RELAXATION IS ESSENTIAL FOR HEALTH
BEING ABLE TO CALM DOWN IN STRESSFUL SITUATIONS IS NECESSARY FOR ALL AGES.
RELAXATION isn’t just about clearing your mind of chatter and unwanted thoughts! That can be too difficult. Let's try some things that should help!
Having a good shake is a great way to let go of stresses - see below!
Rather than forcing yourself into relaxation, try this:
Look around where you are. This will put you in touch with your surroundings, to the ‘here and now’ . We want your system to fully sink into the present moment.
Breathe out - this slows down the system. (Breathing in increases the heart rate so best to breathe fully out (and slowly too) to slow down the heart rate. (Always breathe through your nose).
Feel the seat you are on, smell the smells, hear the noises, feel your feet, just really BE where you are.
Let your weight be carried by the chair, floor or bed. Feel supported
Feel your toes, wriggle them and then let them relax, do the same with your feet and then your legs. Be aware of their position, feel any coverings on them.
Feel your hips and back - feel the sensations. There will be a feeling of being supported as you lie or sit there.
Feel your fingers, wriggle them and relax them, feel your hands and how they are lying, then your arms and shoulders.
Feel your neck and the top of your back, give them a wee shoogle to help relax them. Lean back on your pillows or seat and feel the support.
Feel your neck, throat and face. Screw up your face and feel the difference when you let go.
Just be where you are and be in touch with your body. This is full body listening. If an area is uncomfortable, breathe into that area.
This isn’t about clearing your mind of chatter and thought. It is the act of letting your eyes see your environment and know that all is well and safe. Brains love this as our brain really wants to know that “I am safe”.
Animals in the wild do this orientation-thing ALL THE TIME. They check out their surroundings to make sure that no danger is nearby.
There is a big difference between us and the animals. When wild animals realise they are safe, they go back to grazing and simply being an animal.
THEY DON'T KEEP THEMSELVES ON THE ALERT ALL THE TIME. AS WE TEND TO DO!
As you quietly scan the environment, be aware of a change in the tone of your muscles. Your tummy may relax and you may sigh - great sign
Your breathing will slow down, just be.
Look around slowly, see things that make you happy, be thankful
Spontaneous breath returns. The belly softens.
Stay like this for a few minutes or as long as you need to.
Your mind chatter will lessen and you can then go on with your day feeling refreshed.
FIRST AID FOR STRESSFUL SITUATIONS
The next time you feel stressed and you notice your blood starting to boil. STOP and notice what is happening, Your body is all revved up. Your mind is racing, your body is ready to fight or flee.........
STOP AND ORIENT TO WHERE YOU ARE! Breathe OUT, slowly.
Feel your toes, your feet and their relaxation, or strength if you are standing. Feel your legs, allow them to feel what they feel. You may feel the chair or bed beneath you or the brush of your trousers against them if you are standing.
Breathe out again slowly.
Then just BE as you FOCUS on your environment, notice that you are safe and there is no threat. Look at a picture on the wall, or an ornament that you like, look at the carpet, the lights, slowly, slowly........ (If you are outside, look at the horizon, look at the trees, look down at the ground, slowly, slowly just put your attention on what you see.)
THIS IS NATURAL RELAXATION
Your heart rate will go down of its own accord as you orient to your space. Let your eyes and your instincts know that the threat is no more. Discover what natural relaxation can be.
Drink in that spontaneous breath. Welcome any sighs or yawns. There’s no need to force it. It will come. This is medicine for our cells.
Try squeezing the tips of your fingers, first one hand and then the other then tap your wrists together - or use tapping as explained on our EFT page.
I like to finish off giving myself a good hug, one hand in the opposite armpit (so the hand is over the heart) and the other on the opposite upper arm. Relax into it, let your neck relax and slightly bend forward. If you can't have a hug from someone else - then use this technique and hug yourself. Feel the container you have made, feel the touch and warmness and support you are giving yourself.
