breatheBreathing with the diaphragm is crucial to healing from structural injuries, whether they are generated from injury or shock. When we get into accidents, arguments, or other physically or emotionally traumatic experiences, our initial response is to hold our breath. By locking the diaphragm, we signal our body to go into a state of shock. This shuts down many of our restorative physical systems, and re-routes energy to our muscles so that we can fight or flee as necessary to get through the situation we are in.

Once that moment passes, it is necessary that we consciously release the contraction from the diaphragm. If we do not, the contraction (at this point, a fixation) in the diaphragm will persist, and will continue to keep us in a state of shock, during which the body cannot heal tissue or perform vital functions.

The diaphragm has 3 essential functions:

1. It provides a platform of support between the top and bottom of the body.
It is at the diaphragm that our body twists to accomplish contra-lateral coordination between our shoulders and hips as we walk and work. When it is fixated, not toned, or not working properly, our structure collapses and twists, creating weakness in some places and stress points in others.

2. It regulates the shift between the state of alarm and the state of relaxation. When it locks or collapses from having “the breath knocked out of you”, the nervous system can become stuck in the alarm response. This is called Sympathetic Hyper Arousal. SHA shuts down many restorative functions of the body (like digestion, immune system function, and detoxification of chemicals in the liver) in favor of emergency functions. This condition will not resolve until the diaphragm is unlocked and able to function properly.

3. It is the one autonomic nervous system function that we can consciously control! Though you can’t think your way into digesting food more quickly (wouldn’t that be nice) it is possible to speed or slow the breath just by thinking about it. We can use this mechanism to self regulate our nervous system and shift ourselves into a more relaxed state. woman-breathing2It is only in a state of relaxation and slow breathing that our body performs important tasks like repairing muscle and joint tissues, nourishing and hydrating the skin, actively absorbing nutrients from the food we eat, deeply relaxing into restorative sleep, and allowing the body to enter a state of sexual arousal. That’s right, beauty, health, and a great sex life, all by taking some time out to breathe! No wonder the disciplines of yoga and meditation incorporate a focus on the breath as a steppingstone to personal mastery.

Try it out! Down-shifting the nervous system by slowing the breath is not as complicated as some make it seem. Start simple. Count to 2 on the in-breath, and then 2 on the out-breath. Do this until your breathing evens out and becomes comfortable. Then, count to 3 on the in-breath, and 3 on the out-breath. Continue this for about 10 breaths, until it is comfortable. Then, increase to a count of 4 on the in-breath, and 4 on the out-breath. This is the frequency that dials in what is called the “Therapeutic State”. You may notice some changes as you slow your breath, like gurgling in your tummy (organs releasing and draining), or a softening of your vision. You may also begin to yawn, or feel sleepy. These are all positive changes. If it’s uncomfortable, just stick with it! You may experience moments of discomfort or anxiety while you slow your breath. This is normal, just stay with it and the feeling will pass. And remember, just 5 minutes of slow breathing each day can enhance your body’s ability to heal and stay healthy.

Few people understand the significance of shock to our body’s healing processes. It is the most consistent measure by which we can project a quick and easy (or a drawn-out) recovery. Shock can create or exacerbate a whole host of imbalances in the physical structure, including digestive disorders, constantly torqued (or subluxated) vertebral segments, brain function problems such as focus, concentration and organization, psychological anxiety and depression, ADD, low energy, constant low back pain, and persistent muscle weakness (even when exercising).

breathe-you-are-aliveThe breath is the most important tool that we have to shift ourselves out of a state of shock, and is vitally important for the recalibration of metabolic and structural imbalances. It is one of the easiest things that you can do for your body, today and everyday, to nurture a state of vibrant well-being.

At Healus, we incorporate abdominal massage and stress reduction techniques into our treatments to address diaphragm fixations, organ stagnation, and SHA (Sympathetic Hyper Arousal). Click Here to find out how!

 

 

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Holding breathHidden Hyperventilation is a state of metabolic imbalance that produces a felt sense of worry or anxiety. Test yourself by following these simple steps:

Sit quietly and observe your breathing. How fast is it? Is it shallow or deep?
Now see if you can slow it down to a count of 3 on the in-breath and 3 on the out-breath.

At the end of a regular out-breath, hold your breath with no air in your lungs and count the seconds. Don’t breath until you absolutely have to. Relax if you can, you’ll last longer. The goal is 35 seconds.

If you can’t make it to 35 seconds, your blood chemistry is NOT normal. If you hit the panic button at 15 or below you do not have enough carbon dioxide retained in your blood and your body has shut down your oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange rate. This is a crucial problem for many metabolic activities. Thus when you hold your breath out, you quickly run out of oxygen… And survival becomes a question. Hence the panic response right below the surface. Some people experience regular panic attacks. This is why. Their metabolism is out of control.

If you can’t push past the first limit to get to 35 seconds, you should call the Healus Center clinic and schedule a FREE NEUROMUSCULAR Assessment/appointment.

Have you ever wondered why old sprains, overuse injuries, or traumatic injuries don’t just correct themselves? Jocelyn explains the physiological mechanisms that govern muscle coordination, and why so many people experience pain long after an injury should have resolved completely.

photo16Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to our attitude and energy level. Yet sleep in our older years tends to become elusive as our stress hormones are no longer mediated by the abundance of estrogen we had in younger years. When hormone levels fall, muscles harden, exacerbating migraines and tension.

 

Here are some natural ways to help you relax for deep sleep:

Hot baths before bed are notoriously effective in relaxing hypertension and regulating deep relaxation. Taken before bed, a bath can produce a relaxation effect within 20 minutes by dilating blood vessels and reducing blood pressure when cortisol levels wake you with worrisome or anxious thoughts.

Hold points on your governing meridian. Before going to sleep at night lie on your side and touch the spot at the very top of your head with one hand, and your tailbone with the other hand. Take slow, deep breaths, counting to four on the inhale, and four on the exhale. Imagine your breath filling your torso, and then sinking behind you, through your back and into the space behind you. You can also trace your mind up and down your spine, slowly, from top to bottom. This exercise helps to unwind tension, stress, and spinal trauma. With regular practice, you will definitely see the quality and quantity of your sleep improve.

Have a family member or friend hold your adrenal points. Two reflex points will release your adrenal stress before you go to sleep, enabling you to sleep more readily and more deeply. Once your partner finds the points, no pressure is needed. Just touching and holding those points will bring the system to equilibrium and put you to sleep.

The Adrenal Stress Points:treatment
The location of the first point is on our shoulder blade 1″ from the medial border nearest the spine, and 1″ down from the top edge of the bone. If you touch the blade with 2 to 3 fingers, you can’t miss it, as it will be tender to the touch upon pressure. The second point is halfway down the back of the hand, between the 3rd and 4th hand bones (ring and little finger). Hold the points for 1-3 minutes on each side of the body or until you feel pulsation under your fingertips.

With a little attention and regularity, these simple steps will have you sleeping through the night and awakening fully restored and rejuvenated!

Breathing with the diaphragm is crucial to healing from structural injuries, whether they are generated from injury or shock. Find out how to do simple diaphragm exercises to facilitate healing and structural integration.

Did you know that improving diaphragm function can reduce healing time and even improve skin tone? Click Here to read more about the Diaphram and it’s many important functions!