Is there a Deadly Fire Raging Inside You?

There’s a powerful force inside your body right now. But instead of doing good, it might be working around the clock to potentially wreak havoc on your health…

And what’s even more concerning is that there usually aren’t any indicators. You might look and feel completely fine!  

That’s why it’s imperative to learn all you can about this invisible threat, so you can stop it in its tracks before it’s too late.

I’m talking about inflammation.

Chronic inflammation is the root behind almost every serious health condition—especially heart disease, the leading cause of death among both men and women in the U.S.

In this issue of Sound Health, I’ll tell you exactly how you can lower your levels of inflammation and help protect yourself from America’s No. 1 health threat—without going under the knife or taking handfuls of prescription pills.

What is inflammation, exactly?

First, let’s talk a little bit about inflammation itself.

Generally speaking, inflammation is your immune system’s response to an irritant.

There are two types of inflammation—acute and chronic.

Acute inflammation (the “good kind”) defends your body against all kinds of dangers like bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens… kind of like a big game of Space Invaders.

space invaders
IMAGE SOURCE: Imgur.com

And if you get sick or sustain an injury, your immune system deploys a battalion of inflammatory mediators.

This army of mediators temporarily increases blood flow in order to up your white blood cell count. These cells then work to protect the affected area to eliminate the intruder. That’s why swelling and redness happens when you get a cut or a sore throat.

Without acute inflammation, wounds and infections would never heal.

But chronic inflammation (the “bad kind”) is another story altogether…

When inflammation turns bad

Unlike acute inflammation—which typically goes away on its own after a few days—chronic inflammation sticks around.

With chronic inflammation, all of the same acute inflammation responses occur, except that your white blood cells don’t know when to stop attacking.

This causes even more inflammation. Especially when an onslaught of everyday risk factors—like poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, high stress, excessive alcohol use, or smoking—continually pose problems for your body, especially your heart.

Think of chronic inflammation as a small smoldering fire—one that keeps burning and burning. And the unhealthy risk factors I just mentioned keep on fueling it.

Eventually, chronic inflammation damages the walls of your arteries, making them rough—the perfect breeding ground for plaques to latch onto, eventually narrowing or clogging your arteries.

And if this unmanaged inflammation persists, the “fire” gradually spreads to your joints, organs, and surrounding tissues—setting the stage for major health problems like stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.

Fortunately there’s an easy, everyday solution for lowering inflammation levels and protecting your health. And the best part is, you can start right away.

Dousing chronic inflammation with sound

Recent research has shown that stimulating the vagus nerve can help offset inflammation.

Which makes sense, when you consider that one of its main functions is to carry signals between your brain and vital organs, including those involved in your body’s inflammatory response. (I recently wrote more in-depth about that in this article.)

One 2017 study implanted a vagal stimulating device or placebo into two groups of patients following coronary bypass surgery. Researchers found inflammation levels were significantly lower in the vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) group than the placebo group. VNS also drastically reduced the incidence of post-surgery complications by 24 percent.

The good news is, you can easily stimulate your vagus nerve—and, in turn, combat inflammation—without an implanted device. In fact, self-generated sound (like the kind I teach in my Whole Body Sound Healing protocol) is one of the most effective methods of VNS.

Of course, there are also lots of other drug-free approaches for dousing the flames of chronic inflammation…

Mind-body inflammation fighters

A 2017 study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that mind-body therapies are also an effective way to combat inflammation.

Every day for three months, participants practiced one to two hours of yoga, two hours of meditation, and one hour of chanting. (Keep in mind, chanting is one of the most effective ways to stimulate your vagus nerve!)

Researchers found that the participants had lower levels of cortisol (the “stress hormone”). They also found levels of protective anti-inflammatory markers increased, while harmful pro-inflammatory markers decreased. Participants also reported feeling fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety.

More ways to reduce inflammation naturally

Lowering your levels of chronic inflammation is incredibly important, no matter your age. The potentially long-term consequences for your health are just way too alarming to ignore.

Fortunately, as you’ve learned today, there are ample ways to keep chronic inflammation from igniting a domino effect of health issues.

All you have to do is incorporate a few small inflammation-lowering actions into your daily life. It really does add up.

Before I sign off, I have an exciting announcement to make, and my Sound Health readers are the first to know…

I’m currently putting together a guide geared toward ultimate heart protection. It will include a wealth of sound-based solutions to lower inflammation, clear your arteries, reduce stress on the heart, and improve overall cardiovascular health and function.

I’m working on it now and plan to release it to the public this summer. And of course, I’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready to go. Stay tuned right here for updates!

SOURCES:

Cahn, B., Goodman, M., Peterson, C., Maturi, R., and Mills, P. (2017). Yoga, Meditation and Mind-Body Health: Increased BDNF, Cortisol Awakening Response, and Altered Inflammatory Marker Expression after a 3-Month Yoga and Meditation Retreat. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 11: p. 315. Retrieved from: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5483482/

Fight Inflammation to Help Prevent Heart Disease. (n.d.). Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved from: hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/fight-inflammation-to-help-prevent-heart-disease

Heart Screenings: Why and When you Need Them. (n.d.). Beaumont. Retrieved from: beaumont.org/health-wellness/blogs/heart-screenings-why-and-when-you-need-them

Know Your Risk for Heart Disease. (2019). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: cdc.gov/heartdisease/risk_factors.htm

Olofsson, P. (2018). Chapter 125 – Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Regulation of Inflammation. Neuromodulation. Pp: 1438 – 1492. Retrieved from: sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B978012805353900125X

Playing with the fire of inflammation. (2016). Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved from: health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/playing-with-the-fire-of-inflammation

Stavrakis, S., et al. (2017). Low-Level Vagus Nerve Stimulation Suppresses Post-Operative Atrial Fibrillation and Inflammation: A Randomized Study. Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Clinical Electrophysiology. 3(9): pp. 929 – 938. Retrieved from: sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405500X17302578

Zakkar, M., Ascione, R., James, A., Angelini G., and Suleiman, M. (2015). Inflammation, oxidative stress, and postoperative atrial fibrillation in cardiac surgery. Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 154: pp. 13 – 20. Retrieved from: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26116810

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About the author

Jim Donovan M.Ed., is a professional musician and educator. He's an Assistant Professor at Saint Francis University where he teaches music and how the power of sound can help you experience a healthier life.