Holistic modalities have the common understanding that the mind, body and spirit interact with each other and are integrally linked in our sense of well-being. All aspects of your being work in partnership for your highest good.
My education, but more importantly my experiences and observations, as a practitioner, all point towards the amazing and innate natural healing response your body and mind possess. I have discovered through the years that the more you encourage the body/mind to relax into healing, the faster and more prolonged the healing experience is. When you force your body, basically overriding it's innate response, you cause an imbalance.
A large part of relaxing into healing is learning to listen, understand and respond to the signals, symptoms, messages your body is sending you. Your body is speaking to you all the time. Do you listen?
Yes, this can all be frustrating. Especially in the fast paced society we live in. We want healing to happen quickly. I often hear “I just don’t have time for this”. Honestly, it’s something that I’ve said to myself more than a few times. However, it never works. If you force and rush the healing process it often never completely finishes the healing work. Perhaps, too, you are ignoring the need to slow down from a pace that is unsustainable.
Your Muscle Nerve Response to Relaxed Gentle Touch for Pain
Think for a moment of the last time you experienced pain somewhere in the body. It’s a human trait to instinctively rub, pat or touch a part of the body that is experiencing pain. Did you press hard, push or force your hand into the pain spot or did you touch and rub gently? What response did your body give you?
That simple touch and its power to reduce pain, has been known for many years, and has the dual ability to nonverbally communicate to the nervous system and the brain. Pushing forcefully into the pain will cause a tensing in the nervous system which in turn messages the surrounding muscles to tense, pull away and protect. A gentle rubbing calms the nerve endings encouraging a relaxation response.
Your Brains Response to Relaxed, Gentle, Safe Touch
In offering a gentle and healing touch which calms the nervous system and the brain, it can elicit emotions. As a holistic therapist, I provide a relaxed and safe environment, empathy and skill to client sessions. If your brain and body develop a trust in that, the brain is reassured, and it can lead to a reduction of anxiety, and actually reduce pain. If I continue to create a safe session for you that includes touch that encourages healing, your brain is more likely to allow it. If I use forceful and painful touch your brain will react with anxiety.
Your Nervous System Response to Slower Stretches
The practice of Yin Yoga involves slow gentle movement into a stretch, a length of time holding the stretch (giving muscles and fascia time to respond) and slowly coming out of it. It involves listening for you body’s reaction to how the stretch is feeling. If a stretch is forced and is painful, then muscles respond with tension. If you relax into the stretch the body will often allow a greater, deeper stretch…which muscles love!
If in between each stretch you pause, in a space of stillness, to check in with how your body is feeling after the stretch, it will let you know if there are parts that still need additional stretching or not. If you take the time to listen, your body is communicating with you constantly.
I encourage you to take some time to notice how your body, mind and spirit respond to relaxation, versus force. Make it a creative investigation as you stretch, work out, go for a walk or practice self-care. Creating a journal of your observations can also be helpful.