Health & Fitness

Visualization, Vagus Nerve and Spirals

Kristen Sparrow • October 01, 2023

photo of Sparrow text about visualization
Click here for video version

This video makes the parallel between the brain science behind visualization, and how we think about acupuncture can help or hurt out results.

Spirals are everywhere in nature.  Our bodies incorporate spirals also in all of our feedback loops, which is one of the prime ways that acupuncture works.

I have been interested in visualization since I was in Medical School.  There are noted extremely successful people like Michael Jordan who practiced visualization with world class results.

So I bring it up because a pitfall with Acupuncture results is that patients sometimes don’t even realize them.  It’s sort of the opposite of a placebo effect, where people get results from a fake drug.

Acupuncture works in many ways, but one of the main ones is that it increases vagal activity, which causes better sleep, less inflammation, better mood, and allows for better habit control.  This is in addition to specific symptom relief, such as migraine, allergies or back pain.

And since we are a sceptical society the fact that it works in unconventional ways, people disregard the effects, or explain them away even whey THEY are the beneficiaries.

An aspect of visualization for a result you want, is that if you are able to visualize effectively, it not only primes you to recognize opportunities that will lead to the result you want, but it will also make the end point familiar so that you recognize it as familiar and not threatening.  This is a key insight for how visualization interleaves with brain science.

So with acupuncture, I don’t ask people necessarily visualize the result they want since people with think I’m a crack pot, but I do want them to remain open.  Open to subtle changes that occur and not attribute them to chance or some other change in their life.

If they do that they are dismissing what might be a key tool for them to use to get their best life.

Part of my goal in doing these blog posts and videos, is to introduce some of the science and evidence behind acupuncture so that, too, will help with the visualization of how it, and other healthy activities like exercise, breathing, sauna and yoga can leverage the incredible, but subtle feedback systems in the body to get you going in the right direction.

But keep in mind, spirals in nature are everywhere.  Our bodies are no different. Acupuncture sets various feedback loops into motion, some of nature’s spirals.  So where we feel we are just in ground hog day, with such slow progress, we are actually slowly spiraling upward towards our visualized future.  The biggest trap is to wish for fast results.  Sometimes you get them, but often you don’t.

As  I think it was Bill Gates said, “People overestimate what they can do in a day, but vastly underestimate what they can do in a year.”  And just imagine what you could be with constant practice in 3 years or 5?