BELLY COMPRESSION WITH LONGER EXHALES
WHY BELLY COMPRESSION WITH LONGER EXHALES?
There's so many good reasons to exhale longer and there's so many reasons to touch your belly, that really, each could be it's own post.
But given all the brouhaha in my boy's tummy lately, post-appendix rupture, we are pulling out all the stops for a daily pu-pu platter of health, nutrition, movement and therapeutic skills in an effort to keep the kid healthy.
1. Did you know that serotonin is produced in your gut? When your nerves are jacked up with anxiety, that serotonin factory isn't functioning well.
"Serotonin is an important chemical and neurotransmitter in the human body. It is believed to help regulate mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function. There may be a link between serotonin and depression" (source: Medical News Today)
2. Did you know that instead of "taking a deep breath" when you want to calm down, you're better off focusing on taking longer exhales?
Our parasympathetic nervous system helps us manage stress". It likes exhales and sighs too.
3. Did you know that the soft tissue in your gut is loaded with nerves as well as exciting (and excitable) neurochemicals?
When your belly is tense, your whole body and your mind are tense too.
4. Did you know that you've got a ton of lymph node clusters in your abdomen that help your body fight disease?
Keeping your whole belly supple can help support your immune system.
5. Did you know that your small intestine is called the Second Brain? Also referred to as the small bowel, the small intestine has it's very own nervous system, called the enteric nervous system.
"The enteric nervous system is known as the "second brain" or the brain in the gut because it can operate independently of the brain and spinal cord, the central nervous system" (source: Science Daily)
6. Did you know that any kind of abdominal surgery or other mid-section trauma, likely results in adhesions?
Adhesions aren't a big deal until they restrict your movement or they interfere with your organs (as was the case with my son recently).
"Adhesions form when inflammation occurs on the surface of the abdominal organs or the peritoneal lining of the abdominal cavity; the formation of scar tissue is a normal part of healing when there is inflammation" (source: Medicalnet)
WHAT'S THE MAIN IDEA?
We are looking to relax your muscles, soothe your nerves, reduce anxiety, embody your breath... all to improve blood, lymph and energy flow within you.
HOW TO DO IT
The work here is learning to soften your belly so that your breath, body weight and gravity can work together to massage your insides.
Grab a medium-soft pillow, a rolled hand towel, a stuffed teddy bear or a partially-deflated Coregeous ball.
Place your ball or thing-of-choice just above your navel and then lie down on it. Start propped up on your forearms, like the skeleton in the photo above. If it's too intense, see below. If you've got spondylolisthesis or if this is uncomfortable for you, do the wall variation instead.
Place your ball or thing just above your navel and lean against the wall. If you like you can rest your forehead on the wall. This version is less intense than placing your full body weight on the thing, on the floor. It's also better if you have deep scars
Exhale longer and slower, pause
Yours in health,
photo by Thy Huynh Maraia