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Thread: Why can we voluntarily control our Sympathetic Nervous System?

  1. #1 Why can we voluntarily control our Sympathetic Nervous System? 
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    Mar 2014
    I am a 50 year old man who is able to voluntarily control my heart rate, blood pressure, pupil dilation, and to some degree type of sweating. Over the years I had occasionally searched for others like me and I have found them online. All of us have the similar experiences including no one knowing anything about this; no studies, no explanations from doctors, nothing.

    I have worked in western and eastern medicine all my life. I know what is happening but don't know why/how? Myself and some others are trying to find others like us and have started a survey to try and glean our commonality:

    This is not triggered by breathing, physical action, or any gimmicky tricks; the speed of onset is less than one second with systemic responses and heart rate jumping to perhaps 170, 180, 190 (it depends; when we have pulseOx or other visible feedback we can target it to precise Heart Rate we wish). Blood pressure will rise to as high as 170 180 but heart at rest perhaps only 100 104. Nearly all of us describe the same thing and we can only go "up" before some of us can go "down."

    Has anyone heard of any studies or research that explores[d] this?
    The only studies I have found last century deal with decreased heart rate only and that secondary to meditation or breathing. Its as natural and fast as "wiggle thumb." This is a total sympathetic response and nearly all of us describe this as "squeezing" adrenaline.

    If you are medically associated, please ask around and advise. I now have more free time and wish to know about this partner all my life.
    Thank you.

    Last edited by Arjunadawn; April 18th, 2014 at 08:31 AM.
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  3. #2  
    Forum Masters Degree DianeG's Avatar
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    Nov 2013
    Ontario, Canada
    You could look into studies involving biofeed back.

    Just out of curiosity, Can you control different sympathetic or para sympathetic responses individually or activate one sympathetic and a different parasympathetic response at the same time?

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  4. #3  
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    Hi. Thanks. I have not looked into biofeedback, insofar as a study goes. In my countless nights in the ER or some other shift some colleagues and I variously hooked me up to EKG or pulseOx etc., and we all had fun watching me hit targets- 140,160,180bpm, etc. likewise for the b/p though the accuracy little less- 120/80, 160/90, 180/98 etc. Last week I spent whole day doing "it" and collecting urine in special catecholamine test jug. I am currently living in SE Asia so will now begin some first glance tests on my own. I cannot control individual things. On a site for lucid dreaming, dream views, some of us have bumped into each other, at least one from Canada, and others have reported various things differently than me; sending the surge to specific body parts, various reports of trying to train, etc. I would love to develop this but I am not certain that is correct thinking. I am inclined to worry that corresponding cortisol and other products might be doing harm. If this is primitive ability- flight or fight- I suspect it has a cost.Thanks for joining.
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  5. #4  
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    Last month I saw an Endocrine and had him administer a 24hr catch for metabolites of adrenaline. It took one month to get the results here in SE Asia.

    Today I was stunned to find my catecholamine test was negative. My metabolites were all within normal values. I am flabbergasted. I cannot think of any other mechanism that can universally target heart rate, peripheral vasoconstriction leading to increased blood pressure, pupil dilation, and occasionally altered sweat pattern. After the doc reviewed the labs I sat there dumbly. Even he rose to shake my hand I was slow to process this. I must have been the first patient sad my labs were normal! I asked he refer me upstairs to Neuro.

    When I in-processed neuro this AM they took my BP and I gave them a normal value or 136/88. I then told the girl to do it again and the alarm actually rang on the electronic VS machine; 204/105 (I think this is a personal best, at least in many years). My intent was to set the framework to now talk with the neuro doc. I assured them I did not have HTN. I told him I wish to do an EEG with me being softly notified every 5 minutes "5 minutes." Therefore, we would have time marker to evaluate later. I asked if he wanted to "see" with my pulse. Eagerly he said yes and proceeded to get a regular rhythm radial pulse. I then said "up" for a little bit, "down." Up and down, etc., in order for him to see how incredibly easy it is to control it. I love the look on their faces.

    In essence, the doctor concluded the EEG was unremarkable.
    A few points: My intention during the EEG 30 min session was as deep meditation as I could muster as I wanted to contrast as much as possible. The background of the egg started at roughly 8-10hz (alpha), but settled into 5-7Hz (theta); the doc noted on the report I was likely getting drowsy/ I was not. But this is not important. He did note, however, various spikes to approx 20Hz. 20Hz is not remarkable at all, but it may be instructive in this context. (Later, the doc did not charge me for the visit because he said he never saw such a thing and it was great for him. Nice!).

    When the doc discussed the EEG I asked to see it on the PC. Every 18 pages scrolled represented 5 min. I needed to know because I would review myself later, and I wanted to estimate how much time he spent in the room following the EEG. He did not spend that much time. I think he perused and concluded healthy male, normal EEG. I also think he forgot my intention to do this every 5 min so I had him scroll to the 5 min mark. "There," I exclaimed, what is that? There began a massive amount of erratic movement. He stated that these were muscle artifacts. Ah, I don't think so. I did not move once. So the point is, does it appear as artificat? Can I discern the cortical area from the right, left, center lead? Is it too deep for a standard EEG to read (EEG not really read midbrain, pons, etc), and the cortical positive erratica is actually just diffuse reflection?

    I will polish up on my EEG review (It has been 20 years or more) and if there is anything curious or positive I will post. I also wish to note that every 5 min I did a slightly different action. I sought to leave a fingerprint of valleys and mtn tops when I later looked at the results. If these are present than I will conclude it is positive but still wont know how to interpret the data further.

    I always considered a possible neuro hormonal idea but a pure neuro phenomena that targets both the Sinoatrial node and peripheral vascular resistance at the same time (pupils)? Sympathetic--- but not! Ahh, i can't grasp that.
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