be at the root of the problem.

When we talk about children’s health and wellbeing we automatically consider exercise, nutrition and mental stimulation. However, the primary function that is vital for good health is often overlooked: the nervous system.

Our nervous system plays a crucial role in regulating our bodies. It works tirelessly behind the scenes to deliver messages from the brain to the body and back again, to regulate our heart and respiration rate, temperature control, immune and hormone system whilst we carry on with our day-to-day lives. If the nervous system isn’t functioning properly, the body is thrown into a state of confusion; misreading messages and mishandling the body’s systems.

1. First of all, what exactly is the Central Nervous System (CNS)?

The CNS is the communicator between the left and right hemispheres of the brain and around the body. It works at lightning speed, processing and releasing information millions of times a minute.

It consists of the brain, the spinal cord and the nerves and is the ‘computer of the body’ in that it interprets information from our eyes (sight), ears (sound), nose (smell), tongue (taste) and skin (touch), as well as from vital organs (such as the stomach) and initiates a system of physical reactions based on these experiences, thoughts, feelings and movements.

For example: If we perceive we are under threat, the CNS will respond by flooding the body with adrenaline and cortisol which tells muscles to tense in preparation for exertion, breathing and heart rate to increase, and non-essential functions to cease – this is the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism. On the flip side, an overabundance of adrenaline and cortisol can interrupt hormones like serotonin which can lead to issues such as anxiety, depression, insomnia and muscle problems.

In this way, the CNS is the balancing act of the body and is vital for keeping us safe – and for keeping us happy.

2. Why is it so important in children?

In these days of fast food, fast living and quick fixes, many of our children are struggling to keep up with the demands of school and life. Furthermore, the advent of technology means that our children are ‘on’ 24/7. There is little respite. A stressed child cannot be rational, logical, emotionally balanced, in control or even attempt to learn – learning can only take place when one feels relaxed; then the brain will function optimally.

Protracted periods of stress effect a child’s performance academically, physically, neurologically, biochemically and emotionally. At the Sunflower Trust, we have found that a child who is performing poorly often begins to lack confidence and falls into a downward spiral from which he or she is unable to find a way back.

The Sunflower Programme begins with ‘re-booting the body’ to reverse that spiral and bring a child back to a state of wellness, confidence and happiness.

3. Where can the nervous system go wrong?

A misconnection in the nervous system can occur anytime during brain development, even in the womb, but it generally remains undetected until obvious symptoms occur, usually at school age, and can be the root of learning, behavioral and social problems.
Moreover, to perform optimally, the nervous system must rest on a well-aligned musculoskeletal system and receive enough bio-chemicals (i.e. vitamins). These factors give the necessary form, support, stability and nourishment for the body, and without them, the nervous system cannot serve us fully.

4. What can I do as a parent?

Listen to what your child’s body is telling you. A nervous system which is misfiring can lead to confusion, challenges, a lack of comprehension and a lack of confidence. The general signs an expert would look at are:
Overall lack of balance and coordination
How they hold a pencil and record
How they sit on a carpet, concentrate and listen
How well they refine ideas and become resilient
How they process information and understand
What they see and hear, so they know what to do
How they are able to show (express) knowledge in written form


The Sunflower Programme methods are non-invasive and drug-free. So, how does the programme work?
Each programme is tailor-made to address each child’s unique musculoskeletal, neurological and bio-chemical needs. However, for the purposes of this article we can summarise the process as follows:

The first aspect a practitioner will tackle is the musculoskeletal system – any mis-alignment in the pelvic girdle, shoulder girdle, spine, legs or arms is adjusted using osteopathic methods. This has an immediate effect on the way a child stands, sits, walks and presents him or herself, plus improves how the body is functioning on the inside – digestion works better, breathing is improved, blood flow to the brain increases and the child is able to think and perform better academically.

Next, systemic kinesiology is applied to assess and activate the neurological integration of the eyes, ears, balance and co-ordination and ensure both sides of the brain work effectively and as it should. This work helps the body’s nerves to evolve as they should do naturally and improves the way a child speaks, reads, writes and communicates.

The remaining physical aspect the programme addresses is the biochemistry of the body. Any deficits in elements or conditions required to support hormone, enzyme and other biological systems are re-balanced to ensure healthy growth and development. Dietary advice and short-term food supplements may be recommended whilst the body heals, however, once optimal structure returns, the body’s biochemistry will naturally re-balance.

Finally, a practitioner will work with a child and his or her emotions to address any negative associations that may further hinder a child’s happiness and wellbeing. Removing these negative associations helps the child feel more in touch with themselves and more in control of their life and destiny – they grow in confidence and have improved self-esteem.
In the words of one our Sunflower Practitioners, ‘”it is an extremely empowering experience and will stay with them for the rest of their lives”.

6. Theo, a Case Study

‘A friend recommended the Sunflower Programme and I was certainly not prepared for what happened next. The Sunflower Practitioner showed me how misaligned Theo’s body was – he was lopsided, appeared to have flat feet and one leg longer than the other. Slowly he fixed Theo up and with each visit I was able to report back improvements. After one particular visit, Theo and I ran a mile together – I cried most of the way. For the first time in his life he welcomed a run and enjoyed it.

What I didn’t expect so quickly with the realignment of Theo’s physic was that his confidence in his own ability would grow to the extent it did, which has meant that he has tackled work at school head-on. He is becoming a bookworm – loving reading stories and always keen to move onto the next. His writing has improved and his spelling tests have gone from zero to hero, and he won award after award. Theo can be whatever he wants to be – his life is in his control – an exciting place to be and what’s more – he knows it!’

Contact the Sunflower Programme: 0845 054 7509 or email enquiries@sunflowerprogramme.co.uk.

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