The limbic system is the command and control centre for a considerable part of the hormonal and autonomic nervous responses through out the body. The limbic system is a collection of glands situated in the lower centre of the brain below the cortex and above the brain stem, either side of the thalamus. It comprises of the Hypothalamus, Amygdale, Cingulated Gyrus, Fornix, Hippocampus, Hypophysis and the Olfactory Cortex. These limbic system structures are involved in many of our emotions and motivations, particularly those that are related to survival.
The fight-flight, automatic emotional memory response takes place in the amygdale. This gland responds to sensory stimulation and retrieves memory responses to similar situations being perceived, saving the time and bother to figure out how to react to the situation or stimulation. This response happens in the moment when a person senses a threat. The reaction is instant and automatic, whereas it takes a little longer for the thinking part of the brain (the cortex) to process the situation and evaluate whether the threat is real, and if so, how to handle it.
If the cortex sends the all-clear signal, the fight-flight response is deactivated and the nervous system can relax, however, when the cortex, the logical thinking mind, is unable to send the all clear signal, or the all clear signal is ignored, overridden by the automatic amygdale response, then a situation of uncontrolled anxiety or stress can go beyond the conscious control of the individual. When this happens on a regular basis, over a long period of time, the mind - body connection forms an almost permanent anxiety response and stimulating an adrenal overload, often in situations which do not require such a response.
This whole process in western terminology, takes place in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous pathways which lead from the limbic centre to the organ systems needed to react to the stimulation such as, the heart, the adrenals or the liver. To counteract the stimulation of the sympathetic pathway to the response, the parasympathetic is stimulated, which then, switches off the response.
There can be times of over stimulation of the sympathetic pathways which lead to a chronic situation where the parasympathetic can no longer offer an adequate control response. And the whole system turns from being a survival technique to a possible causative factor in illness. Acupuncture has the incredible ability to help regulate the parasympathetic nervous pathways of the “fight and flight response”, to regain a sense of balance and harmony within the limbic glandular systems.
Acupuncture helps to re balance many of the control mechanisms, of the pituitary or Hypophysis within the brain, this is thought to be the probable factor in why acupuncture is so successful in helping women to conceive and become pregnant.