by Helen Mawson
Stress and tension seem to be abundant in our modern day lives and we all experience varying levels of this on a daily basis. Some stress is crucial to our existence however problems occur when this becomes our dominant way of perceiving life. This is referred to as chronic stress and can have a significant impact on health and well-being.
I share here some information on why the body responds the way it does when faced with stressful situations. I will also share some useful tools and techniques that can help to balance the nervous system when you are faced with stressful situations or are feeling tension.
The nervous system
Having a balanced nervous system is crucial to good health, in fact, I believe that this is where all health begins it dictates to the whole body as to how it will respond and behave. When we are stressed our nervous system is working in its sympathetic state which means it is geared and ready for fight or flight. When we are balanced we are in our parasympathetic state which means our nervous system is geared for rest and repair.
The stress response
The stress response is the body’s way of responding to a threat when we feel threatened our nervous system responds to this by flooding our bodies with stress hormones including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones get the body revved up to take flight or to stay and fight. This response is a primitive one hard-wired into us. It was necessary for our survival when we were presented with life threatening situations like predators! Unfortunately, for our health, the same response is firing up when we are faced with things that are not life threatening and this stress response is happening much more regularly. We are now in a situation where our bodies are flooded with stress hormones on a regular basis which causes all sorts of problems.
Symptoms of being in a stressed state:
Some common symptoms may include;
• Dry mouth
• Increased heart rate / palpitations
• Feelings of dread /doom
• Digestive problems
• Impaired immune system
• Breathing difficulties
• Changes in eating patterns
• Changes in behavior
• Feeling overwhelmed / overloaded
• Dizziness/light headedness
How the Bowen Technique can help:
The Bowen Technique works directly with the nervous system by applying light moves along various points on the body including the erector spinae muscle situated either side of the spine.
In my Bowen toolkit, I have several procedures that I can use with individuals struggling with stress, tension, and anxiety. These techniques can be used to address the different symptoms of stress but essentially, they all work to get the body back into balance and back into the parasympathetic state. Some of these procedures include;
TMJ – This excellent procedure works by helping to align the tempero mandibular joint. I use this a lot for general hormone balance.
Vagus nerve procedure – The vagus nerve is connected to pretty much every body system, it is crucial to having a balanced body and nervous system.
Respiratory procedure – This procedure works with respiratory and digestive issues.
Tricep procedure and Quadricep procedure – When the stress response fires in the body adrenaline is sent to the triceps and quadriceps. So both of these procedures are useful in treating stress and its associated problems.
Kidney procedure – I use this procedure in practice regularly, I have found that it helps energise the body and balance Kidney energy and function.
How I work in practice:
I often use a combination of the therapies that I work with in practice in order to work with stress and associated symptoms. Often the trauma of a stressful event is locked into the body at a cellular level. Bowen seems to work well to release these memories and patterns that can be causing problems, sometimes even years after the event. I may also offer advice and test clients for specific remedies and nutritional supplements that could help with the symptoms that they are experiencing. I will also most likely recommend self-help techniques that clients can use for themselves on a daily basis to help ease their symptoms.
Self-help tips to balance your nervous system:
This technique interrupts the stress cycle quickly so is great for situational stress that you want to resolve fast, here’s how;
• Bring your hands together so your palms are gently touching (almost in a prayer position)
• Breathe in and out through your mouth deeply moving your diaphragm so your belly moves out as you breathe in and in as you breathe out. Do this for ten seconds.
• As you do the breathing you could also imagine the stress leaving your body
• Rescue remedy / 5 flower remedy – This is a great remedy to have in your medicine cupboard or handbag. It is a combination of 5 of the Bach flower remedies and really does help to calm the nervous system. Use when you are feeling like you need some extra support or after a difficult situation.
• Mimulus – A Bach flower remedy used to treat fears, particularly fears of known things. This remedy is useful for things like upcoming exams, driving tests, meetings or any event that you fear.
Sometimes when we are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals the symptoms of stress can be exacerbated. A mineral that is often deficient and that can be used to very good effect in treating symptoms of stress is Magnesium. B vitamins are also essential in supporting the nervous systems.
De-stress (af/fe) points;
The de-stress points are located on the forehead and the middle of the head. When these points are held, the stress response is diluted. These points are physiologically wired into our stress and fear response and when held help reduce stress, anxiety, and fear. To download the De-stress technique visit my website or drop me a line.