We all want to feel empowered with knowledge to heal our bodies, but we don’t always know where to start. Downregulation is something everyone is capable of doing, and HYLETE has connected with an expert in the field to help teach the HYLETE Community.

Dr. Theresa Larson is the founder and president of Movement RX, a physical therapy and wellness center based out of San Diego, CA. Dr. Larson became a physical therapist after being inspired by her experience as a Marine Corps Officer and witnessing many injuries while on the job. Her drive to inspire change has led her to help people help themselves. She defines downregulation as,

“The biology of calm. More specifically it is a system of creating a more parasympathetic aka "rest digest state" in the body that is an aspect of the autonomic nervous system. It is a focus on helping your nervous system, specifically the sympathetic part, or "fight or flight" of the autonomic nervous system to flip to a more parasympathetic state: to relax, find calm in the mind and body, improve digestion, improve respiration, improve oxygen intake, and less mental scattering due to less tension in the body.”

Dr. Larson understands that those suffering from mental health issues, physical ailments, and pain do not always have the information needed to find solutions for these issues. Pain causes the body to tense up, while your mind and heart rate start to race. The source of the pain is not always where you might feel the pain occurring. According to Dr. Larson, “We have to heal you from the inside out.” So, how can you do this? In her video, Dr. Larson presents five tools that help define the process of downregulation, and explains why each tool is so important.

  1. Breathwork - Let Dr. Larson guide you through proper breathing sequence as you start to breathe through your belly first and then breathe through your chest, followed by releasing your breath in the opposite direction. The target goal is a five second inhale with a five-second exhale. Instead of breathing shallow into your chest (upregulated), you should use your lung space at the diaphragm and pelvic floor, fully. This protects your lower back, making breathwork one of the most powerful tools.

  2. Mobility - This is not the same as stretching. Mobility is about how your joints and soft tissue move. Dr. Larson shows you techniques focused on joint space and movement. She also presents tools to help relieve tension, such as the use of a ball on your shoulder while performing breathwork. Soft tissue work should be done a few hours before you train, or after. Joint work should be completed prior to your training session.

  3. Stability - This is all about control of your body. By activating the right muscles using external rotation to gain stability before a squat, for instance, you gain controlled motion.

  4. Retraining Movement Patterns - Stabilize your spine by bringing it to neutral, while focusing on the way you load your joints, and how you apply torque.

  5. Sleep - A speedy way to heal mental health, fatigue, and your mood. Dr. Larson sites that the National Sleep Foundation recommends 7- 9 hours of sleep per night. The way you sleep also matters. Dr. Larson shows you how to decompress the spine for proper alignment. She also suggests a cool, dark room to remove all stimulus and give yourself a cave-like environment.

Are you ready to try downregulation? Watch the video above to learn more.

“I challenge you to take ownership of your health and apply these five things to your life now. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you gotta start somewhere.” - Theresa Larson