Practise these techniques when you are fine and ok and become familiar with them. Being able to bring ourselves out of stressful states is essential for health. Think about your resources - animals, nature, music, friends, family, meditation, swimming, sunshine - whatever is your's. That way you can breathe in these feelings as an alternative to the stressful feelings that are resulting from a confrontation, upset, or suchlike.
SHAKE IT ALL ABOUT! SHAKING OUT THE TENSIONS!
We are the only animals that don't shake off our stress!
- Put on your favourite music.
- Shake your right arm, up over your head, down at your hips and out to the side.. Shake any pain, stress, no-longer-needed-memories out of it. Feel the fun and laugher coming back.
- Shake your left arm - up, down, behind, in front and out to the side. Shake all that you don't need away, feel the joy come into it.
- Shake your right leg - shake out any aches and pains and feel the freedom come back into it
- Shake the left leg - every direction that you can! Let go of anything that is holding you back. Feel the happiness and lightness.
- Now shake your torso front and back. Feel the freedom. Feel the body getting lighter.
- Shoogle your shoulders and let the burdens fall off them.
- Shake it all out! Keep repeating till you feel better or run out of time! I like 10 minutes of this.
- Then BREATHE!
We store our emotions in our body. When we suppress our anger, fear, frustration we shove it down, often into our digestive system. Yes, it is there! Massage helps us come back into our bodies rather than being in our heads, worrying, obsessing and analysing.
Taking the time to be quiet and in the moment while we have our relaxation massage has profound effects on our health. Healing comes from our biology. Relaxation helps all the processes.
It is best to r\eally be in the moment to get the full benefit. Relaxing music helps. You will feel comfortable and safe so your breathing will settle.
REFLEXOLOGY is so effective for relaxation. By working through the feet, the systems of the body are affected. The nervous and endocrine systems can relax. The digestive system can be worked - letting our emotions and stresses move on. Megan Ryan offers Reflexology at BCC.
SHIATSU is a balancing full body experience where the therapist works with meridians and gentle pressures to balance and relax. You can achieve deep levels of relaxation this way. The treatment session can focus on any presenting problem but everyone feels relaxed after this! Harald Bartl offers Shiatsu at BCC.
BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF RELAXATION MASSAGE THERAPY - YOU CAN'T BE STRESSED AND RELAXED AT THE SAME TIME!
- With a variety of hands-on methods, a skilled Massage Therapist not only stretches and loosens muscle and connective tissue, but also improves blood flow and the movement of lymph throughout the body. The therapist’s hands facilitate the removal of metabolic waste products resulting from exercise or inactivity, allowing oxygen and nutrients to reach the cells and tissues
- Sensory receptors in skin and muscle ‘wake up’, bringing new awareness to areas that have been ‘cut off’ by chronic tension patterns
- In addition, massage can stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers – into the brain and nervous system.
- The release of muscular tension also helps to unblock and balance the overall flow of life energy throughout the body (known in different cultures as vital force, bio-energy, c’hi, prana, ki, etc). All of this benefits the body’s general health and well being
- Movement is essential for life. Massage helps us to keep mobile by encouraging all our moving parts to move – which is essential for health. This is because the body relies on movement for the flow of nutrients and oxygen into our cells and wastes out of them
- Anxiety reduction – it has been shown that relaxation and anxiety cannot co-exist. This helps the person realise that they can cope.
- Relaxation effects – as the body lets go of accumulated tension it is able to work better as there are fewer demands being placed on it
- Energy – we tend to have more energy after a massage. Tension tends to ‘trap’ energy; massage tends to encourage energy to flow. The Massage Therapist will hopefully create all these effects which are made even more special by the caring and love given, as well as his / her intent
- People who are starved of touch can feel very isolated and anxious which then affects their total well-being, after all, solitary confinement must be the worst punishment. Appropriate touch is soothing and relaxing and also helps that ‘feel good feeling’.